Humanitarian Cafe: Antonio Donini

DARA celebrated its second Humanitarian Café with Antonio Donini, editor of The Golden Fleece, October 9th.

“There has never been a ‘Golden Age’ for humanitarian principles. Ever since humanitarian aid has been delivered it has been instrumentalised and used to serve political, military or other non-humanitarian interests,” says Donini.

Donini, a senior researcher at the Feinstein International Center of Tufts University, Ed Schenkenberg, DARA’s Chief Executive, and members of the Spanish humanitarian community discussed the impact of manipulation on the effectiveness of humanitarian action during the gathering.

Increasing politicisation of aid has devastating consequences and compromises access to vulnerable populations, and thus the ability of humanitarian actors to provide assistance and assure protection.

The independence of humanitarian action has been a core issue in DARA’s research. Our analysis within the past ten years, especially within the context of the Humanitarian Response Index, has pointed to a clear politicisation of aid.

Despite commitments to ensure their aid is needs-based and guided by humanitarian principles, donor governments have repeatedly shown that there are other non-humanitarian factors that often determine decisions on aid allocations. However, donor governments are not solely responsible for this bad practice, and humanitarian agencies should be more consistent and firm in maintaining principled positions.

Finding ways to best preserve and protect the neutrality, independence and impartiality of aid efforts in an increasingly complex environment is still a pending task.

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