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Review launch in Washington: discussing the Future of Humanitarian Action

14-12-2012 Article

On the 4th of December, ICRC Director of operations Pierre Krähenbühl joined Ambassador William J. Garvelink to launch the recently published edition of the Review on ‘the Future of Humanitarian Action’ at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). During a discussion with US government representatives and major US NGOs, Mr. Krähenbühl analysed some of the key factors that will influence the future of humanitarian action and reflected on how best to address challenges and seize opportunities.

After an introduction of the new issue of the review, entitled “The future of humanitarian action” by Ambassador Gravelink, Mr Krähenbühl presented some of the current trends the ICRC has observed in the humanitarian field. These include increased diversity in both the nature of armed conflicts themselves as well as in the types  of parties involved, the increase in the average duration of armed conflicts, issues of humanitarian access and perceptions of humanitarian actors, the need to engage in and difficulties flowing from a dialogue with all parties to a conflict, and the emergence of new humanitarian actors. Mr Krähenbühl also addressed security issues, and emphasized the continued relevance of the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence as well as the importance of international humanitarian law in dealing with today’s challenges.

Mr Krähenbühl then engaged in a discussion with an audience composed of representatives from the US government and major US NGOs, among others. The discussion, reflecting some of the key changes witnessed by a variety of humanitarian actors, addressed issues such as the impact of new technologies on humanitarian action, the proliferation of rebel movements, and increasing security concerns. The participants asked how remote management of humanitarian work is changing the ‘proximity approach’ of humanitarian assistance. Mr Krähenbühl answered a question about the difficulty associated with deciding when and how to end a humanitarian operation. The participants also shared their experience and views on how to interact with new humanitarian actors.

  • The complete recording of the event is available on the Intercross blog.  


Ambassador William J. Garvelink (left) and ICRC Director of operations Pierre Krähenbühl (right) 

William J. Garvelink, Ambassador (left) and Pierre Krähenbühl, ICRC Director of operations (right)