Our partners of the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) at Harvard University recently launched a new report as a part of their Field Analysis Series. The publication is entitled “Realities and Myths of the “Triple Nexus.” While focusing on peacebuilding and development, the report also discusses the shortcomings of the international response in Mali and the implications for humanitarian organizations operating on the frontlines.
We asked one of the authors, Emmanuel Tronc, a Senior Research Analyst at ATHA to elaborate on the report. Emmanuel is a member of the CCHN’s Training of Facilitators Program and recently co-facilitated a humanitarian negotiation workshop with the CCHN in Afghanistan.
What does the “Triple Nexus” look like on the ground in Mali?
Even in light of an ongoing international presence and intervention in the country, and millions of dollars raised and spent each year on humanitarian programming, Mali remains a country destabilized by extreme poverty and escalating violence with diminishing prospects for Malians’ futures in education, livelihoods, and stability.
Policymakers and operational actors, including humanitarian and development agencies, as well as donors, have promoted such interconnected operations in Mali. However, the barriers to its implementation are telling. Thus, the overarching aim of the “triple nexus” is to facilitate collaboration, coordination, information sharing, and joint planning and analysis between practitioners engaged in humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding activities.
Interview findings of this paper reflected the fact that this operational strategy, widely discussed at the policy levels by actors engaged in various dimensions of the international response, has not necessarily filtered down or been translated to the frontline level on the ground.
In Mali, the various concerns expressed about the viability of the “triple nexus” policy concept have no doubt proven valid. In this context, there has been a definitive blurring of the lines between peacebuilding, development, and humanitarian activities, bringing the impartial nature of their respective activities into question.
What are the implications for humanitarian organizations operating on the frontlines?
Security has had a significant impact on the quality, delivery, and effectiveness of aid programming. Thus, international humanitarian organizations rely on their national staff for more long-standing presence in a community, creating a dangerous transfer of risk onto local staff and their families. Other approaches have included remote management and requests for a more robust security apparatus to protect humanitarian actors from the security risks inherent in this operational environment.
Last but not least, our paper discusses three overarching shortcomings of the international response. First, there is a lack of long-term vision. Second, the international response has prioritized security at the definitive expense of more expansive, long-term peacebuilding efforts. Third, international efforts have insufficiently included local actors in planning and implementation processes.
For CCHN community members, the full version of the interview can be accessed on CCHN Connect. The full text of this paper can be downloaded by clicking the button below.