Forgotten Conflicts: Need versus Political Priority in the Allocation of Humanitarian Aid across Conflict Areas.

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    • Abstract:
      Despite a principled commitment to assist people in need equally, the allocation of humanitarian assistance across conflict and post-conflict states shows remarkable variation that is not easily explained by differences in the level of recipient-need. This paper attempts to explain these “forgotten conflicts“ by analyzing the determinants of humanitarian aid to civil war and post-civil war states. Using cross-national panel data on humanitarian aid provisions, I show that the most important determinants of international humanitarian assistance are not always demand-side factors measuring humanitarian need – as the principals of humanitarian action would dictate – but often strategic factors that reflect donors’ political interests in providing humanitarian assistance. Although humanitarian aid to ongoing civil wars appears to be substantially more humanitarian than strategic in its allocation, humanitarian aid provided to post-conflict states in the aftermath of civil war tends to go to conflicts where donors perceive important strategic and political interests. These results suggest that one important explanation for why some conflicts are essentially ignored or gradually neglected over time is that strategic interests of donors can dominate humanitarian concerns over time. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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