In February 2021, CCHN held a peer circle discussion on negotiating with criminal groups. This mix of African and Latin-American contexts provided an opportunity for community members from both regions to exchange lessons learned and good practices in conducting negotiations with counterparts labelled as ‘criminal’.
Humanitarian professionals are dedicated to assisting vulnerable people in high-risk environments. To do this, they often engage in high-stakes negotiations, during which they face personal, ethical and professional dilemmas. Living and working under such stressful conditions can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being, and many negotiators have expressed the need for self-care tools and peer support.
The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) started its workstream on forced migration in Europe in September 2020. We have made it a top priority to help humanitarians working with refugees and migrants in Greece to develop their negotiation skills. In September 2020, we held our first peer workshop in Europe – and the first during the COVID 19 pandemic – in Athens.
High-level diplomacy of humanitarian organizations often appears to be detached from the reality of negotiation in the field. This disconnect has been accentuated during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when integration between field and headquarters is more crucial than ever before. How can humanitarian diplomacy at headquarters remain aligned with negotiation experience and practice in the field?
Until recently, Libya was a middle-income country that did not need humanitarian aid. However, with a crumbling health system, minimal social services, and poor water and sanitation near coastal areas, it now faces a pandemic. This situation means that humanitarians have become essential actors responding to COVID-19 in Libya, but they are facing enormous challenges when providing assistance.
Impacted by the global pandemic of COVID-19, many humanitarians have switched to online training and self-development activities to prepare themselves in maintaining their programs under the current circumstances. To continue providing support for frontline negotiators and humanitarian staff in the Middle-East, CCHN has provided not only online but also hybrid events in a series of Summer Briefing Sessions on the Response to COVID-19.
CCHN Monthly Forums continue to provide a platform for discussion on negotiation in the context of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian responses is massive and varied in different regions and contexts. During the first CCHN Monthly Forum that took place on 15 April 2020, the CCHN brought together field practitioners, policymakers, experts and government representatives to discuss the latest developments affecting the international humanitarian response.
In February and March 2020, the CCHN organized two Peer Workshops and a Specialized Session in Spanish to strengthen the negotiation capabilities of humanitarian workers in Latin America. The first Taller de negociación humanitaria en terreno (Peer Workshop on Humanitarian Negotiations) was held in Cucuta, Colombia on 25-27 February 2020.
The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) has continued to facilitate humanitarians working in the Sahel and West Africa to be better negotiators. In 2019, the CCHN held two French-language Peer Workshops on Humanitarian Negotiation in Dakar and Kinshasa. Subsequently, on 2-4 March 2020 in Dakar, CCHN organized another French-language Peer Workshop.