Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
HNPW 2024 (29 April - 10 May 2024)

Session title: Are neutrality, localisation and acceptance still inextricably linked in security?
Organizer(s): GISF
9 May 24 14:00-15:30   (Salle 9)

Adhering to the principle of neutrality is crucial for the safety of humanitarian workers and operations. However, in highly fragmented and politicised environments, maintaining neutrality is becoming increasingly difficult, which can undermine local acceptance and limit access to vulnerable communities. In turn, local actors, increasingly involved in the implementation of humanitarian efforts through the localisation of aid, are playing a pivotal role in navigating these difficult dynamics.

But how should neutrality be applied to them? How does the interplay of localisation and neutrality impact the selection and management of partnerships between INGOs and local actors? How does this impact security and humanitarian access? This session will unpack the challenges in conceptualizing and operationalizing the principle of neutrality, looking at how its role in acceptance-based strategies has evolved over time, and explore its interaction with the localisation of aid. It will also offer some practical recommendations that will help practitioners navigate these challenges.

This session builds off an upcoming report exploring this intersection, ‘Neutrality, Access, and Making Localization Work.’ The report will be published by the Global Interagency Security Forum in March 2024.


  • Anaide Nahikian, Senior researcher affiliated with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Emmanuel Tronc, Senior researcher affiliated with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Head of Outreach & Engagement at H2H Network

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