On 8 October 2015, PHAP hosted an online briefing and discussion on the forthcoming study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on principled humanitarian action in situations of armed conflict.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, with the support of OFDA/USAID and Handicap International, have recently commissioned a research paper on “Principles and Pragmatism in Conflict Settings: Field Perspectives” (forthcoming November 2015).

This study has involved a close examination of the relevance and implementation of principles from the perspectives of different actors in Colombia, Syria/Turkey, South Sudan, and Nepal. The case studies have explored challenges faced in the field, perceptions of principles and their application, the role of the private sector in principled humanitarian response, and the influence of states on principled action.

The research consultants, having just returned from the field, presented the initial findings from these countries, identify cross-cutting issues, and spur a targeted discussion and reflections from both the audience and panelists through the live polls, chat and Q&A. The objective of the webinar was to gather perspectives on questions including if humanitarian action is possible without humanitarian principles, if the humanitarian aid environment has become more or less politicized over the last ten years, if commercial entities can be principled and if any actions need to be taken to strengthen the more consistent application of principles.


Andrew Cunningham Andrew Cunningham has twenty years’ experience in the humanitarian field, beginning with working in the Rwandan refugee camps in Tanzania between 1994-1996, followed by fourteen years with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), ten years of which was in the field in a wide variety of contexts and geographical locations. Later he moved to the Amsterdam MSF headquarters to work in the Humanitarian Affairs Department where he collaborated on various projects related to the translation of humanitarian principles into viable humanitarian interventions. Andrew’s specialty in his MSF work was in highly insecure contexts, such as Chechnya, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Somalia. Since leaving MSF Andrew has been completing a PhD in War Studies at King’s College London, researching the relationship between States and international humanitarian organisations in the context of conflict. Over the last four years Andrew has also conducted a number of consultancies and trainings for various humanitarian organisations.
Fadi Hakim is the Coordinator of the Syrian NGO Alliance since June 2015. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Chief of the Aleppo Health Office, responsible for the monitoring and support to all medical activities in the Aleppo governorate.
Nathalie Herlemont-Zoritchak Nathalie Herlemont-Zoritchak is Director of Operational Development at Handicap International Foundation. The purpose of the unit is to direct, advise and assist decision-making on ethical and political issues faced by Handicap International in its daily activities; and to enhance Handicap International values and analyses’ influence. Her work includes regular field visits (Albania, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kenya, Mozambique, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast, North Korea, DRC, Syria/Lebanon among others). The objective of the Handicap International Foundation is indeed to establish a direct link between issues faced in the field and debates at the global level, in order to contribute to change in policies and practices, and learn from field experiences. Before taking up her position with Handicap International, Nathalie Herlemont-Zoritchak was in charge of international relations for Coordination Sud (an umbrella of 140 French NGOs) from 1998 to 2002. With a PhD in Political Science, Nathalie Herlemont-Zoritchak is also a lecturer at the Centre for Education and research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) at Geneva University. She has also lectured at the University of Lyon II on public policies and non-governmental action and on multilateral diplomatic negotiations at the University of Paris.
Christian Huber Christian Huber is currently working as a Humanitarian Principles Advisor for the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Policy and Advocacy Team in Geneva. Christian started working with the German Red Cross in Emergency Relief Operations in Sri Lanka, Gaza, Lebanon and Vietnam. He then joined the ICRC to be a Delegate for Protection and Detention and later Head of Office, working in Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He holds a degree in Political Sciences from the Free University of Berlin, and a Master Degree in International Humanitarian Action (NOHA) from the University of Uppsala.


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


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Geneva Humanitarian Connector

This event was made possible by NRC Geneva/Handicap International and through the Geneva Humanitarian Connector, an initiative of PHAP supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.