“Especially the local helpers are affected”. Interview with Kristina Roepstorff on the Shrinking Humanitarian Space.13. January 2020
Kristina Roepstorff has been a Research Fellow at the Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) since September 2019, where she heads the project on Shrinking Humanitarian Space. In this interview, she explains what Shrinking Humanitarian Space is and the challenges it poses for humanitarian action.
The volume of humanitarian aid in Germany has multiplied in recent years. What is Germany’s new role and strategy in humanitarian aid? The Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) together with the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) invited to a high-level round table on December 6.
Everybody is talking about the Triple Nexus. But what exactly does it mean in practice to bring together humanitarian action, development and peace work? On November 28, the Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) hosted its second event on this subject. This time, Anaïde Nahikian from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and CHA-Research Fellow Andrea Steinke discussed the case of Mali.
Since the arrest of Carola Rackete, captain of Sea Watch 3, in June 2019, the topic of sea rescue has been on everyone’s lips. One thing is clear: Humanitarian workers are increasingly being hampered in their work – one also talks about the Shrinking Humanitarian Space. On November 28, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and SOS MEDITERRANEE organised an event in Berlin. Kristina Roepstorff from the Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) participated as a panelist.
How the rescue at sea in the Mediterranean was criminalised step by step – this stands for a Shrinking Humanitarian Space also in Europe. A guest contribution by David Starke, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany.
CHA has published its work programme for 2019-2021. Three projects are to be realised. Thematically, the focus is on the policy and strategy capability of German humanitarian actors, the Triple Nexus and the Shrinking Humanitarian Space in the Global South and in Europe.
Droughts, floods, displacements. At the Humanitarian Congress 2019, which took place on October 17 and 18, 2019, at Urania Berlin, humanitarian actors* discussed the challenges of climate change and its impacts on humanitarian action. CHA was present with its own stand and a panel discussion on the situation in Syria, facilitated by CHA Director Ralf Südhoff.
With the entering of Turkish troops in North-East Syria at the beginning of October, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Experts speak of one of the most worrying events since the outbreak of the Syrian war. CHA organised a webinar on the humanitarian situation with Panos Moumtzis, a senior UN-representative in the region.
The aid that humanitarian actors are most prepared to deliver is not always the most suitable one to effectively meet the needs of people in crisis. How can this be changed? CHA-Director Ralf Südhoff facilitated a plenary session on this issue at ALNAP’s 32nd Annual Meeting.
Three years after the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, it is now time to reflect: Have there been the changes to humanitarian assistance for people in emergencies promised at this summit? What, for some, may be a debate over technical, sector-specific reforms, is a question of life or death for more people than ever before.
Aktion gegen den Hunger and CHA invited to a confidential round table on September 19, 2019. NGOs were able to discuss how the counterterrorism legislation of international donors affects humanitarian aid and their project work. An event review.
CHA has won a tender from Welthungerhilfe for an evaluation concerning the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. The evaluation fits into the CHA project “Nexus in Practice” and includes several case studies.
Deutsche Welle has interviewed Ralf Südhoff for a broadcast of an English radio show, in which he speaks about the following: Where does German humanitarian assistance stand? What could be Germany’s global role? What do German public & civil actors need to look at? What can think tank CHA contribute to these issues?
In the “Monday on the Couch” event on 22/07/2019, organised by the Bosch Alumni Network and the CHA, speakers and the experienced audience discussed the topic “Refugees, Activists and Humanitarians – all criminals?”. A review of the event can be read here.
Aside from the current war in Yemen, the Syrian conflict that broke out in 2011 is still considered the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. ln the face of the continuing plight of more than 13 million Syrians, innovative humanitarian action in the region, which is constantly changing, has made the crisis a “laboratory” for the future of humanitarian action from United Nations agencies and civil society. At the same time, in the Syrian conflict humanitarian action has rarely before been so hampered, attacked and disregarded in its principles, which signifies major challenges and conflicting goals worldwide.
On 28 June 2019 a meeting took place in Berlin between Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, IFHV’s Executive Director Professor Pierre Thielbörger and CHA Director Ralf Südhoff. The discussion focused on the nexus approach, in particular the link with education, as well as upholding IHL and Europe’s major role in defending shrinking humanitarian space.
CHA welcomed on 5th of June Mark Lowcock for a frank discussion on how humanitarian action can save more lives by anticipatory approaches and timely financing mechanisms.
Interesting article in the German magazine “welt-sichten” on the deficient strategy of German humanitarian aid. CHA director Ralf Südhoff is being quoted as he warns the Federal Government and aid organisations to “continue like this”. Apart from Südhoff, three other experts that have been invited to the hearing of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the German parliament on 20/03/2019 have been interviewed.
CHA director Ralf Südhoff reports on his personal background in the field of humanitarian action. By presenting some of the conflicts he was confronted with in his previous positions, listeners gain practical insights into the dilemmas of humanitarian principles. He also takes a stand on important topics such as sea rescue and arms exports and shows how the work of the CHA can contribute to improving humanitarian action.
The event for the presentation of the SOHS 2018 report and the launch of the new strategy of the German Federal Foreign Office on humanitarian assistance has attracted an audience of approximately 180 people. We appreciate this huge interest and would like to look back to the event with a picture gallery.
On the occasion of the presentation of the new strategy of the German Federal Foreign Office on humanitarian assistance, an article written by CHA director Ralf Südhoff has been published in German daily “Tagesspiegel” on 04/04/2019.
How did the humanitarian system change in the last three years? And what are the German answers to those challenges? Watch a recording of our symposium here.
Humanitarian aid workers are often confronted with difficult decisions on moral issues and humanitarian principles. During our opening event on 19/03/2019, Directors from Médecins sans Frontièrs, Caritas Germany and Diakonie Emergency Aid spoke about humanitarian aid challenges and dilemmas in times of multiple conflicts. Listen to the recording on rbb Inforadio (in German).
CHA director Ralf Südhoff was invited to an expert hearing of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the German parliament on 20/03/2019. Seven experts layed out their views on the latest quadrennial report German humanitarian assistance abroad by the German Federal Foreign Office. Watch a video of the hearing here.
We are pleased about the numerous guests who took part in our yesterday’s opening event. In addition to Minister of State Niels Annen, directors of German aid organisations and international guests discussed the question “Humanitarian Aid in crisis – Germany only a small giant”.
The crisis in Venezuela is a prime example of how humanitarian action should not be provided and can even have dangerous impacts. The US approach violates the humanitarian principles and undermines the work of aid organisations, criticises CHA director Ralf Südhoff in an interview with “welt-sichten” magazine.
Humanitarian aid workers face a number of dilemmas, especially when they want to provide aid in crises and war zones. How do they uphold the principle of impartiality when they have to cooperate with conflict parties? How do they remain neutral? And what does it mean to be independent when state donors finance their aid? CHA director Ralf Südhoff raises questions that humanitarian aid workers and the CHA deal with.
What can the CHA do that others can’t? Why is its independence so important? Why is it wrong to claim that aid always reaches the target group? And why are German humanitarian actors internationally still frequently perceived as newcomers? Director Ralf Südhoff answers those questions in an interview with Greenpeace Magazine.
On Wednesday, 9 January 2019, CHA founding director Ralf Südhoff and colleagues visited the Federal Foreign Office and met the head of the Division for Humanitarian Assistance / Operations and her team. The aim of the meeting was to present the CHA and to sound out future cooperations and possible joint events. The current challenges of humanitarian aid and the new report “State of the Humanitarian System” (SOHS) were also discussed.