Civil-military coordination

By operational volume and finance, humanitarian action is overwhelmingly a response to the impact of conflict and violence on people. Armed actors thus occupy the humanitarian operating environment in a variety of roles, and Civ-mil coordination responds to the need for coexistence, mutual respect and a certain degree of cooperation. From flows of basic information to communication security management, to negotiating consent and promoting respect for IHL, Civ-Mil coordination follows established principles/guidelines in order to reconcile the distinct objectives of the humanitarians and soldiers. Civ-Mil coordination also governs the use, as a last resort, of military assets to assist in humanitarian action.

Soldier stands waiting while UN helicopter is landing

Photo: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

Key actors

Part of UN OCHA, CMCS is the focal point in the UN system for humanitarian civil-military coordination

Center providing expertise, courses, and resources on civil-military cooperation for both civilian and military actors

Provides educational programs and a research portal for scholars and practitioners working on issues related to civil-military coordination in humanitarian emergencies

Key references

Guide for Civil-Military Coordination Officers and focal points in natural disasters and complex emergencies

Recommended practices for using Foreign Military Assets (FMA) while maintaining principled humanitarian action

Webinar recordings

PHAP certifications

Certification badge for Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE)

Knowledge about engagement with armed actors, including civil-military coordination, is covered by the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE) certification (competency statement 2.7).

External news

Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence
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Upcoming courses:

March 17-24:
Amman/Dead Sea

April 1-8:
Nairobi

April 29-May 3:
Geneva