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About Humanitarian Policy Group


Our Integrated Programme

Our work is directed by our Integrated Programme (IP), a body of research examining critical issues facing humanitarian policy and practice, designed in consultation with our Advisory Group. This is complemented by commissioned studies, evaluations and communications and networking activity. 

Grounded in field research spanning a range of countries and emergencies, IP projects allow us to cast a critical eye over the pressing issues affecting humanitarian policy and practice and to influence key debates in the sector.

201921 Integrated Programme: Inclusivity and invisibility in humanitarian action

Leaving no one behind’ has become a core development priority since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. While the idea of addressing suffering and need wherever it exists is enshrined in humanitarian principles of humanity and impartiality, genuinely needs-based assistance and protection to those suffering from the effects of conflict and disasters has eluded the humanitarian sector for decades.

We are still either failing to see or choosing to neglect specific categories of need, or simply cannot adapt our ways of thinking and working to accommodate differentiated needs and vulnerabilities. As a result, people, even whole communities, are undercounted and underserved, and their needs misunderstood or overlooked.

In this Integrated Programme, we critically analyse the ability of the humanitarian sector to deliver on its stated commitment to impartiality. We focus on the key obstacles to – and enablers of – a more inclusive aid system, analysing why certain groups or individuals are excluded from assistance; exploring the relationships between changing gender norms and assistance and vulnerability in displacement; exploring the emerging impacts of new technology in improving or undermining the system’s ability to address those furthest behind; and assessing historical and contemporary practices of humanitarian advocacy and protection on behalf of those most at risk in conflict.

201719 Integrated Programme: From the ground up: understanding local response in crises

Achieving a more local, devolved response to humanitarian crises has risen up the policy agenda in recent years as one possible answer to the problems besetting international humanitarian response. Proponents argue that a more local approach to assistance:

  • enhances flexibility and efficiency 
  • is more responsive to contexts and needs
  • involves local aid actors and communities much more meaningfully in decisions affecting humanitarian programming.

At the same time, however, there is little consensus around what a genuinely local response actually means, either in theory or in practice, and there are very few incentives to promote it within a system structurally and culturally inclined towards centralisation. This set of proposals for HPG’s Integrated Programme of research for 2017–19 critically analyses key aspects of this debate.

In this Integrated Programme, we adopt a more ground-level view of important issues within the humanitarian sector, while also drawing out their systemic and strategic implications.

Funders of the 17/19 IP:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)British Red CrossIKEA Foundation, Irish AidMinistry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) DenmarkMinistry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Netherlands, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Vision International