Introduction Citing the celebrated opening sentence of the Communist Manifesto may seem an odd way to begin these modest reflections on the challenges the relief world is confronting, and the graver ones it is likely to confront over the course of the next decade. But just as the spectre of communism was haunting Europe in 1848, a spectre haunts the humanitarian international in 2018 – the spectre of illegitimacy. A disclaimer is immediately necessary: if you believe that the importance of the changes that are taxing the established global order

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

Introduction The modern global humanitarian system takes the form it does because it is underpinned by liberal world order, the post-1945 successor to the imperial world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the global political and economic system the European empires created. Humanitarian space, as we have come to know it in the late twentieth century, is liberal space, even if many of those engaged in humanitarian action would rather not see themselves as liberals. To the extent that there is something constitutively liberal about

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

than the past relief efforts it now disavows. Rather than system failure, just as important is that the world has changed. Societies are more fragmented and unequal than before ( Piketty, 2014 ). International space has striated into fast, slow and stopped lanes ( Brown, 2010 ) as debt, precarity and anger have flourished ( Mishra, 2017 ). Rather than correcting past mistakes, humanitarian innovation is embarked on a wholly different project. It is helping create the systems and structures to govern global precarity. Important here is its

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

Introduction The first thing to say about liberal order is that it hasn’t been that liberal. Since the Second World War, the production of subjects obeisant to the rule of liberal institutions has depended on illiberal and authoritarian methods – not least on the periphery of the world system, where conversion to Western reason has been pursued with particularly millenarian zeal, and violence. The wishful idea of an ever more open and global market economy has been continuously undermined by its champions, with their subsidies and monopolistic

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

US of course still faced certain political challenges, but the concepts guiding international relations at this time, authored by the US, were dominant. We would hear about ‘reaching out’ and, later, Obama’s formulation ‘leading from behind’, but always leading. Returning to the main change we see today… of course, there are forces that have been working for a long time… Trump arrives and says: ‘No, I don’t want a global order. I prefer global disorder.’ I am referring here only to what is manifest; I have not yet been able to analyse this change

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what’s happening around the world today as if there haven’t been people… theorising racism, nationalism, empire and gender for a century and warning of exactly what we see now.’ Moulded by Eurocentric knowledge systems, most of us react to such developments with utter shock. We – an imagined citizenry of respectable democracies – are horrified and appalled at how far we have been dragged from our liberal, more-or-less progressive self-image. And we are invited to consider whether we might be witnessing the end of the liberal humanitarian order

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, with their cosmopolitan project of liberal order and rules-based global governance, initiated after the Second World War and expanded after the Cold War. If this victory is consolidated, it will bring an end to the American messianism of the twentieth century, with its division of the world between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, its globalising imperative to reorganise the world through the deregulation of markets and frontiers and its conceited attempts to universalise liberal democracy and human rights. And it will also pose an existential threat to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement

Introduction During the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic, an estimated US$ 10 billion was spent to contain the disease in the region and globally. The response brought together multilateral agencies, bilateral partnerships, private enterprises and foundations, local governments and communities. Social mobilisation efforts were pivotal components of the response architecture ( Gillespie et al. , 2016 ; Laverack and Manoncourt, 2015 ; Oxfam International, 2015 ). They relied on grassroots community actors, classic figures of humanitarian work or development

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

population in contexts of armed conflict is evident in the range of policy statements, handbooks and guidelines ( Global Protection Cluster Working Group, 2010 ; ICRC, 2008 ; InterAction, 2006 ; O’Callaghan and Pantuliano, 2007 ; Oxfam, 2005 ; Paul, 1999 ; Slim and Bonwick, 2005 ). Institutional staff-security policies also began to appear in the 1990s ( Cutts and Dingle, 1995 ; ICRC, 1999 ). In 2000, the Humanitarian Practice Network published a Good Practice Review on Operational Security in Violent Environments (hereafter, GPR). Concerned not only with the

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, I found only a few car accidents in our archives, though it was likely that not all the incidents had been reported. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles to incident reporting was the fear of consequences and of headquarters interfering in the mission’s affairs. Thanks to the training and field visits, the heads of mission were more willing to report incidents, making the global analysis more accurate. It turned out that traffic accidents were in fact very rare, and that verbal and written threats and threatening gestures were the leading cause of incidents and

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