Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Tag: Humanitarian Assistance

 

Publication

For more than a decade, reform efforts have attempted to put crisis-affected people at the center of humanitarian response, and make the system more cohesive and responsive. These reforms have produced ever-heavier coordination systems and technocratic guidance, but have targeted the symptoms of the system’s shortcomings rather than the causes. Traditional humanitarian response remains plagued by deep power imbalances, needless rivalries between organizations, and perverse institutional incentives. A new approach is badly needed—one that builds on the aspirations of earlier reform efforts while explicitly tackling the red-line issues that have long undermined them. A new multi-year research initiative at the Center for Global Development (CGD) aims to do just that: develop concrete, pragmatic, and actionable reform options to overhaul the outdated power structures and institutional incentives that have long skewed the humanitarian system’s behavior.

Refugees at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Russell Watkin, DFID.

Close to Home: The Role of Regional Partners in Advancing Medium-Term Solutions for Rohingya Refugees and Hosts in Bangladesh

The Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh continues to grip the region and—particularly with heightened risks during monsoon season—international headlines. There have been important steps toward a comprehensive solution that recognizes the reality of protracted displacement—but additional commitments and coordinated policy dialogue are needed. And regional partners will be key to the ultimate success of these efforts.

David McKenzie, Ratna Omidvar, Michael Clemens

Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy Program Launch: Here’s What You Missed

Migration and displacement are among the greatest policy challenges of this century. Governance of the humanitarian system is at a crossroads, and key innovations shaking up traditional ways of working provide a window of opportunity for a broader, pragmatic reform effort. CGD has launched a new program built on these three pillars to propose evidence-based ways forward for policymakers and practitioners.

Pallet of USAID crates and boxes. Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/USAID

The Case Against Branding Development Aid in Fragile States

While donor countries have poured significant resources into branding aid—emblazing a donor’s flag or aid agency logo on everything from food aid to bridges—the benefits of branding are iffy at best and counterproductive at worst. Studies of its impact tend to pay little attention to how branding affects the relationship between recipient governments and their publics, but evidence shows that it can have corrosive systemic impacts.

Publication

Disrupting the traditional humanitarian business model holds risks that must be managed carefully. If this disruption proceeds in an ad hoc manner, it could harm humanitarian effectiveness. Donors should reexamine their funding practices and work closely with aid groups to ensure these changes deliver constructive outcomes for populations in need.

Publication

While it is far too soon to discuss returns, it is the right time to plan for the longer-term wellbeing of refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh.

How to Tackle the Refugee Reform Dilemma

Speculation about the future of the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration bureau has swirled following the Trump administration’s moves to curtail refugee admissions, and a proposal to eliminate the bureau and distribute its components to the Department of Homeland Security and USAID. But I fear that diminishing or removing an empowered humanitarian voice from the State Department weakens humanitarian priorities in US policy writ large. And I believe there are ways to address legitimate concerns about the existing structure without dismantling PRM.

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