Self-Governance by Humanitarian Non-State Actors in Health and Nutrition Relief
34 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 14, 2014
In the provision of humanitarian health assistance in a post disaster context, critical concerns such as local ownership, financial and political transparency and humane implementation are central. Given that poor quality or unsuitable health assistance can have grossly negative consequences such as "increased morbidity, mortality, and disability," increasingly, humanitarian agencies are recognizing the need for a common set of standards and guiding principles for humanitarian health assistance. This includes consideration of provision of quality health services in addition to other core issues such as cooperation and coordination between various institutions and sectors. The central argument postulated in this paper is that despite the absence of a proper global enforcement mechanism of the obligation to provide quality humanitarian assistance in health and nutrition, emerging self-governing mechanisms, such as the Sphere Humanitarian Charter provides a useful mechanism for self-regulation and action by civil society organizations. Such self-regulatory mechanisms contribute to the development of international customary law with regard to an emerging responsibility to provide effective humanitarian assistance.
Keywords: Humanitarian Law, Health and Nutrition Relief, Global Governance, International Customary Law
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