Who we are
The Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) is a Berlin-based think tank founded in 2018, which engages in independent analysis, initiates debates and spreads the word about humanitarian action and principles amongst the general public. The CHA is an initiative of humanitarian non-governmental organisations to strengthen German and international humanitarian action.
Why do we need a CHA?
Humanitarian action has rarely been more essential than today: The number of people in need worldwide is rising year by year. Never have more people been on the run. Effective humanitarian assistance can mean the difference between life and death for millions of men, women and children. At the same time humanitarian action, actors, and the humanitarian principles are under attack and at risk of being undermined or underfunded.
Germany’s humanitarian engagement has multiplied in past years and it is today the world’s second largest donor country. The role of German humanitarian organisations is also internationally growing and the impact of German humanitarian action is substantial. At the same time German actors’ analysis and reflection capacities have not been growing on the same pace as financial expansion. For this reason an independent institution is needed, which engages in this ever more important field, as do similar think tanks in other countries.
Others about CHA
Better and faster humanitarian aid saves lives! That is why we must think of humanitarian aid in the same innovative and unconventional way as of any other policy area. For this purpose CHA is a valued partner and source of inspiration for us in the Bundestag.
Gyde Jensen MdB, FDP, Chairwoman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid
We need a CHA because we need to put the debate on humanitarian assistance at the centre of the capital.
Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office
CHA fills a gap in the debate on humanitarian assistance.
Margarete Bause, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Member of the Bundestag Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid
CHA is important because it needs politically independent and neutral actors who can conduct research on implementation problems of humanitarian action.
Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, former President Brot für die Welt and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
We need a CHA because the ambitions of humanitarian assistance in Germany must now be put to the hard test of reality.
Florian Westphal, designated Chairman of the Board of Save the Children Germany
CHA’s three core areas
Analysis and reflection
CHA engages in self-critical reflection of humanitarian action by the German government, the parliament, NGOs and other civil society, academic and political actors in Germany and German speaking Europe. Analysis and studies build on international research, inspire German debates by the latter, and feed German perspectives into the international arena.
Debate and policy engagement
CHA serves as a forum for controversial and open discussion with national and international humanitarian actors and with academic networks. Based on its independence it raises sensitive issues and challenges for humanitarian principles in action. Initiated debates also serve as policy and practical advice for humanitarian actors.
Imparting knowledge and know-how
CHA promotes communication and education on humanitarian action, its challenges and principles in public and in political discourse and it builds partnerships in this arena. The imparting of knowledge and know-how, for instance in civic education, comprises the necessity and dilemmas of humanitarian action.
CHA’s three projects
Policy and Strategic Capacity of German Humanitarian Action
In recent years the humanitarian aid from Germany has multiplied. The Federal Government and German aid organizations are playing an increasingly important role in the international arena. At the same time, this raises high – and to date not completely fulfilled – expectations for German actors to continue the strategic development of its humanitarian aid as well as to effectively protect humanitarian principles internationally.
The project aims to examine the strategic and policy capacity of German humanitarian organisations from an international perspective and to develop recommendations for public and civil German humanitarian actors.
Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus in Practice
Since the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the Triple Nexus has had a high priority in the humanitarian reform debate. The declared goal of the Triple Nexus approach is to improve the linkages between humanitarian aid, development cooperation, and peace-building.
This project contributes to enriching the predominantly abstract Triple Nexus debate with concrete examples of local practices while looking at it from a humanitarian standpoint. The research results on the Peace Nexus will be made available in the form of country studies, a Nexus publication, and a CHA conference in the beginning of 2020. The project will be complemented by a Triple Nexus Evaluation for the German NGO Welthungerhilfe.
Shrinking Humanitarian Space in the Global South and in Europe
The internationally much-debated issue of shrinking humanitarian space is considered a fundamental challenge for humanitarian aid and its principles. So far, however, this debate is mainly concerned with the countries of the Global South.
The aim of this project is to examine the specific challenges and parallels of increasingly limited spaces for principled humanitarian action in the countries of the North and the South, with concrete practical examples. In the context of asylum and migration policies, including sea rescue, anti-terrorism legislation and localization, the topic will be examined and options for action will be discussed.
The CHA is not meant to be a purely academic institution, nor to represent humanitarian organisations vis-à-vis the German Federal Government. The Centre rather builds a bridge between academic analysis of humanitarian action and projects and programmes in the field. It also bridges and connects international discussions and the debate in Germany. The results of this work and the related recommendations are freely accessible to all actors.
How is CHA funded?
To ensure that CHA is independent, practice-oriented and anchored in civil society, substantial financial contributions are made by humanitarian NGOs.
In addition to its institutional partners, CHA is financially and non-materially supported by other organisations. These include Islamic Relief Deutschland e.V., Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V. and Action against Hunger gGmbH, as well as Oxfam Germany, Handicap international and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) (since 2021).
Another pillar of CHA funding is project grants. With its own funds as well as a grant from the German Federal Foreign Office, CHA is funding in particular its SPREAD project on “Strengthening Program and Policy Relevant Capabilities of Humanitarian Actors in Germany” (link follows) from 2021-2023.
Due to its multiple funding sources CHA is independent of individual donors, and its content is not subject to their influence. CHA is open to additional institutional and endorsing partners from civil society organisations, scientific institutions and individuals. Please contact us for further details.
What is the legal status of CHA?
Since 2021, CHA is a registered non-profit association. Previously it was part of German Maecenata Foundation, which also served as its legal body.
Director of the Board: Ralf Südhoff
- Philipp Frisch (Doctors without Borders Germany)
- Lena Bledau (Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe)
- Ole Hengelbrock (Caritas international)
Content and statements on this website, in our publications or social media channels do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the founding or supporting organisations.