restricted access Humanitarian Action and the International Response to Crises:The Challenges of Integration
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Humanitarian Action and the International Response to Crises: The Challenges of Integration Arthur Dewey IN A STATEMENT at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell described Sergio de Mello as “a soldier in the cause of peace.” He was indeed, in all of his awesome humanitarian duties. He was also one of humanity’s great captains—and he joins that short list of eminent crisis managers and civil administrators . Each of these great captains had a technique that marked them and made them great. One of Sergio’s greatest legacies will be the “Sergio Technique”—in sum, a magnetism that brought all the parts together—especially the people parts at every level. The challenges of integration in responding to a complex humanitarian emergency were not lost on Sergio. As a former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a forever member of the UNHCR family, I had the honor and privilege to work with Sergio Vieira de Mello through much of the mid1980s . Now I am serving as the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration in the U.S. Department of State. Between these two assignments, my time with Sergio as a friend and colleague spanned well over 25 years. In a meeting with Sergio in Baghdad , only a short while before the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters there, I joined those who had urged him to stay on in the Iraq post. His last words to me were vintage Sergio. He said, “I can’t, Gene. Human Rights is my post, and I’ve got to get back.” cahill.qxp 10/1/2004 1:36 PM Page 71 The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. Department of State is multilateralist in humanitarian action—not because we are idealistic “UN-huggers.” We are multilateralist because it works. It works for financial burden sharing because UN consolidated appeals permit the U.S. taxpayer to bear only 25 percent of worldwide refugee program costs—as opposed to 85 to 100 percent if we were to act unilaterally . Multilateralism also works better for the victims of complex emergencies . This is possible because serious supporters of the UN, such as our part of the U.S. State Department, are literate, competent, and oriented toward making the most of the entirety of the multilateral humanitarian system. We do it behind the scenes. We do it with daily intensive engagement in Washington, at multilateral headquarters such as New York and Geneva, and wherever the UN is engaged in the field. By tying in to the tested competencies of the UN, the U.S. can accomplish its humanitarian objectives with a smaller investment than were we to go it alone; and we can do it with a major economy of resources. U.S. multilateralism not only ties into the burden sharing economies, and the operational competencies of the UN system, it also permits the integration and unity of effort that is made possible through the mutual reinforcement and interoperability of UN agencies. It is the values and self-interest benefits of multilateral action that drive and define the approach I take to integration and cohesion in humanitarian action. We have to look at integration in terms of what constitutes the total effort. The total effort should be seen as fundamentally a civil-military effort, but broken down into discrete political, security, humanitarian, and development components—plus human rights efforts as a vital part of the humanitarian component. The full range of players, operating under their competencies and mandates, are what constitute the total effort with respect to integration and cohesion. Thus I feel justified in making a strong case for integration and cohesion. From the practitioner’s standpoint, I believe there are six major principles necessary to achieve effective integration and cohesion. 1. Comprehensive Planning. Planning is second nature to military personnel . The military is very good at planning, and at changing plans and adjusting plans that are always out of date. And they have campaign plans. But what military personnel are not as good at, and that perhaps 72 HUMAN SECURITY FOR ALL cahill.qxp 10/1/2004 1:36 PM Page 72 no one is as good at, is comprehensive campaign planning. The State Department calls it political-military planning. Experienced humanitarians prefer to call it political-military-humanitarian planning. The value of comprehensive planning is that it provides a logical vehicle to include and to orchestrate all of...