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"Africa, the tragedy; Africa, the challenge" NEPAD and the new humanitarian agenda

31-12-2003 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 852, by Garth Abraham

Humanitarian action is normally associated with external assistance in times of crisis. The "new humanitarian agenda" takes the view that this type of action is inappropriate to combat the root causes of conflicts. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) directs humanitarian action towards development as a means of conflict prevention and focuses on African solutions to problems on the African continent.


Garth Abraham
MA (Natal) LLB (UCT) LLM (Wits), Associate Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand,   Johannesburg; Attorney of the High Court of South Africa; IHL Legal Advisor: University Liaison, Pretoria Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 

Humanitarian action is associated with the provision of external aid in times of crisis. The ‘new humaniarian agenda’ proposes that humanitarian action of this kind fails adequately to address the underlying causes for crises. Rather, humanitarian action should be developmental in nature. This is the principal aim of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development ( " NEPAD " ). Although there are many potential obstacles to the initiative realising its goal of continental regeneration, it represents something unique and therefore deserving of attention – it is an African inspired initiative that attempts to impose upon Africans the need seriously to acknowledge their responsibilities to their citizens and to the continent.


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