Our Method

Through a series of in-depth interviews and informal professional exchanges with humanitarians form around the world, the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation has gathered a unique understanding of humanitarian negotiation practices.

In December 2018, it launched the first edition of the CCHN Field Manual on Frontline Humanitarian Negotiation. Drawing on the collective experience and perspective of hundreds of humanitarian practitioners, the Field Manual offers a set of concrete tools and methods to plan and prepare negotiations processes for the purpose of assisting and protecting populations affected by armed conflicts and other forms of violence. In November 2019, the CCHN updated the Manual with additional tools.

The negotiation model presented in the CCHN Field Manual is intended to assist humanitarian professionals and their team to plan and review negotiation processes in a systematic and critical manner.

The Manual further provides various exercises informed by field practice to test one’s knowledge and experience in addressing some of the recurring difficulties and constraints confronting humanitarian negotiators.

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Planning & Implementing a Negotiation Strategy

The CCHN Field Manual on Frontline Humanitarian Negotiation provides a step-by-step pathway to plan and implement a negotiation strategy based on a set of practical tools designed to:

– Analyze complex negotiation environments;
– Assess the position, interests, and motives of all the parties involved;
– Build networks and leverage influence;
– Define the terms of a negotiation mandate and clarify negotiation objectives;
– Set limits (red lines) to these negotiations;
– Identify specific objectives and design scenarios; and
– Enter transactions in an effective manner to ensure proper implementation.

The Naivasha Grid

The learning process in the CCHN Field Manual is organized around the template of the Naivasha Grid. The Naivasha Grid is the result of an iterative process which started with an informal meeting of 25 frontline negotiators of the ICRC in Naivasha, Kenya, in November 2014, during the course of which participants reflected on the common features of their negotiation practice.

While providing an analytical tool to observe and review humanitarian negotiation processes, the Naivasha Grid also serves as a map to plan the successive tasks, roles, and responsibilities between the frontline negotiator, his/her support team, and the mandator and organization responsible for framing the negotiation exercise in a given mandate.

While the Green Section of the Naivasha Grid focuses on the roles and tasks of the frontline negotiator, the Yellow and Orange Sections examine those of the negotiator’s support team and the mandator.