PRELIMINARY AGENDA

Engaging with Communities on the Frontlines

3rd Annual Meeting of Frontline Humanitarian Negotiators

4-5 December 2018
Intercontinental Hotel
Geneva, Switzerland
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TUESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2017

08.00 - 08.30

Welcome Coffee & Registration

08.30 - 08.45

Introductory Remarks

Speaker

Claude Bruderlein

Director of CCHN

08.45 - 09.30

Keynote Presentations

David Beasley

Executive Director of WFP

Peter Maurer

President of the ICRC

09.30 - 11.00

Discussion Circle 1
Negotiations with Armed Groups Who Reject Principled Humanitarian Actors

Background

Background

The circle discussion will tackle the main challenges and dilemmas related to negotiating humanitarian access with non-state armed groups (NSAGs). It will look specifically at the experience of humanitarian organizations in engaging with groups that reject the presence, legitimacy and operations of principled humanitarian actors. It further seeks to explore negotiation practices with these groups, as well as strategies that aim to increase the acceptance of impartial humanitarian action in highly polarized environments. Finally, the session will look at the impact of the state-led counter-terrorism (CT) agenda on the ability of humanitarian actors to negotiate impartial aid delivery with NSAGs labeled as ‘terrorist.’

Key questions

Key questions

  • How to negotiate respect for humanitarian principles with NSAGs?
  • How to leverage the role of host communities when negotiating with NSAGs?
  • How to dissociate humanitarian action from State-led CT and P/CVE agendas?

Discussion Circle 2
Community-Based Negotiation & Mediation as a New Avenue for Humanitarian Engagement

Background

Background

This circle discussion will revolve around ways to engage with communities to improve negotiation outcomes and build a more participatory humanitarian response. It will further explore tools and methods available to humanitarian organizations to develop participatory approaches that draw from local communities’ capacity and knowledge.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What are the practical ways to enhance community participation in humanitarian negotiation processes?
  • What role can the community play in resolving conflicts and avoiding them to spread?
  • How can international organizations support the efforts of community-based negotiators and mediators?
  • What are the opportunities for systematizing community-based negotiation and mediation processes?

Discussion Circle 3
Negotiations Between Humanitarians, Peacekeepers and Local Communities in Crisis Situations

Background

Background

Despite more than a decade of civil-military coordination and UN integration policy, negotiations between humanitarians and peacekeepers remain fraught engagements. Moving beyond policy and institutional positions, this circle will examine the potential importance and dilemmas when negotiating with peacekeepers. Drawing on experiences of participants, it will provide an opportunity to examine some of the most challenging questions for effective engagement between peacekeepers, humanitarians and local communities.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What are the practical ways to improve engagement between humanitarians and peacekeepers? At what level is such advice best directed?
  • What are the strengths and gaps in current efforts to streamline and de-conflict negotiation between humanitarians and peacekeepers?
  • What are the opportunities for strengthening peacekeepers’ understanding of humanitarian operations? What do they need to know and at what level?
  • Where and how do local communities fit in to the dialogue between humanitarians and peacekeepers?
11.00 - 11.30

Coffee Break

11.30 - 13.00

Discussion Circle 4
Diversity in Frontline Negotiation

Background

Background

This circle discussion will assess the impact of diversity on humanitarian negotiation processes. It will draw from the experience of practitioners in addressing the need  for sufficiently multi-faceted and culturally sensitive approaches to humanitarian crises and how one can develop a more nuanced perspective on the role of gender, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity in frontline humanitarian negotiation.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What are the main views of professionals on the impact of diversity on humanitarian negotiation?
  • How can agencies leverage the diversity of their staff to improve humanitarian negotiation processes and outcomes?
  • How do the personal characteristics and attributes affect their negotiation behaviour as well as the way they they are treated by their fellow colleagues and their counterparts in negotiations?

Discussion Circle 5
The Use and Impact of Digital Platforms in Humanitarian Negotiation

Background

Background

Rapid advances in information and communication technology (ICT) provide interesting new avenues of engagement and mobilization in terms of humanitarian negotiation on the frontlines. The ease and speed with which one can communicate via ICT has increased the engagement capacity of frontline negotiation teams with counterparts as well other stakeholders, including local communities. While this new technology has had a profound impact on how people relate to issues and build networks, it has not come without risks as confidentiality and data protection concerns loom large.

Key questions

Key questions

  • How do humanitarian negotiators use ICT platforms and for what purpose?
  • Have new ICT technologies made it easier or more difficult to build trustful relationships with counterparts?
  • How can ICT contribute to the efforts of humanitarian organizations to build relationships with affected communities?

