Dr Esther Meininghaus
This research project explores under which conditions the HDP nexus approach can be implemented successfully. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ, 2021–2024). At its core, this project analyses how the HDP components—humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peacebuilding—impact upon and are impacted by local concepts of conflict, conflict resolution and peace to understand the opportunities and challenges of including “peace” in humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. It focuses on the experiences and perspectives of local communities and the existing instruments and activities of NGOs in approaching the HDP nexus in Iraq, South Sudan/the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali. In this research project, BICC partners with the International Rescue Committee, Malteser International and Welthungerhilfe.
The HDP nexus was introduced as a policy concept by the Global Humanitarian Summit of 2016 to better link humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peacebuilding in the work of aid organisations that are active in war and violent conflict situations. At the same time, concerns exist due to the different mandates of humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peacebuilding, especially with regard to a potential erosion of the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence. Therefore, in volatile situations of war and armed conflict, the question arises to what extent the interlinkages between these components and local concepts may enhance conflict or strengthen peacebuilding.
To address this question, this project takes into account that Global Northern concepts that often underpin policy implementation and assessment—such as conflict, conflict resolution or peace—can differ significantly from local concepts and approaches. The project argues that HDP nexus projects need to consider and strengthen local understandings and locally existing peace potentials to succeed. Methodologically, it will draw on 18 months of fieldwork to develop a better understanding of the opportunities and risks of the HDP approach from a local perspective.