About Humanitarian Policy Group

Our work is directed by our Intergrated Programme, a body of research designed in consultation with our Advisory Group.
Oxfam's water and sanitation committee, Jamam refugee camp (Flickr: John Ferguson/Oxfam)

Our Integrated Programme

Our work is directed by our Integrated Programme (IP), a body of research examining critical issues facing humanitarian policy and practice, designed in consultation with our Advisory Group. This is complemented by commissioned studies, evaluations and communications and networking activity. 

Grounded in field research spanning a range of countries and emergencies, IP projects allow us to cast a critical eye over the pressing issues affecting humanitarian policy and practice and to influence key deabtes in the sector.

2017-19 Integrated Programme 'From the ground up: understanding local response in crises'.

Achieving a more local, devolved response to humanitarian crises has risen up the policy agenda in recent years as one possible answer to the problems besetting international humanitarian response. Proponents argue that a more local approach to assistance:

  • enhances flexibility and efficiency 
  • is more responsive to contexts and needs
  • involves local aid actors and communities much more meaningfully in decisions affecting humanitarian programming.

At the same time, however, there is little consensus around what a genuinely local response actually means, either in theory or in practice, and there are very few incentives to promote it within a system structurally and culturally inclined towards centralisation. This set of proposals for HPG’s Integrated Programme of research for 2017–19 critically analyses key aspects of this debate.

In this Integrated Programme, we adopt a more ground-level view of important issues within the humanitarian sector, while also drawing out their systemic and strategic implications.

2015-17 Integrated Programme 'A new global humanitarianism'

The humanitarian system as currently constituted is failing to meet the needs of people in conflict and disasters, and it is increasingly apparent that slow, piecemeal change is not sufficient; what is required is much more far-reaching, fundamental transformation of the international humanitarian system. The IP sets out to map areas of potential change in how the system works, how it reaches people and delivers aid and how it responds to the needs and wishes of individual recipients in crises and disasters.

Funders of the 15/17 IP:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), British Red Cross, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Care International, IKEA FoundationInternational Rescue Committee UK, Irish Aid, Mercy Corps, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Denmark, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Norway, Oxfam GB, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Vision International

Humanitarian Practice Network

Jowle camp for the displaced in Garowe, Somalia. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/Agata Grzybowska

The Humanitarian Practice Network is an independent forum for humanitarians to share and disseminate information, analysis and experience. It publishes specialist resources for practitioners and policy makers and facilitates debate through an engaging public events programme.

 

Commissioned studies and evaluations

Tesfay, 24, fled Eritrea in 2011 and now lives in the Adi Harush refugee camp in northern Ethiopia. Photo: Gabriel Pecot/ODI 2016

HPG has a strong record in conducting large-scale and complex evaluations. These provide a valuable 'point of entry' for our work, which is strongly rooted in field experience and an evaluation process informed by critical research evidence. We are interested in evaluations of strategic significance to the sector, where there are opportunities for learning and effecting change.

Publications, events and journals

HPG Head of Programme, Christina Bennett, presents the key recommendations of the 'Time to let go' report. Photo: ODI

HPG convenes public events to promote and disseminate our research findings, encourage debate amongst policymakers and practitioners and influence perceptions and understanding of humanitarian issues. We also edit and produce the Disasters journal; the leading peer-reviewed journal in disaster studies, and host an annual senior-level course on conflict and humanitarian response.