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Humanitarian access and ethics: decision-making in unsafe environments

Time (GMT +00) 10:30 12:00

Contributing Chair

Wendy Fenton @WendyFenton1 - Coordinator, Humanitarian Practice Network


Abdurahman Sharif @AbdurahmanShar - Director, Somalia NGO Consortium

Katherine Haver @KatherineHaver - Partner, Humanitarian Outcomes (via videolink)

Fiona Terry - Independent researcher, ICRC (speaking in a personal capacity)

Imran Madden @imranmadden - Director, Islamic Relief


Ensuring staff safety in war zones while trying to get humanitarian aid to those most in need means aid organisations regularly have to make difficult decisions on risk management. Compromise is inevitable, but aid agencies must be able to manage these challenges without losing sight of ethical considerations.

How can humanitarian organisations help people caught up in conflicts, when these conflicts make it dangerous for aid workers to operate safely? How can organisations stay true to core humanitarian principles when negotiating access in these environments? Are current risk management strategies doing enough to balance these issues and ensure safe access?

This event launches the Humanitarian Practice Network’s 80th Network Paper ‘Tug of war: ethical decision-making to enable humanitarian access in high-risk environments’. The paper draws primarily on research conducted in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, four of the most dangerous humanitarian contexts in the world.  Reflecting on their own experience and research, experts discuss how aid agencies and humanitarian workers can best address the risks and challenges inherent in decision-making on access in high-risk environments.

203 Blackfriars Road London