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The challenges of humanitarian action in CAR

The Central African Republic is caught up in a new cycle of violence, particularly in rural areas. There have been more and more security incidents involving NGOs, and protecting the population has become more difficult. It is in this context that the Comité de Coopération des ONG decided to organize a discussion workshop on delivering humanitarian aid in CAR on 11 and 12 October in Bangui. The objective of the workshop was to analyse the challenges and constraints that affect the provision of assistance to vulnerable people, and to make operational recommendations for ways to overcome these difficulties. Groupe URD was part of the team that facilitated the workshop.

The workshop looked at the issues of access and security as well as the relations between international NGOs, the MINUSCA, national institutions and armed groups. The role of donors, and the wider international community, in relation to International Humanitarian Law, was reiterated, even though certain conflicts, such as those opposing farmers and herders, or different groups of herders, do not fall within the domain of IHL. The importance of having programmes and funding mechanisms that are flexible and agile was also underlined. It is essential to be able to mobilise funding rapidly and to take action over time in order to accompany complex crisis processes and help find a crisis resolution. Innovations like the Fonds Békou are therefore extremely useful. The workshop showed that NGOs in Bangui are capable of introspection: the words that stood out during the debates were “respect”, “knowledge”, “agility”, “negotiation”, “flexibility” and “dialogue”.