centre for humanitarian action


by Kristina Roepstorff (15.05.2020)

The call for localising humanitarian action has gained momentum. What is meant by 'local' - and how do humanitarian actors deal with the increasing curtailment of their space for action? A critical glance in the new paper by CHA Fellow Dr Kristina Roepstorff.


Triple Nexus – Threat or Opportunity for the Humanitarian Principles?

by Marc DuBois (07.05.2020)

In this CHA discussion paper, Marc DuBois outlines the potential for the Triple Nexus to improve the humanitarian sector’s operational impact and its respect for its principles.



by Sonja Hövelmann (30.03.2020)

In CHA's new publication series "... to go", complex topics of humanitarian assistance are explained briefly and easily understandable. In this first issue, the much-discussed and at the same time often vague, undefined Triple Nexus is to be unravelled.


Counterterrorism Measures and Sanction Regimes: Shrinking Space for Humanitarian Aid Organisations

by Kristina Roepstorff, Charlotte Faltas, Sonja Hövelmann (27.02.2020)

In recent decades, states and intergovernmental organisations have adopted increasingly restrictive laws and guidelines to combat terrorism. Humanitarian actors report disastrous effects on their daily work. This publication introduces the current state of the debate.


Haiti Ten Years After Douz Janvye

by Andrea Steinke (31.01.2020)

Ten years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, many Haitians want to break with a system that is reproduced by the humanitarian community. In her latest publication, CHA Research Fellow Andrea Steinke takes a closer look at the humanitarian situation in the country - and draws a critical balance.


Migration and the Shrinking Humanitarian Space in Europe

by Kristina Roepstorff (15.10.2019)

Our new research fellow Kristina Roepstorff discusses the problem of the shrinking humanitarian space in Europe. Besides the well-known obstacles to civil search and rescue operations, the humanitarian space is also affected by various other controversial measures in EU countries.


Where does German humanitarian assistance stand?

by Ralf Südhoff and Sonja Hövelmann (08.03.2019)

Germany has positioned itself as the second largest donor country, which is of extremely great value in times of a rapidly growing number of people in need. However, Germany’s financial engagement and its policy and strategy capacities have not grown at the same pace. Staffing as well as structural issues prevent Germany to fulfill its potential as a leading humanitarian actor.


Localisation and the humanitarian principles – the relevance of community engagement

by Inez Kipfer-Didavi, with contributions from Liliane Bitong (01.05.2018)

Local actors can follow the humanitarian principles, but in certain contexts this poses substantial challenges for them. In order to meet these challenges, local actors need greater institutional and financial power and a broad localisation approach is needed.


Local aid and international agencies – a matter of conflict and contradiction?

by Ed Schenkenberg van Mierop (01.05.2018)

The projected funding increases for local actors as part of the Grand Bargain might be an opportunity: Those in greatest need may more effectively receive the help they urgently require. But who is a local actor? Do they face greater challenges as international agencies in providing impartial and neutral assistance? Is the much discussed issue of local or international actors always the right one, or is it often more important to look at actors abilities?


Providing assistance in conflict and respecting humanitarian principles – two opposing goals?

by Julia Steets and Katherine Haver (01.05.2018)

Providing assistance in an impartial way poses major challenges for aid agencies in particular conflict settings. However, there are ways to address these. For example, humanitarian actors can openly discuss compromise options and adopt ethical risk management systems.


The future of humanitarian action: Reflections on impartiality

by Antonio Donini (01.05.2018)

Humanitarianism is in crisis – but what are the current challenges? And in what ways could the humanitarian system change in future? Will western actors gradually lose control, to be replaced by other centres of humanitarian thought and action?


Based on need alone?

by Martin Quack (Ed.) (01.05.2018)

Humanitarian organisations are bound to the principle of impartiality. This means that actions must be carried out on the basis of need alone. They must be focused on the neediest, regardless of their ethnicity or political or religious beliefs. In theory, this is clear and logical – but humanitarian workers experience on a daily basis how difficult it is to apply this principle in reality.