Bridging the Emergency Gap: Reflections and a Call for Action after a Two-Year Exploration of Emergency Response in Acute Conflicts

de Castellarnau, M. & Stoianova, V.
Publication language
Date published
01 Apr 2018
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Principles & ethics, System-wide performance

The humanitarian sector, as a whole, is failing to mount timely and adequate responses in the acute phase of conflict-related emergencies. The sector is increasingly professionalised and well-funded, and can detect more crises and reach more people in more places than ever before. However, more resources have not been matched by improved performance, according to findings from the Emergency Gap Project, a two-year examination of the challenges to effective emergency response in conflicts.

Evidence from the Project reinforces calls by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) for renewed commitment to remain on the ground to address critical needs and deliver responses at scale —even in the most difficult environments— guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

Driven by evidence of persistent challenges to effective response in acute conflicts for all actors, including MSF, the Project has unpacked the factors that enable or disable the humanitarian sector’s emergency response. Project consultations with senior actors across the humanitarian sector have revealed a general consensus that the humanitarian systems is struggling to deliver lifesaving assistance to those in need.