The element that characterizes a humanitarian act is the respect of the fundamental humanitarian principles. For this reason, humanitarian principles are constitutive of humanitarianism and in essence defining what it is. The classic paradigm of humanitarianism is based on the basic principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, meant to ensure that humanitarian aid is purely needs-based: decisions to help must not be driven by political motives or by discrimination of any kind. The first three principles (humanity, neutrality and partiality) are endorsed in General Assembly resolution 46/182, which was adopted in 1991.
Afterwards, General Assembly resolution 58/114 (2004) added independence as a fourth key principle underlying humanitarian action. Observing these principles allows humanitarian actors to fulfil their core priority: providing immediate relief and protection in emergency situations. However, humanitarianism does not end with the termination of the emergency; just because lives are no longer at immediate risk does not mean that suffering has ended or that other destructive forces that might appear in the future have been removed.
For this reason, a joint collaboration between humanitarian efforts and development actors appears to be increasingly essential.
Achieving a coherent and compatible relationship between them means providing a more structural and working response to the communities in need, both in a short-term and long-term approach. This essay will examine the relationship between humanitarian action and development sector, considering how this cooperation is possible without compromising humanitarian principles. Finally, in order to increase mutual accountability between humanitarian aids and development sector, the concept of resilience appears to be vital: an approach that focuses on strengthening the resilience of communities and households can increase the impact and cost effectiveness of humanitarian and development assistance.
The world is facing unprecedented crises: the frequency and intensity of disasters and numbers of people worldwide affected by them continue to grow. In this context, humanitarian actors are called to action. However, also the structure of these disasters is changing: it is more and more evident that crises are not anymore only emergency situations, but many of them are also becoming chronic.
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