Ensuring better outcomes for civilians in armed conflict

Think tank: Chatham House

Author(s): Martin Barber OBE; Mark Bowden CMG

December 15, 2023

This report from UK think tank Chatham House takes a closer look at different approaches to the principles that can improve outcomes for civilians in conflict contexts.

The increasing complexity of protracted armed conflicts that impact civilian lives demonstrates the urgent need for a reassessment of the role of humanitarian principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence – as well as current humanitarian assistance objectives and planning processes.

Common contributory factors stemming from humanitarian organizations that exacerbate negative outcomes for civilians in conflict include different interpretations of the humanitarian principles, siloed leadership and reporting structures, and the marginalization of local organizations.

The worst implication of these factors is the emergence of economies dependent on humanitarian aid and further intense cycles of violence.