The Humanitarian as Negotiator: Developing Capacity across the Sector

Humanitarian Negotiation Working Paper Series Paper #2 — September 2017

35 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017  

Rob Grace

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Date Written: September 27, 2017

Abstract

This paper examines the dynamics at play in ongoing efforts to cultivate negotiation capacity among professionals working in the humanitarian sector. Based on extensive interviews conducted with humanitarian practitioners, this paper addresses three overarching issues. The first is humanitarian professionals' current understanding of humanitarian negotiation as a concept. On this issue, the paper examines the difficulties of defining humanitarian negotiation and the competing answers to the question of how to conceptually delineate humanitarian negotiation as an activity. The second is the types of negotiation capacity — cognitive, emotional, social, and cultural — that humanitarian practitioners deem to be relevant to their work. The third is the difficulties likely to be faced as capacity building efforts in this field continue to unfold. Overall, this paper aims to paint a portrait of the state of humanitarian negotiation capacity building, as well as what will be needed moving forward.

Keywords: Negotiation, Armed Conflict, Humanitarian, Humanitarian Assistance, Humanitarian Protection, Humanitarian Aid, International Humanitarian Law, IHL

Suggested Citation

Grace, Rob, The Humanitarian as Negotiator: Developing Capacity across the Sector (September 27, 2017). Humanitarian Negotiation Working Paper Series Paper #2 — September 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3043968 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3043968

Rob Grace (Contact Author)

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative ( email )

14 Story Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

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