Camp for Syrian refugees in North Iraq.
Photo: Alexander Kocks

03.04.2019

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How to bridge the humanitarian-development gap is a recurring question for actors operating in crises around the world. Based on a recently published literature review by the German Institute for Development Evaluation and the Swedish Expert Group for Aid Studies, this article highlights strategic aspects of the humanitarian-development gap exemplified by the Syria crisis.

The 2016 United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul/Turkey, reached an agreement to better link humanitarian assistance and development co-operation. However, this agreement leaves open the question how that can best be done in practice.

In this context, the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) and the Swedish Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) have jointly published a structured literature review on the humanitarian-development nexus in order to explore effective linkages of international humanitarian and development responses to forced migration crises.

The study analyses how different concepts of the nexus debate (for an overview of these concepts, see Table on page 36) characterise the humanitarian-development gap and filters out recommendations on how to overcome this gap. The analysis reveals that the gap is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that consists of seven different sub-gaps: vision and strategy gap, planning gap, funding gap, institutional gap, ownership gap, geographic gap, and sequencing gap.

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