Disaster Diplomacy for Humanitarianism

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Number of paper presentations 4


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Disaster diplomacy http://www.disasterdiplomacy.org examines how and why humanitarian activities, such as disaster risk reduction and post-disaster action, do and do not influence peace and conflict processes. The circumstances typically involve reshaping and crossing boundaries, perhaps across internal or international borders as well as amongst disciplines and expertise to connect peace initiatives with disasters and humanitarianism. Using multiple case studies which vary locations, diplomacy forms, parties involved, hazards, and vulnerabilities, no evidence has been found thus far to suggest that humanitarian activities are a prominent factor in conflict resolution or creation. Instead, humanitarian-related activities often influence peace and conflict processes in the short-term provided that a non-humanitarian basis already exists for rapprochement or animosity. Over the long-term, non-humanitarian factors supersede, such as leadership changes, cultural and political preferences, and historical grievances. Overall, humanitarian endeavours tend to accelerate, catalyse, and influence peace and conflict at times, rather than creating new initiatives. This session solicits contributions to extend and to challenge the theoretical and empirical basis for disaster diplomacy's conclusions, especially within humanitarian contexts, to develop further boundary-crossing approaches for humanitarian diplomacy.

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Ilan Kelman