CANBERRA — For humanitarian actors and frontline negotiators, navigating the minefield of politics to maintain neutrality is a confusing but all-too-common challenge.
In a high-level panel hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation in Geneva on Dec. 5, Médecins Sans Frontières, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme and the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura discussed with 120 of the best humanitarian frontline negotiators this challenge and new approaches to maintaining impartiality while leveraging the better elements of political methodologies.
Following the panel, Devex spoke to ICRC President Peter Maurer to dig deeper into the issues, and understand how the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation improves approaches and practices. Here is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
Can you discuss the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation and this panel discussion — why is it important to have this discussion and what are the key issue humanitarian negotiators face?