Despite being motivated by a common concern to help people in need, the humanitarian and development sectors worldwide do not respond to contemporary crises, such as state fragility, population displacement and civil war, in the same way.  Indeed, critics contend that their respective ways of operating and motivations leads to unnecessary competition between the two sectors to the detriment of the very people in need of assistance.

In essence, humanitarianism seeks to alleviate human suffering through emergency responses to natural disasters and conflicts, whereas development seeks to assist people by changing or reshaping societies, especially in relation to achieving poverty reduction.  However, what has been termed ‘the humanitarian-development divide’ is particularly inappropriate given the protracted nature of contemporary conflicts that stem in large part from societal discord and state fragility.

There is therefore a need to explore ways in which we can move beyond this divide in order to achieve more coordinated and effective policy responses to current challenges.  And this task is undertaken in the FPO policy briefing entitled – Tackling the humanitarian-development divide – which can be found by viewed or downloaded as a PDF publication by clicking on the front cover image below.