German Institute for Development Evaluation


Building Bridges Between International Humanitarian and Development Responses to Forced Migration

DEval and the Swedish Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) have jointly published a structured literature review titled „Building Bridges between International Humanitarian and Development Responses to Forced Migration“. This review forms part of DEval‘s ongoing evaluation “Effectiveness of German Development Cooperation in Dealing with Conflict-induced migration crises". The study explores how international humanitarian and development responses to forced migration crises can be linked effectively.

In a first step, the authors analyze how different concepts of the humanitarian-development nexus characterize the humanitarian-development gap and filter out recommendations on how to overcome this gap. The analysis reveals that the gap is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that consists of different sub-gaps. The literature review organizes these sub-gaps, and the respective recommendations on how to bridge them, into an analytical framework for the systematic analysis of conflict induced migration crises from a perspective of effectively linking humanitarian aid and development cooperation.

In a second step, the authors apply this framework to analyze evaluations and evaluative studies on the international response to the Syria crisis. This analysis reveals to what extent (and why or why not) the conceptual recommendations have been translated into action.

The findings suggest that in the early years of the Syria crisis – when the focus laid on humanitarian aid – effective linkages between humanitarian assistance and development cooperation were partially established. However, effective coordination and the well-planned integration of humanitarian and development programmes remains a major challenge for both, policy makers and policy implementers. In addition, the overall limited funds of humanitarian assistance still outweigh those of development cooperation. Particularly, long-term programmes to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable groups affected by the conflict suffer from the scarcity of funds. Finally, an important evaluation and knowledge gap remains as existing hypotheses or anecdotal evidence for a better integration of humanitarian assistance and structural development cooperation have hardly been examined systematically. For example, there has so far been no study examining systematically whether joint international strategies that align the humanitarian-development response to the Syria crisis actually contribute to reducing the vulnerability of refugees.