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The challenges of localised aid in conflict

Time (GMT +00) 15:00 16:30
Hero image description: United Nations Relief Food Arrives in Lebanese Town, Residents of the town of Rmaich, Lebanon unload canned food from a truck. Image credit:UN Photo/Mark Garten Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Contributing chair

Wendy Fenton @WendyFenton1 - Coordinator, Humanitarian Practice Network


Ed Schenkenberg @ed_heregva - Executive Director, Humanitarian Exchange and Research Centre

Luz Saavedra @alnap - Former Research Fellow, ALNAP

Zaidoun Alzoabi @UOSSM - Chief Executive Officer, Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations (via video link)

Charlie Rowley @oxfamgb - Humanitarian Capacity Development Advisor, Global Humanitarian Team, Oxfam

Teresa Sancristoval @MSF - Emergency Desk Manager, Médecins Sans Frontières


The idea that local actors should be at the forefront of humanitarian response in their own country is increasingly widely accepted. One message, which resounded loud and clear at the first World Humanitarian Summit, was the need for greater localisation of aid. However, the current localisation agenda gives little consideration to the different humanitarian contexts and their different operational challenges.

Can local actors deliver impartial emergency assistance on a meaningful scale in armed conflicts, if they find themselves caught up in the political and military game of the warring parties?

Our expert panel of observers and practitioners from international and local organisations discuss and debate the nuances of the situation on the ground. Informed by new research from Médecins Sans Frontières which highlights operational challenges to locally led responses in conflict and highly politicised environments, this discussion asks: what are the practical implications of locally-led responses in acute conflicts? What are the key issues to overcome? How can we ensure that locally-led responses conform with key humanitarian principles?

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