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Conference "Challenge and innovation: civil-military relations in a changing world"

Civil-military relations in humanitarian response were increasingly in the spotlight in 2014. This is partially due to the collective humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines, and the current response to the Ebola epidemic unfolding in West Africa. In East Asia, the use of the military and other civil protection instruments is widespread and accepted by government and citizens alike in the face of natural disasters. In Africa and the Middle East, the discussions around civil-military relations in humanitarian response are more controversial, and often involve debates about the role of UN Peacekeeping Missions or foreign military interventions, as well as the upsurge in non-state armed actors. In addition, the need for applying innovation and taking good ideas to scale is something being driven forward by civilian agencies, military departments, academics and the private sector simultaneously, but not necessarily in a shared space.

The conference aims to serve as the platform or hub for Europe’s best civil-military thinkers, humanitarian practitioners and those working in crisis response more broadly. Using key questions, we will probe top speakers as to how to understand the complex humanitarian crises today, and how to best improve crisis response with concrete benefits for communities on the ground. Conclusions, debates and ways forward identified in each panel will be summarised in a conference note which will be widely shared and disseminated throughout the humanitarian, military, academic and governmental communities. The note will provide practical input and recommendations into the World Humanitarian Summit and the future UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Groupe URD participes in the Panel 3 on "Innovation in response". Do we have the right tools and analysis to understand emerging trends and threats? Do some innovations go too far or have unintended consequences?

More information on the agenda & the role of the NGO-Military Contact Group.