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Humanitarian, Development Work Should Remain Separate To Better Deliver Short-, Long-Term Results

The Guardian: Don’t blur the lines between development and humanitarian work
Marc DuBois, independent consultant and researcher currently working with Here-Geneva

“…The humanitarian/development divide imposes institutional divisions onto the real world of people in crisis. The urgency of food, water, health care, or shelter needs in Syria or eastern DRC displaces but does not diminish the longer-term hopes and aspirations of people in terms of wanting economic progress, a functioning health care system, or political empowerment. Short-term and long-term problems intermingle, perhaps especially in crisis situations and complex emergencies. … From dramatically different goals come dramatically different methods and approaches. In simple terms, maintaining neutrality and independence drives humanitarian actors towards ‘state avoidance’ while development requires much more of a partnership approach. … The sensible solution is to let humanitarians deliver on the immediate needs, empower others to end those needs in the first place, and ensure the two work better together. Folding humanitarian action into development, as [the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)] aims to do, is not the answer” (5/12).

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