In September and October 2015, PHAP organized a special series of live online discussions structured around the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. As part of the association’s support to the World Humanitarian Summit process, the focus of these events was less on theoretical definitions and more on the operational implications of these principles. The aim was not to “consult” directly on the principles, but rather to discuss – within the context of the principles – a series of problematic issues that have come under debate in the larger Summit consultation process.

This opening session acted as an introduction to the ensuing four events on the individual principles, ensuring that participants understand the nature of the challenges and dilemmas involved in translating principles into operational decisions. The session delineated the practical implications of the principles for humanitarian actors, and highlighted the central role of principles in interactions with government, military, and other actors. It also emphasized the interrelationship among the four principles, providing a basis for the next sessions, which focused on issues that are primarily related to each of the four principles individually.

The event is built on PHAP’s learning session in earlier 2015, which focused on how the core humanitarian principles relate to international humanitarian law.


Marc DuBois Marc DuBois currently an independent humanitarian consultant/researcher/blogger, was the Executive Director of MSF-UK from March 2008 until March 2014. He joined MSF in 1999, landing as a project coordinator in Khartoum, Sudan, where he managed a basic healthcare program. Following Sudan, Marc went to Angola as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer and then moved to Amsterdam, spending over six years in the Humanitarian Affairs Department of MSF-Holland, first as an advisor and later as head of department and researcher. Marc has a degree in philosophy from Yale University (BA 1981), an MA in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (1988) and a degree in law from Columbia University in New York (JD 1994).


Angharad Laing Angharad Laing Executive Director, International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)


Session recording (YouTube - faster loading time)

Session recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality) 

Session recording - Downloadable audio podcast

PHAP Credentialing Program

PHAP Credentialing Program

Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice

This event will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice.

In particular, the event will address segments 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.12 of the certification assessment outline. It will also address some aspects of segment 2.2, 3.1, and 4.2.

Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem

This event will also help you prepare for segment 3.4 of the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem. See the certification assessment outline

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program

Learning objectives

  • Understanding of the four core humanitarian principles, their definitions, and how they interrelate.
  • Understanding of the nature of challenges and dilemmas involved in translating humanitarian principles into operational decisions.
  • Knowledge of examples of practical implications of humanitarian principles for humanitarian actors.
  • Familiarity with the role that humanitarian principles play within organizations and in their interactions with other actors.
  • Clarity on the purpose, nature, and content of the upcoming series of learning events.


PHAP members have the possibility to undergo a two-part assessment after the session as part of the PHAP Continuous Learning Credits framework.

Part 1: Comprehension check

Part 2: Written reflection

To encourage peer learning among members, selected essay responses will also be published on the website, if approved by the writer. As a member, you can comment on the responses and read other members' comments.

Read the written reflections

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