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Study on the relevance and applicability of the Paris declaration on aid effectiveness in Humanitarian Assistance

Research reports

In their origins, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative aimed to tackle different problems. The Paris Declaration aimed to address a perceived disjunction between national and international development efforts and a lack of harmonisation of international aid efforts, which— combined with a lack of focus on countries’ own
development strategies—are an impediment to the achievement of international development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals.

The Good Humanitarian Donorship agenda, in comparison, was designed specifically for donor governments and is notable insofar as the affected state does not play a significant part in its stated goals. Its central goal is to improve and bring greater uniformity to donor practices in financing and supporting humanitarian action.

This study attempts to identify the points of commonality and difference between the Good Humanitarian Donorship principles and those established in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, with a view to understanding the ways in which the two agendas interrelate.

The research finds that it would be difficult, and arguably not appropriate, to align the two agendas, largely due to the distinctive objectives and principles that govern humanitarian aid in conflict contexts. However, there are shared principles and areas of good practice in aid management, and important lessons could be learned on both sides.  It also highlights the need for greater appreciation between the stakeholders as to what each commitment represents, how they relate to each other and how they are being implemented. Rather than undermine humanitarian action, this should serve to enhance appreciation of the goals of good humanitarian donorship and its unique objectives.

Adele Harmer, Deepayan Basu Ray