Bolstering humanitarian action through research
As part of a discussion forum hosted by the Institut d’études internationales de Montreal (IEIM), IDRC President Jean Lebel offered closing remarks during a recent interview with the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer.
At the virtual event, Maurer was interviewed by Bernard Derome, president of IEIM, which is part of the Université du Québec à Montréal. The discussion focused on the humanitarian issues facing the ICRC in the current global context.
Noting that there were more than 600 non-state armed groups in some 40 active conflict situations, Maurer said that negotiating a consensus on humanitarian action between groups in such fragmented contexts is very complicated.
“But it’s clear that this idea of dialoguing with all those who control territory and populations — regardless of their political ideas and political and social vision — is a key idea,” said Maurer during the interview. “And I think combined with the possibility of assistance to the community, we have succeeded in opening a lot of [humanitarian] space that other actors have had difficulties reaching.”
In his remarks, Lebel praised the work of the ICRC in assisting populations affected by conflict and natural disasters. He highlighted some similarities between ICRC’s approaches and those of IDRC, such as maintaining dialogue with local actors. “Saving lives is ultimately the goal we are all aiming for,” Lebel said.
He underscored the important role that research can play in improving humanitarian aid, citing as an example IDRC-supported research on reconstruction of earthquake-resilient housing in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck central Nepal in 2015. “It’s so simple but so important to prevent a future crisis,” he said.