16. The Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) – Towards Principled Humanitarian Funding


Learning outcome

Upon completion of this exercise, students should be able to discuss the basic tenets of what principled humanitarian donorship entails.


Please visit the link below, read the paper in question and answer the following questions.


The Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) was established in 1994 to provide an independent forum for policy-makers, practitioners and others working in or on the humanitarian sector to share and disseminate information, analysis and experience, and to learn from it. The only network of its kind, HPN plays a key role in examining policy developments and distilling practice. It is fast in capturing major new initiatives and good practice from a wide range of players, and documenting and disseminating this information to field staff and policy-makers. HPN’s aim is to improve the performance of humanitarian action by contributing to individual and institutional learning.

HPN’s institutional location is the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an independent think tank on humanitarian and development policy. HPN’s publications are researched and written by a wide range of individuals and organisations, and are published by HPN in order to encourage and facilitate knowledge-sharing within the sector.

The paper concerning this particular exercise is entitled ‘Towards Principled Humanitarian Funding’ and is available here.

Take quiz

Question 11 pts

At the paper’s outset, Bayne and Buckley state that humanitarian aid is “regularly perceived as tied to political and military objectives”. They proceed to present a country example of relief activities often being concentrated in areas of strategic importance. Which country do they refer to in this regard?

Question 21 pts

Bayne and Buckley categorise humanitarian funding as being allocated in three main ways; contributions to international and multilateral organisations and the CERF (often un-earmarked), country allocations for protracted crises, and finally, through reserve funds for sudden onset crises. Which of the above three funding methods do Bayne and Buckley label as one which “insulates decision-making from the political preferences of donors?”

Question 31 pts

Bayne and Buckley refer to a policy framework which donors of humanitarian funds may sign up to with the aim of countering the potential for infringement, by military and security actors, on principled humanitarian action. Which mechanism do they refer to in this regard?

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