In her newly published article Humanitarian aid and host state capacity: the challenges of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia in Third World Quarterly, Julieta Lemaitre (Universidad de Los Andes) investigates how humanitarian actors can operate within a host state with significant subnational variations in willingness and capacity to meet obligations. This is an issue of pressing importance, given the expansion of humanitarian aid to middle-income countries with growing state capacity, but with persistent infrastructural weakness in their periphery. Lemaitre’s article illustrates the challenges and potentialities of engaging these states through the case study of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Colombia. It describes the way the NRC has located its offices in peripheral areas, and how its activities have fostered the rule of law, successfully using rights-based approaches to strengthen subnational state institutions, activate and mobilize citizen demands and bridge national and subnational administrations. She concludes that these activities, operated by officers with extensive practical knowledge and local trust networks, can open the way for durable solutions for humanitarian crisis, but can also provoke backlash from subnational actors.
You can access the article here.