Abstract and Keywords
Humanitarian organizations are challenged today by shifting geopolitical and economic realities and changes spurred by forces of globalization. Emergency relief to respond to natural disasters and aid to civilians affected by conflict have dominated the work of a wide range of humanitarian organizations since World War II. Both systems and principles come under increasing scrutiny as needs increase and situations are complicated not only by protracted crises and financial constraints but also by mounting risks linked to changing climate and weak state governance. The 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, focused global attention on both current and emerging challenges for humanitarian principles and organization. This chapter situates humanitarian organizations briefly in their historical context, outlines the institutional framework, and highlights contemporary debates that turn around questions about whether the system is broken or simply broke.
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