Discussion Circle 6
Negotiating the Dignified Return of Refugee & Displaced Populations

Background

Background

The circle discussion will explore the major challenges and dilemmas faced by frontline humanitarian organizations in negotiating a dignified return of refugee and displaced populations. It will discuss the roles of humanitarian organizations in negotiating for a dignified return, including with host countries, countries of origin and donors. Finally, it will explore measures to mitigate the erosion of the principle of non-refoulement and protection threshold related to the voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Key questions

Key questions

  • How to negotiate the respect for the principle of non-refoulement and voluntary repatriation?
  • How to mitigate the instrumentalization of humanitarian actors in politically-driven returns of refugee and displaced populations?
13.00 - 14.00

Lunch

14.00 - 14.30

Thematic Presentation 1
A Behavioural Analysis of Humanitarian Negotiation: A Research Initiative

Speakers

Anne van Aaken

Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Faculty of Law Director of the Institute of Law and Economics, University of Hamburg

Tomer Broude

Academic Director, Minerva Center for Human Rights Faculty of Law Hebrew, University of Jerusalem

Christoph Engel

Director Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Background

Background

Negotiators are not always rational – as everybody else. Rather, individuals tend to succumb to cognitive biases and heuristics. Being aware of those helps to overcome them and recognizing them in the counterpart. In the context of humanitarian negotiations, this can be crucial to achieving success. We propose to experimentally study cognitive biases and heuristics in the humanitarian context with the negotiators in order to train and support them in their endeavors.

Thematic Presentation 2
Presentation of the Clingendael Academy Humanitarian Negotiation Training Facility

Thematic Presentation 3
Presentation of the Community-Based Approach of Initiative of Change 

14.30 - 16.00

Discussion Circle 7
Negotiating Access to Besieged Areas

Background

Background

The circle discussion will explore the major challenges and dilemmas faced by frontline humanitarian negotiators when seeking access to civilians in besieged area. It will tackle the defining features of besieged areas as well as shed light on the limits of humanitarian action in response to siege warfare. Finally, discussants will deliberate with participants on practical measures aimed at mitigating the risk of instrumentalization and diversion of humanitarian action by besieging and besieged actors.

Key questions

Key questions

  • How to balance between the imperative of providing immediate assistance to besieged populations versus sustaining the siege.
  • How to mitigate the risk of fueling profiteering schemes while operating in the context of siege economies?
  • How to mitigate the risk of instrumentalization during mass evacuations of vulnerable civilian populations from besieged areas?

Discussion Circle 8
Shaping our Negotiation Approach: Preserving the Humanitarian Operational Space in South Sudan in 2019

Background

Background

Preventing access issues and violence against humanitarian actors are concerns at the centre of the debate between humanitarian actors operating in a complex and volatile environment such as South Sudan. The capacity of humanitarian organizations to lead effective and informed humanitarian negotiations are of paramount importance to overcome these challenges. This circle discussion will look at a negotiation case study in South Sudan to engage in a conversation about the main characteristics and competences that a humanitarian frontline negotiator should have in 2019, taking into consideration the potential humanitarian consequences of the ongoing peace talks.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What should be the role of national employees and local organizations in frontline humanitarian negotiations?
  • What are the key characteristics and competences of the profile of a successful frontline humanitarian negotiator in South Sudan in 2019?
  • How much impact does the perception and reputation of an organization have on the overall outcome of a humanitarian negotiation?
  • What should be the right balance between the notion of risks and impact and where should we draw our bottom lines as part of our negotiation strategies?

Discussion Circle 9
Afghanistan: Securing Access in a Fragmented Operating Environment

 

Background

Background

Negotiating access to affected populations in Afghanistan represents a series of significant challenges and dilemmas. The Circle will discuss the experience of humanitarian professionals in Afghanistan in terms of their engagement with government and non-government actors in negotiating safe access and the protection of civilians. It will further delve on the impact of counter-terrorism policies on independent humanitarian action and the associated risks involved for humanitarian workers.

Key questions

Key questions

  • How can humanitarian organizations negotiate access to communities in areas controlled by non-state armed groups? What are the limitations in practice?
  • What are the constraints and opportunities of relying on commercial companies for the implementation of humanitarian programmes?
  • What is the role of community representatives in securing humanitarian access?
16.00 - 18.00

Public Event

18.00 - 19.30

High-Level Forum

Putting People and Communities at the Center of the Humanitarian Response

Peter Maurer

President of the ICRC

Liesbeth Aelbrecht

Director General of MSF Switzerland (tbc)

David Harland

Executive Director of HD

David Beasley

Executive Director of WFP (tbc)

Filipo Grandi

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (tbc)

Børge Brende

President of the World Economic Forum

Mark Lowcock

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Head of OCHA

Background

The discussion of the High-Level Forum will focus on the importance of engaging with affected communities from the outset of an operation; ensuring they are both a contributor to the design of the response as well as part of an accountability mechanism.

