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UN Civil-Military Coordination, Discussion Paper on Humanitarian Interaction with National Militaries, 2017

Published Date

The humanitarian community’s engagement with governments will almost always include interaction with national militaries. The level and degree of interaction will largely be dependent on the type of mission the military performs. In most natural hazard-prone countries, national militaries act as the primary arm of the government, tasked to immediately respond to the humanitarian impact of natural disasters. National militaries offer distinct capability, can rapidly mobilize and deploy, and fill capacity gaps as needed. Generally, professional armed forces have genuine concern in helping their fellow citizens affected by natural disasters. They will be there and will do something about the situation. Given this reality, humanitarian actors are expected to interact with them in these types of scenarios where there are no or very few sensitive issues.

In conflict-induced humanitarian emergencies where national militaries are involved in the conflict as a belligerent force, the interaction with national militaries is almost exclusively delimited to preserving and protecting the humanitarian operating environment, protection of civilians and ensuring access.