Foreign policy and humanitarian action: an agenda for inquiry

Working and discussion papers
November 2016
Sherine El Taraboulsi, Victoria Metcalfe and Barnaby Willitts-King

The relationship between a state’s foreign policy and its role in humanitarian action is getting increasingly complex, particularly in relation to the changes in global and regional order and evolving threats to global, regional and national security.

We can see this conflict plays out, for example, in the tensions between states’ commitments to international humanitarian law and the pursuit of national security and economic objectives.

This working paper outlines the state of current knowledge in this field and highlights key research gaps. It then sets out a series of research themes on understanding the connections between humanitarian action and foreign policy, the challenges posed and the opportunities offered to enhance global humanitarian action.