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As part of ongoing attempts to reform the global humanitarian system, policymakers are drawing attention to the social dimensions of aid delivery, especially to how the nature of relations between donors, host governments, and recipients shape the dynamics of humanitarian action. A substantial portion of such emerging discussion has focused on the issue of trust which many consider as an indispensable component of humanitarian relations. It is believed that humanitarian action is more permissible, effective, and lasting if interactions between host governments, beneficiary populations, and NGOs are based on trust. However, these discussions have left several major questions unanswered. What exactly trust is, why it is necessary for humanitarian action, and how it shapes and gets shaped by relations among the various actors are among key questions that need further probing from both conceptual and empirical standpoints.
In response to these gaps, this panel under the theme of Political Economy and Politics of Humanitarianism, invites papers that address one or more of the following questions:
1. What is trust, and how do NGOs, governments, and beneficiaries generate it in one another? In what ways does trust in NGOs and governments affect humanitarian operations?
2. What makes NGOs, donors, host governments, and beneficiaries trust or distrust one another? How do we know if trust is present in a humanitarian relationship and response?
3. In what ways does crisis response affect trust in governments and other responsible authorities?
4. Are certain actors or organisations more trustworthy than others? Why?
5. How do host governments understand trust, and how does this understanding shape their response to disasters and how they interact with NGOs and other humanitarian actors?
6. What is the role of trust in the process of localization especially in the relationship between international and local actors?
7. What causes trust to break down, and how can NGOs and governments repair broken trust?