While the resilience of affected populations has been recognized for some time as a critical outcome of humanitarian and development programming, particularly in protracted crises, the contribution of communities as first responders to the needs of affected people is becoming a subject of increasing attention of frontline humanitarian negotiators. The centrality of this role has been apparent in the context of the large displacements of population over the recent years in terms of:

  • the capacity of self-help within the affected communities;
  • the capacity of urban communities to sustain the effects of prolonged military siege in conflict environments such as Syria;
  • the provision of direct support by host communities;
  • the role of the diaspora in providing direct assistance and drawing attention to the needs of populations; as well as,
  • the capacity and willingness of communities of origins to facilitate the return of displaced and refugee populations as a major factor allowing the stabilization of conflict environments and reconciliation efforts.
19.30 - 21.30

Apéritif / Cocktail Party / Passed hors d’œuvres

WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2017

08.00 - 08.30

Welcome Coffee

08.30 - 08.40

Introductory Remarks

Speaker

Claude Bruderlein

Director of CCHN

08.45 - 09.30

Thematic Presentation 4
Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap for Humanitarian Negotiators

Speaker

Alain Lempereur

Alan B. Slifka Professor & Director, Conflict Resolution & Coexistence Program, Brandeis University & Executive Committee Member & Affiliated Faculty, Harvard PON

09.30 - 11.00

Discussion Circle 10
Negotiating with Assertive States in the Long-Haul

Background

Background

Engaging with self-assured governments with an influential military remains a major challenge for humanitarian organizations in many parts of the world. Negotiations in such environments in the long-haul revolve around assertive norms of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference, leaving a narrow negotiating space. The complexity of hierarchy and the interrelationship between a multitude of interlocutors as well as the difficulty of establishing trust in a multi-level negotiation place a further strain on the negotiation capacity of humanitarian organizations.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What are the implications of negotiating with assertive states in the long-haul?
  • Should negotiators prioritize short-term negotiation outcomes or long-term trust building strategies?
  • How can international organizations best support and assist humanitarian negotiators when engaging with assertive states?

Discussion Circle 11
Strengthening the Humanitarian Negotiation Approach in Situations of Urban Violence

Background

Background

Throughout Latin America, humanitarian organizations are confronted with the challenging task to engage and negotiate with different types of criminal organizations in order to bring assistance and protection to affected communities. To improve the impact of humanitarian organizations on the ground, there is a growing need to refine their approach by systematizing best practices, lessons learned and identifying areas of improvement. To do so, this circle discussion will look at El Salvador as a case study to draw key takeaways in terms of negotiations strategies and discuss how they could inform our approach in other similar operational environments.

Discussion Circle 12
Building Trust and Credibility in War-Stricken Yemen

Background

Background

Yemen is considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and it is also one of the most complex. Access by populations to basic services is further compounded by violence, fear, and an ever worsening humanitarian situation. Negotiating access to communities requires careful planning, and an ability to engender trust, consistency and determination. The circle discussion will examine the challenges and dilemmas encountered by negotiators in the conduct of negotiations in an environment of diminished humanitarian space.

Key questions

Key questions

  • What practical measures can be used to create a conducive environment for negotiations in Yemen?
  • What leverage do international networks of influence have on negotiations?
  • How can you build trust with communities without physical access?
11.00 - 11.30

Coffee Break

11.30 - 12.00

Thematic Presentation 4
Income Generation and Value Chain as Framework for the Design of International Humanitarian Response in Protracted Conflict

Speakers

François Audet

Professor at the University of Québec in Montréal

Thematic Presentation 5
Presentation on the Activities of Conflict Dynamics International

12.00 - 13.00

Review of CCHN Activities and Presentation of the CCHN Field Manual

13.00 - 14.00

Lunch

14.00 - 14.30

Thematic Presentation 6
Examining the Constraints and Consequences of Long-Term Aid in Afghanistan

Background

Background

This discussion will reflect on the political and security environment in Afghanistan, as well as on the significant types of violence identified which impact civilians. The session will also explore the influence and consequences that long-term international intervention and humanitarian assistance have had on the Afghan population. This work builds on literature reviews, desk research, and a field assessment, including interviews and consultations with a variety of stakeholders, in various regions of Afghanistan in July 2018.

14.30 - 15.00

Plenary Discussion on CCHN – Report of the Director

16.30-17.30

Working Group Meetings

17.30-19.30

Closing Remarks, Social Mixer & Cocktail Party