The good work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in recent conflicts in such countries as Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia is well known—providing food, shelter, medicine, and a host of other materials and services under extremely difficult conditions. But does humanitarian assistance in some cases actually exacerbate conflict?

The good work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in recent conflicts in such countries as Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia is well known—providing food, shelter, medicine, and a host of other materials and services under extremely difficult conditions. But does humanitarian assistance in some cases actually exacerbate conflict? And if so, what can NGOs and the international community do to eliminate or mitigate such effects? At the request of several concerned NGOs, the United States Institute of Peace organized a symposium on this issue, "Humanitarian Assistance and Conflict in Africa," in October 1995. This report summarizes the discussions and conclusions of the symposium.

David R. Smock is director of the Grant Program and coordinator of the Institute's activities on Africa. Smock was a staff member if the Ford Foundation in 1964–80, serving Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Lebanon, as well as in New York.

Related Publications

Why the U.S. Needs a Special Envoy for the Red Sea

Why the U.S. Needs a Special Envoy for the Red Sea

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

By: Payton Knopf

The Trump administration has appointed four special envoys to coordinate U.S. policy toward key hot spots: Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Afghanistan. Yet in the Red Sea—one of the most volatile and lethal regions of the world afflicted by several interconnected conflicts and rivalries that pose significant challenges to American interests—U.S. policy has been rudderless in large part due to the absence of a similar post.

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications