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Drawing a line : ethical and political strategies in complex emergency assistance

  • Education
  • Philosophy


nullABSTRACTnull ‘DRAWING A LINE’ - ETHICAL AND POLITICAL STRATEGIES IN COMPLEX EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE Des Gasper October 1999 Working Paper Series No. 302 The Institute of Social Studies is Europe's longest-established centre of higher education and research in development studies. Post-graduate teaching programmes range from six-week diploma courses to the PhD programme. Research at ISS is fundamental in the sense of laying a scientific basis for the formulation of appropriate development policies. The academic work of ISS is disseminated in the form of books, journal articles, teaching texts, monographs and working papers. The Working Paper series provides a forum for work in progress which seeks to elicit comments and generate discussion. The series includes the research of staff, PhD participants and visiting fellows, and outstanding research papers by graduate students. For further information contact: ORPAS - Institute of Social Studies - P.O. Box 29776 2502LT The Hague - The Netherlands - FAX: +31 70 4260799 E-mail: [email protected] ISSN 0921-0210 Comments are welcome and should be addressed to the author: ABSTRACT Faced with massive crises in the 1990s, such as in Rwanda-Zaire, aid agencies have had to make ethical and strategic choices of great magnitude. One approach seeks to compare goods and bads from agencies’ involvement, and to specify a 'bottom line' beneath which bads outweigh goods so that agencies should withdraw or change their involvement. In a second approach a line is drawn between (a) an agency's area of responsibility and (b) actions and consequences which are the responsibility of others--not a bottom line but a line dividing mine from thine. The paper probes and assesses those approaches, showing problems with both but especially with the second; qualifies them by reference to issues of motivation, feasibility and organisational level, and presents some complementary types of approach; and stresses finally that effec

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