2018 War, security and conflict

Building Bridges Between International Humanitarian and Development Responses to Forced Migration

Alexander Kocks, Hanne Roggeman, Helge Roxin, Ruben Wedel

In the EBA report Building Bridges Between International Humanitarian and Development Responses to Forced Migration, researchers from the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) review studies of aid responses in Syria and reflect on linkages between humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.

How to improve the linkages between emergency assistance and more long-term aid is a recurring question for actors operating in crisis situations around the world. In a new EBA study in cooperation with the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), researchers develop a framework illustrating the challenges associated with linking humanitarian and development assistance.

The framework highlights how differing guiding principles and operational structures create a gap between humanitarian assistance and long-term development cooperation. These activities have different objectives, for example, and work within different time frames.

The researchers apply the framework to aid targeting those forced to flee the conflict in Syria. This is presented in the form of a literature review. They find that, although there are examples of relatively good institutional link-ages on strategy and planning, the two types of actors still struggle to work together due to differing working cultures and mistrust.

In addition, the report notes that the donor community has been relatively good at finding local partners, but that insufficient account is taken of their wishes and needs. There is also a major problem with a lack of organisational cohesion, with projects divided up and spread out geographically.




Developing a theory of change for linkages. This should also take systematic account of empirical findings.


Producing case studies for more countries, so as to develop more general findings on the humanitarian-development linkage.


Complementing this report with evaluations that clearly focus on the outcomes of different forms of linkage. This requires empirical, outcome-focused studies.


Alexander Kocks is an evaluator at DEval

Helge Roxin is senior evaluator and team leader at DEval.

Hanne Roggemann is an evaluator at DEval.

Ruben Wedel is an evaluator at DEval.