Protection of civilians and the future of urban warfare

What do current trends in armed conflict and military technology mean for the future of urban warfare? This was just one of the many important issues discussed at a recent virtual roundtable on the future of the protection of civilians in urban warfare, hosted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in association with the Norwegian Red Cross (NorCross) and the NCHS.

In this fascinating and informative discussion, roundtable participants also explored issues such as the future prospects for International Humanitarian Law in settings of urban warfare, as well as implications for the regulation of uses of explosive weapons in populated areas as a means of protecting civilians.

Led by Kristoffer Lidén, Senior Researcher at PRIO, the roundtable features an opening interview with Hugo Slim (Oxford Institute For Ethics Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), University of Oxford). Comments and reflections are also provided by Wanda Muñoz (International Consultant on Victim Assistance), Radhya Al-Mutawakel (Mwatana Organisation For Human Rights), Abigail Watson (Saferworld), and Nicholas Marsh (PRIO).

You can now view a recording of the full roundtable discussion below. The discussion is also featured in a bonus episode of PRIO’s Peace in a Pod podcast and is available here.

You can view the original PRIO event here.

New Humanitarian Diplomacy podcast launched

A new podcast exploring the emerging concept of humanitarian diplomacy has just launched.

Hosted by Doctoral Researcher Salla Turunen (Chr. Michelsen Institute), this first episode explores the topic of humanitarian ethics with philosopher and Senior Researcher, Kristoffer Lidén (Peace Research Institute Oslo).

This episode delves into questions such as can humanitarian principles be implemented in a non-ideal world? How do practitioners navigate humanitarian ideals and operational realities on the ground? And what kind of issues humanitarian diplomacy raises in terms of ethics? Tune in to find out more!

This podcast is a part of the Chr. Michelsen Institute’s research project ‘Humanitarian Diplomacy: Assessing Policies, Practices and Impact of New Forms of Humanitarian Action and Foreign Policy’, funded by the Research Council of Norway. 

Available on Spotify

Available on Anchor

New NCHS Coordinator in place

We are pleased to introduce our new Coordinator, Emily Hume, who took over the role from Andrea Silkoset in February this year. We would like to thank Andrea for all her hard work as Coordinator over the past two years.

Originally from Australia, Emily has a background in law, social policy and education and brings a passion for humanitarianism. “My interest in humanitarian issues was sparked as a law student, when I volunteered at an immigration detention centre providing English language and other programs for refugees and asylum seekers”, Emily said.

Prior to moving to Norway last year, Emily worked with the Australian Red Cross assisting temporary migrants in Australia to access financial and other support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Emily also has eight years’ experience working with the Australian Government Department of Social Services, developing social policy in the areas of child safety, family support and social security.

Over the last four years, Emily has spent time living, working and volunteering in Indonesia on the islands of Bali and Sulawesi, where she gained valuable insights into some of the humanitarian challenges facing Indonesia.

As the new Coordinator, Emily will work alongside new Director, Antonio De Lauri at CMI to continue the work of the NCHS in promoting research and exchanges on humanitarian issues. Please reach out to Emily with any queries or suggestions you may have. She can be reached at emily.hume@cmi.no.

Protection of Civilians – Norway in the Security Council

The protection of civilians has long been a key concern for Norway. Now as Norway takes its seat at the UN Security Council for 2021-2022, the protection of civilians is one of the priority areas for the country during its term.

This latest report, published by CMI and edited by NCHS director, Antonio De Lauri, highlights some of the key challenges and opportunities for Norway as a member of the Security Council, particularly in relation to the issue of protection of civilians.

With contributions from PRIO, NUPI and CMI researchers, this report summarizes a policy seminar held by the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies in December 2020.

To read the full report please click here.

Webinar on 16 February examining refugee flows and clashes over land at the Sudan-Ethiopia frontier

We encourage you to join the upcoming breakfast forum webinar “Tension on the Border: Refugee flows and clashes over land at the Sudan-Ethiopia frontier” on Tuesday 16 February 2021 at 08:30–09:30 (UTC +1). The webinar is jointly hosted by Bergen Global and Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Since early November 2020, communities in Eastern Sudan bordering Ethiopia have received up to 60.000 refugees fleeing from the ongoing conflict in Tigray in northern Ethiopia. In the aftermath of the first surge of refugees, military clashes over the control of land in the border areas have also taken place. This has led to a tense situation between the two countries, who have for a long time been considered good neighbours.

This seminar will focus on the local dynamics on the border. Exploring the situation in the border state of Gedarif, this seminar will look into how both people in the community and the local governments on the Sudanese side are handling the influx of refugees and the clashes on land. While delving into how the recent conflicts have influenced daily life in Gedaref, we will also discuss possible wider regional impacts.

Join the webinar over zoom.

Lovise Aalen, senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute, has researched Ethiopian politics for the last two decades. She has focused on the implementation of ethnic federalism on the ground in Southern Ethiopia, the EPRDF’s ideas of revolutionary democracy and the developmental state, regime-youth interactions, and female political participation in authoritarian contexts.

Gunnar Sørbøresearcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute, has researched Sudan for a long time. He has focused on development policy and planning; conflict and peacebuilding; social impact assessment; agricultural and pastoral systems; and regional analysis and economic adaptations.

