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Humanitarian negotiations: engaging with state and non-state actors in the midst of conflict

Hero image description: Dialogue with an opposition group and community in Darfur Image credit:Conflict Dynamics International Image license:ODI given rights



In humanitarian contexts marked by conflict, negotiations with a wide array of actors – both state and non-state – are essential to gaining access to populations in need of humanitarian assistance. As humanitarian actors continue to expand the scope of their work to more dangerous environments, negotiations with warring parties has become increasingly important in order to gain access to populations in need of assistance.

Yet many humanitarian actors feel that negotiating with armed non-state actors presents formidable challenges, including a lack respect for international humanitarian law (IHL), hostility to humanitarian principles and distrust and suspicion of humanitarian organisations.

This event series will examine the challenges and compromises involved in negotiating with state and non-state armed actors, how engagement affects access to populations, and what lessons can be learned.

  1. Humanitarian negotiations: talking to the 'other side', 5 September 2013, 13:00-15:00 GMT+1

  2. Humanitarian negotiations: engagement with armed groups in Sudan and South Sudan, 10 October 2013, 14:00-15:30 GMT+1

  3. Humanitarian negotiations: reflections from Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, November 2013 (TBC)