Partnerships between international organizations and local actors are key for the delivery of principled humanitarian aid. While progress has been made through the Principles of Partnership, much more is needed to implement these principles. This is particularly true for applying the humanitarian principles in conflict contexts – the delivery of principled humanitarian aid is a challenging endeavour in these settings that requires continuous attention.
In the second half of 2020, two research teams engaged with more than 123 local actors operating in the humanitarian delivery space in the states of North Eastern Nigeria and South Sudan to investigate how partnerships and humanitarian principles were implemented. The research made interesting findings related to perceptions of double standards and difficulties with operationalising humanitarian and partnership principles, that the set of principles must operate in combination to secure principled humanitarian assistance in local contexts, and a lack of shared understanding between partners of what principled humanitarian action means in practice. Based on their discussions, the investigators are suggesting new and stronger models of humanitarian partnership that are more equitable, accountable to local actors and which take collective responsibility for principled delivery of humanitarian aid.
On 2 June, we organized a launch event of the report based on this research. We were joined by the principal investigators from both research teams and representatives of local organizations in these two contexts, as well as experts on global policy, to discuss the results and their implications.