The Impact of COVID-19 on Humanitarian Access

  • Project Status:
    UNU-CPR RESEARCHERS: Dr Rebecca Brubaker, Dr Adam Day, Sophie Huvé

    COVID-19 is having an unprecedented effect on humanitarian planning and operations. The pandemic has served as a “fragility multiplier” creating greater humanitarian needs and complicating issues around access and delivery. COVID-19’s impact is potentially felt across a range of areas, including in-country restrictions, movement into countries, violence against humanitarians, access of people in need of services, and militarized responses by some governments. However, given the swiftly developing situation and often poor in-country national data, insufficient information exists on the various ways COVID-19 may be affecting humanitarian access. Establishing a preliminary evidence base would bolster existing work by UN agencies and provide a crucial reference point to donors and policymakers as they seek to better support humanitarian endeavours through this time.

    The project will produce a report detailing the impact of COVID-19 in five cases: Myanmar, Yemen, Northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, and Colombia. Drawing from these cases, the report will examine a range of cross-cutting themes which may include: how COVID-19 impacts acceptance, humanitarian access and negotiations, restrictions of movement into and within countries, and the militarization of response by governments. The study will include a stakeholder analysis, examining how actors such as armed groups, local communities, and governments may be influencing humanitarian access.

    These activities will provide a better understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting the humanitarian space and thus, how the UN and donors can better support and protect humanitarian access through this period.

    This project was developed in consultation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ New York office, in order to complement their existing “Deep-Dive Analysis” of the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian activities in Iraq, Myanmar, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan and Venezuela