The concept of humanitarian space has been subject to multiple interpretations, with definitions frequently tailored to individual mandates of humanitarian agencies or prioritising particular aspects of humanitarian activity or need. The most common understandings include:
- the physical access that international aid agencies and their partners have to populations in need;
- agencies’ ability to adhere to the core principles of humanitarian action;
- the nature of the ‘operating environment’ that they work in, particularly security conditions; and
- the ability of populations themselves to reach needed lifesaving assistance and protection.