Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Moving humanitarian-military relations forward: a new typology

March 30, 2023

Adam and Alexandria

Adam Levine and Alexandria Nylen recently co-authored an article in the Journal of International Humanitarian Action titled "Moving humanitarian-military relations forward: a new typology."

This article presents a new typology for humanitarian-military relations (HMR). This typology can serve as an analytical framework for assessing, during humanitarian emergencies, how civilian responders can and should engage with armed actors. The typology considers two factors: (1) the nature of crisis-affected population’s perceptions of an armed actor, and (2) the extent of alignment of civilian responders’ and armed actors’ interests and objectives. This typology is empirically rooted in an in-depth analysis of HMR across four humanitarian response contexts: (1) the Kivu Ebola Epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (2) the Rukban forced displacement crisis along the Jordan-Syria border, (3) the Taal volcano eruption in the Philippines, and (4) the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. The analysis presented in this article is based on 175 qualitative interviews conducted with civilian responders, armed actors, and crisis-affected individuals across these contexts.