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Blog

With regular contributions from the GISF Secretariat and guest experts, the GISF Blog explores a range of topical, contextual and theoretical developments affecting the practice of humanitarian SRM.


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NGO Safety and Security Training Project: How to Create Effective Security Training for NGOs

NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance

In the late 1990s, InterAction, along with RedR and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), developed a curriculum and course materials for safety and security training. These materials quickly became the basis of NGO security training. However, it has been over 16 years since then and some of the course materials are outdated. With funding from USAID/OFDA, InterAction in partnership with the European Interagency Security Forum (GISF) undertook a project in 2013 to update existing curriculum and course materials, as well as to address gaps in current NGO security practices. This report is the product of that project.

11 Apr 2014

Humanitarian negotiations with armed groups

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance

There are a combination of factors peculiar to humanitarian negotiations with armed non-state actors (ANSAs). Talks often take place in extreme, high-stake environments with little common negotiating culture between parties. In addition, staff need to negotiate in practice what is not negotiable in principle under both organisational and legal frameworks, which are far-removed from reality on the ground (a recent HPG Policy brief described how ‘senior managers are often unaware of how ground-level staff obtain access’). Aid workers are often negotiating from a position of relative weakness – little leverage and few alternative negotiating tables present themselves, and there is a strong possibility of second-best options being the only achievement. Are organisations and their staff members ready and equipped with the necessary tools for these types of complex negotiations?

4 Apr 2014

The Future of Humanitarian Security in Fragile Contexts

Acceptance, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The Future of Humanitarian Security in Fragile Contexts: An analysis of transformational factors affecting humanitarian action in the coming decade stems from a recognition that the humanitarian landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade.

31 Mar 2014

Nigeria 2015: looking beyond endemic insecurity and changing politics

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Amid convulsive politics, the northeast of Nigeria has reached a critical security situation yet once again. Communal violence is adding to the growing humanitarian response gap, with Boko Haram not the only threat to the country’s security. Last weekend alone, at least 100 people were killed and 2,000 were displaced after 40 gunmen stormed villages in central northern Kaduna state. Despite Nigeria’s booming economy, inequality is rampant in the country, and the deteriorating security situation in northern states may further destabilise a country of 170 million that seems to be struggling to stay united. How the government deals with the ever-growing Islamist threat, inter-communal violence, and their humanitarian consequences will be important factors in determining the outcome of 2015 elections.

19 Mar 2014

Security risk management and new technologies

Civil-Military, Equipment, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Aid agencies operate in many conflict-affected contexts that are considered by Western powers as threats to international peace and security. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) controversially used to respond to these threats, have already changed the contexts in which aid workers find themselves in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now, the potential introduction of LARs (Lethal Autonomous Robotics- weapons systems that can select and engage targets without intervention by a human operator), could further change the humanitarian operational context, as well as the types of threats aid workers are exposed to in the field.

28 Feb 2014

Political unrest in Thailand and Venezuela

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

The last couple of weeks have seen a rise of political conflict with potential security ramifications to NGO`s operating in Thailand and Venezuela.

21 Feb 2014

Somalia: latest security incidents

NGO Security Management

Some analysts looked at the 2012 elections in Somalia as a possible turning point for the country, and the first months afterwards saw a renewed sense of optimism. Unfortunately, that possibility has yet to materialise and the country continues to be plagued by security concerns. In fact, the UN has warned that a food crisis similar to that witnessed in 2011 is possible if current aid funding is not increased significantly. Operational difficulties are evident; in August 2013, MSF decided to pull out of Somalia due to safety reasons. Since then, the security situation has continued to deteriorate.

21 Feb 2014

Regional dynamics in South Asia: political instability and humanitarian access in Bangladesh

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

In January 2014, Bangladesh held elections surrounded by chaos and clashes. The ruling Awami League won one of the most violent elections in history, and the situation in the country remains tense. Protests and political gatherings in Dhaka have been taking place for the last weeks in Gulshan-2, where not only the main opposition party but also foreign aid agencies and INGOs have their country offices. Political instability in the past has impeded humanitarian and development work, forcing agencies to halt cash-based transfers and undermining disaster preparedness efforts.

13 Feb 2014

Myanmar: humanitarian assistance hampered by insecurity in Rakhine state

NGO Security Management

On February 2nd, protests broke out in Rakhine state, an area of constant instability in Myanmar. Some 3,000 people gathered in Sittwe to demand more weaponry and powers for local police. According to different sources, protesters were also “calling for INGOs to leave the locality within a week.” Referencing the longstanding clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, which were particularly violent in 2012 and 2013, protesters carried banners stating “do not accept the countries who bias toward Bengali”, and “don't want UN organisations that bias toward Bengali”.

7 Feb 2014