Adam Babekir, administrative researcher at Academic Affairs. He is working at the University of Gedarif in Sudan and has focused on researches dealing with the border issues.

Antonio De Lauri takes over as NCHS Director

The Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS)  has been a joint collaboration between CMI, NUPI and PRIO since its establishment in 2012. The leadership and administration of NCHS rotates between the institutes, and after having been led from PRIO since 2012, it is now going to CMI for the next four-year period. 

Antonio De Lauri  (Research Professor at CMI) becomes the NCHS Director in the period 2021-2024 and Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert (PRIO) will be the NCHS Co-Director in the same period, alongside Stein Sundstøl Eriksen  (NUPI) continuing in his role as Co-Director. Emily Hume (CMI) will take over from Andrea Silkoset (PRIO) as NCHS coordinator.

Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert has been Director of NCHS since 2016, then taking over from Kristin Bergtora Sandvik who led the Centre from its foundation in 2012. The NCHS was in the first period funded through a Research Council of Norway project, “Protection of Civilians: From Principle to Practice” (2012-2016). New funding was secured for the period 2019-2022 with network funding from the NORGLOBAL program of the RCN, leading to the establishment of the “NCHS: Research Network on Humanitarian Efforts”, led by Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert. Maria continues as project leader for this network in the coming period.

New ERC grant awarded to Antonio De Lauri

NCHS Co-Director Antonio De Lauri has been awarded the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant for his project War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience.

While several of the projects De Lauri is currently working on relate to aspects of humanitarian studies, this project will stengthen our understanding on the deep and long-term effects of war on soldiers and veterans. The project has a duration of five years, and will bring three new post docs and one new PhD student to the project team based at CMI.

You can read more about De Lauri’s new project at CMIs webpages by clicking this link.

AidAccount project to set up Humanitarian Lab

The AidAccount project, which studies accountability in civic and professional humanitarian aid, has officially started with a virtual 3-day kick-off meeting that involved participants in Norway, the UK, Uganda, Somaliland and Sri Lanka. During the kick-off, NCHS director Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert joined the team to inform about NCHS and opportunities for synergies with the project.

Besides discussing the practical and academic details of the project – through a presentation of a literature review and working group discussions on the three case studies – the AidAccount team spent a day discussing the set up of its Humanitarian Lab. The AidAccount Humanitarian Lab aims to support knowledge-based policy decisions and cultivate relationships between researchers, humanitarians, policy makers, donors and aid recipients that will lead to sustained interactions and collaborative learning. Through co-creating knowledge approaches and interactions with key stakeholders, the lab explores new ways to promote research relevance.

The lab functions as a methodological tool as well as a tool for dissemination and impact. It was set up to provide a regular meeting space in key locations for the study (including Oslo, Kampala in Uganda, Burao in Somaliland, and Jaffna in Sri Lanka) and the team will also experiment with creating a virtual space between differently located stakeholders. The official start-up of the lab is in summer 2021, but we encourage those interested in learning more or taking part, to contact project leader: Cindy Horst.

Vacancy: Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies Coordinator

We are looking for a Coordinator for the NCHS in a 50% position from 1 February 2021 – 31 December 2022. The position will be based at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway. The application deadline is 27 November 2020.

NCHS forms a platform for exchange among researchers and establishes stronger and more tailored mechanisms for mutual exchanges with policy makers and practitioners, as well as the broader public, thus improving the quality of research and practice in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, the NCHS runs a network connecting relevant ongoing research on humanitarian efforts, in Norway and internationally.

For more information and details on how to apply, follow this link.

Tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Help with the day-to-day running of the centre activities
  • Serve as the contact person of the NCHS network
  • Manage the NCHS’ webpage, blog, mailing list, Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Plan and organize conferences, workshops, seminars, and network meetings
  • Represent the NCHS at external meetings and take notes from such meetings
  • Participate in meetings and activities of NCHS
  • Develop connections with relevant stakeholders (e.g. MFA, humanitarian organizations, etc.)
  • Perform other tasks as agreed with the NCHS Director

We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • A Bachelor or a Master degree in the social sciences or humanities, or other relevant fields, preferably on a topic relevant to the NCHS
  • Some relevant work experiences
  • ICT skills
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently, as well as being a team player
  • Fluency in English. Good knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is preferred
  • Excellent writing skills

Afghanistan Week 2020: Digital events 16-19 November

What goes on behind closed doors in Doha, where representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government gather to negotiate the end of more than 40 years of war? Will Afghanistan’s powerful warlords support, sabotage or co-opt a negotiated settlement? How might the Taliban seek to Islamicize Afghanistan’s constitution and legal framework, and what would be the consequences for women and human rights? How much space is left for free speech and political activism in Afghanistan? And can any peace deal be sustainable without broader involvement of the Afghan population?

These are amongst the themes that will be explored during the 2020 Afghanistan Week, which takes place between the 16th and 20th of November.

The Afghanistan Week is a bi-annual event where politicians, journalists, academics, and activists from Afghanistan, Norway and beyond come together to address key issues facing the country, as well as to stimulate debate and understanding about Afghanistan in Norway. This year, the Afghanistan Week will be in a digital format and thus accessible to a global audience.

The Week is organized by the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC), the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD), with support from Norad, Fritt Ord and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS).

For more information about the program, go to the homepage of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee, and press the attending buttons on their Facebook page.