Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience

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9781849041638: Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience
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From international NGOs to UN agencies, from donors to observers of humanitarianism, opinion is unanimous: in a context of the alleged "clash of civilizations", our "humanitarian space" is shrinking. Put another way, the freedom of action and of speech of humanitarians is being eroded due to the radicalisation of conflicts and the reaffirmation of state sovereignty over aid actors and policies.

The purpose of this book is to challenge this assumption through an analysis of the events that have marked MSF's history since 2003 (when MSF published its first general work on humanitarian action and its relationships with governments). It addresses the evolution of humanitarian goals, the resistance to these goals and the political arrangements that overcame this resistance (or that failed to do so). The contributors seek to analyse the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of "humanitarian principles". They focus on one key question: what is an acceptable compromise for MSF?

This book seeks to puncture a number of the myths that have grown up over the forty years since MSF was founded and describes in detail how the ideals of humanitarian principles and "humanitarian space" operating in conflict zones are in reality illusory. How, in fact, it is the grubby negotiations with varying parties, each of whom have their own vested interests, that may allow organisations such as MSF to operate in a given crisis situation - or not.

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About the Author:


Claire Magone spent several years working with Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger) and MSF, and went on to coordinate Sidaction's international programmes.

Michael Neuman joined MSF in 1999. His work focuses on political analysis and issues of immigration and geopolitics.

Fabrice Weissman, research director of the MSF Foundation, is the author of many works on humanitarian aid and the political economy of conflict.

Review:


"For many commentators, the 'golden age' of humanitarian intervention is over. The War on Terror and the rise of strong states in the global South has reduced the room for manoeuvre for humanitarian agencies. Western governments are once again constructing value-blind international alliances as a cornerstone of their own national security. Drawing on its own history and recent experiences, in this important and timely book MSF unflinchingly surveys this new operational terrain. The result is highly readable and challenging appraisal of what it means to be a humanitarian actor in today's rebalancing world. With a refreshing honesty, it explores the thin line that humanitarian agencies tread between saving lives and supporting oppressors. This brave and informative book reconfirms MSF as an organisation that thinks as well as acts."--Mark Duffield, Professor of Development Politics and Director, Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol


"These stories and reflections illustrate the tragic humanitarian paradox: to act morally, one can't always be principled. Neutrality and impartiality disappear into the pantheon of defunct ideals, as MSF defends a robust opportunism in the best sense of the word: reality-based situational ethics."--Dirk Salomons, director of the Program for Humanitarian Affairs at the School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University


"This is a book about realism: the art of doing what's possible in impossible situations, and preserving reputation and skills to provide relief in the next crisis, in the next country. Through seven case studies and an insightful history of modern humanitarian action, this collection of essays represents a maturing of MSF's view of the world. Gone is the fundamentalist rant of 'our principles at any price' and in its place is a more nuanced pragmatic approach which keeps its eye firmly on the goal of alleviating suffering but understands the need to compromise and invent, choosing the best possible path to reach the goal."--Dr. Peter Walker, Director, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University


"Thank goodness for MSF. Where else would we find such candour and self-criticism? Laid out here are unblinking accounts of the dilemmas facing the humanitarian agencies in a chaotic world, and clear-eyed appraisals of how MSF tries, and sometimes fails, to respond with its principles intact. Let's hope the other relief agencies are paying attention."--Peter Gill, Journalist and author of Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia since Live Aid


"This is a very valuable book. It shows one of the world's greatest humanitarian organisations thinking aloud about the difficult choices it faces as it struggles to save and protect human life. The tone of Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed is exceptional for its frank and public self-scrutiny. In this respect it breaks new ground and reveals a truly reflective humanitarian movement that is not afraid to learn in public....the insights into humanitarian history it offers, will make the book an important reference text in humanitarian studies, international relations and organisational theory. And, of course, it will fascinate those who continue to be intrigued by the particular aura and mystique of MSF."-- Hugo Slim, Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford, and author of Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War


'This book challenges the perception that humanitarian organisations cannot speak or act freely and that their influence is on the wane.' -- Law Society Journal


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9780231703154: Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience (Columbia/Hurst)

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Book Description C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From international NGOs to UN agencies, from donors to observers of humanitarianism, opinion is unanimous: in a context of the alleged clash of civilizations , our humanitarian space is shrinking. Put in another way, the freedom of action and of speech of humanitarians is being eroded due to the radicalization of conflicts and to the reaffirmation of state sovereignty over aid actors and policies. The purpose of this book is to challenge this assumption through the analysis of the events that have marked MSF s history since 2003 (when MSF published its first general work on humanitarian action and its relationships with governments). It addresses the evolution of humanitarian goals, the resistance to these goals and the political arrangements that overcame this resistance (or that failed to do so). The contributors seek to analyze the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of humanitarian principles . They focus on one key question: what is an acceptable compromise for MSF. This book seeks to puncture a number of the myths that have grown up over the last forty years since MSF was founded and describes in detail how the ideals of humanitarian principles and humanitarian space to operate in conflict zones are in reality illusory. How in fact it is the grubby negotiations with varying parties, each of whom have their own vested interests, that may allow organisations such as MSF to operate in a given crisis situation -- or not. Seller Inventory # AAZ9781849041638

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