9 Mai 2019

Vienna Lecture

The Rise of the Resilience Paradigm in Humanitarian Action

Humanitarian aid has long been dominated by a classical, Dunantist paradigm that was based on the ethics of the humanitarian principles and centred on international humanitarian United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. While in previous decades alternative paradigms and humanitarianisms evolved, this classical paradigm remained the central narrative of humanitarianism. In recent years, however, this paradigm has been paralleled by a resilience paradigm that is focused on local people and institutions as the first responders to crises. Whereas classical humanitarianism is rooted in the notion of exceptionalism, resilience humanitarianism starts from the idea of crisis as the new normality. It also fits with the ambition of the humanitarian community to ‘localize’ aid. This lecture discusses the two paradigms and the incongruent images they evoke about crises, local institutions and the recipients of aid. It critically discusses the language of the new paradigm, evaluates the changes it brings and highlights some of the risk of the new set of practices that are emerging.

Prof Dorothea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction, Wageningen Univ President, International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA)

Andreas Papp, Humanitarian Practitioner, AG Globale Verantwortung

Elias Sagmeister, Ground Truth Solutions

Jan Pospisil, ASPR Vienna

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