Self-Initiated Projects

WORK IN PROGRESS: Our research is primarily looking at the policy and strategic level: How can humanitarian action be made more effective? HERE-Geneva is in the process of conducting two self-initiated projects:

(1) COVID-19: Beyond the pandemic;
(2) Tools for Reality-grounded Action, Commitments, and Knowledge (TRACK)


The Role of ‘Mandates

2016 – 2020


The Role of ‘Mandates’ Study has sought to understand how different organisations set priorities and make strategic choices, and how these enable them to fulfil their goals in armed conflict. The study set out to investigate the commonalities and differences of so-called ‘single-’ and ‘dual-’ or ‘multi-mandate’ organisations with regard to their approaches and activities in protracted situations of conflict, assuming there might be complementarity among them.

The conclusions of the research radically question the way in which humanitarian action is defined and coordinated based on activities alone, and call for a recognition of the heterogeneity of humanitarian actors in conflict settings to inform considerations of coordination.



On The Right Track? Reasserting the Priorities of Humanitarian Action

May 2016


The first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) offered an opportunity to improve humanitarian action, build a stronger sector, forge better links between humanitarian response and development aid; and more crucially to address the political failures that generate and sustain so much crisis.

The Summit offered an equal risk for hollow commitments, for agreements and proposals that rally our hopes yet fail to confront the longstanding obstacles to their realisation.

The reflections in this paper are grounded in desk research, interviews with former high level humanitarian officials, and a set of expert working meetings. In a detailed analysis of the three priority areas of principles, protection, and accountability, two conditions have stood out as paramount for more effective humanitarian action.

First, respect for the law and previous policy commitments. Second, principled, accountable delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection. The primary target – ending and preventing crisis in the first place – is largely beyond the control of sole humanitarians. The secondary target, one manageable within the sector, is mounting a better response to it.

Feasibility Study for an HRI 2.0

October – December 2016


We engaged in a project to examine the feasibility of reviving the HRI. The Feasibility Study involved a desk-review and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, focused on three main areas of investigation, namely a review of the current humanitarian accountability environment; an analysis of the original strengths and weaknesses of the HRI; and suggestions for a future business model.

  • Final report
  • Annex 1 | Comparative overview of regulatory frameworks for humanitarian donorship
  • Annex 2: Signatories to the Grand Bargain, the GHD Principles, and the European Consensus
  • Annex 3: Evolution of the HRI 2007-2011
  • Annex 4: Comparative mapping of existing monitoring mechanisms
  • Annex 5: Current context review
  • Annex 6: Flowchart – HRI 2.0 objectives and options
  • Annex 7: Table of options – a comparison

Priorities and Commitments in Humanitarian Action |

2015 – 2016


In recent years, the humanitarian agenda has become extremely broad with the addition of many different priorities. As a result, there is confusion and misunderstanding on what humanitarian action encompasses and tries to achieve. In response to these issues, HERE-Geneva has over 2015 and in early 2016 engaged a project looking at humanitarian priorities. The focus has been on humanitarian action in armed conflict and the gaps in response found there.

The objective of this project was to provide purpose and direction to the increasingly broad agenda of humanitarian action, formulating key messages on the goal of humanitarian action, existing commitments under international law, and benchmarks for performance.

Addressing the Perennial Problems of Disaster Response

January – March 2015


Better cooperation between international and local actors, especially the government, can make responses to the humanitarian consequences of natural disasters more effective. This study looks at ways how the relationships and cooperation can be improved.

It presents a number of elements that are by no means new topics for discussion, but tries to shed light on them in a way that calls for more honest and frank dialogue among international actors, and especially between these actors and the governments of disaster-affected countries.