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Humanitarian action in 2021: tensions, trade-offs and dilemmas

Time (GMT +00) 13:00 14:00
Hero image description: Arrows splitting in different directions Image credit:Hannah Bass
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Humanitarian action in the major emergencies of 2021 has been beset by obstacles, tensions and trade-offs, particularly in terms of balancing efforts to access populations in need and advocating for their rights and protection.

Against a backdrop of escalating conflict in Ethiopia and famine conditions in the Tigray region, humanitarian assistance has been blocked, agencies suspended, and aid workers expelled. Questions about the complicity of humanitarian actors are also being raised in Myanmar as access to opposition-held areas is heavily restricted and aid agencies have remained largely silent on the violence. International aid to Afghanistan is now limited to humanitarian assistance. A humanitarian catastrophe is predicted in Afghanistan as the economy has gone into rapid decline following the Taliban takeover, and yet humanitarian efforts are largely gridlocked due to multiple challenges.

These crises bring to the fore enduring questions regarding the politics, principles and pragmatism of humanitarian action. On December 3, HPG will host a high-level event to put them into context of the major emergencies of 2021.

This event will be streamed live online.


  • Chair: Sorcha O'Callaghan

    Director, Humanitarian Policy Group

  • Martin Griffiths

    Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

  • Dr Orzala Nemat

    Director, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit


Hosted by

  • HPG hpg_logo_002.jpg