New Report for Funders: Challenging the Closing Civil Society Space

February 1, 2016

In consortium with Ariadne (the European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights) and the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG), the European Foundation Centre (EFC) has published a report on Challenging the Closing Space for Civil Society, A Practical Starting Point for Funders. The report aims to provide grantmakers, private funders and other non-governmental organizations (NGO) key methods to counteract the growing threats to civil society, including counterterrorism laws and policies.

Good Governance Can Move Iraq Towards Peace

January 21, 2016

An absence of inclusive, responsive and accountable governance was a major factor in the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to research by the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps.

In its new report, Investing in Iraq’s Peace: How Good Governance Can Diminish Support for Violent Extremism, Mercy Corps explains that after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, political players fanned the country’s sectarian flames for their own gain. These actions propelled sympathy for armed insurgencies, which “purported to offer marginalized groups an alternative to the corrupt Iraqi government,” the report states.

Risk Management Toolkit Assists Humanitarian Orgs with Counterterrorism Measures

December 23, 2015

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has released a risk management toolkit to address the challenges and risks associated with counterterrorism measures and their impact on principled humanitarian action. Intended as a reference tool for policy- and decision-makers, it draws on ideas, methods and procedures being used by a number of national and international NGOs and UN agencies in global hot spots.

Because humanitarian needs are often greatest in terrorist-controlled areas, humanitarian actors must be careful of both the criminal and contractual risks presented by counterterrorism measures. The toolkit looks at a variety of approaches including codes of conduct, due diligence, human resource and anti-diversion policies as well as monitoring and evaluation procedures. 

Humanitarian Overview Looks Ahead to 2016

December 23, 2015

Armed conflicts have been the greatest driver of prolonged humanitarian need, according to the Global Humanitarian Overview 2016, a publication of the Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Branch (PRMB) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Crises are becoming more protracted and displacement levels are unprecedented due to the lack of durable political solutions,” the report states, adding that nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have had to flee their homes due to conflict and violence. The crisis in Syria, perhaps the most profound conflict worldwide, is in its fifth year. During 2015, more than 830,000 refugees and migrants fled to Europe, approximately half of them from Syria.

Bank De-risking Represents Market Failure, Report Says

December 10, 2015

Bank de-risking represents a market failure. In such instances, either government or the public sector must intervene to re-align market factors, either through incentive programs or through enhanced regulatory guidance, concludes a new report from the Global Center on Cooperative Security and Oxfam America, Understanding Bank De-risking and its Effects on Financial Inclusion.

According to the report, the goals of financial inclusion and anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) are not inherently in conflict, although tensions emerge in practice. Overly restrictive AML/CFT measures “may negatively affect access to financial services and lead to adverse humanitarian and security implications,” the report states. It adds that de-risking actually contributes to increased vulnerability by “pushing high-risk clients into smaller financial institutions that may lack adequate AML/CFT capacity, or even out of the formal financial sector all together.” 

De-Risking Creates Unintended Consequences for Global Poor

November 23, 2015

Efforts to curb money laundering and illicit terrorist financing have had unintended negative consequences internationally, in particular for people and organizations in poor countries via remittances, correspondent banking and humanitarian aid. More transparency, greater data and a stronger risk-based approach (RBA) are needed, according to a new report from The Center for Global Development, Unintended Consequences of Anti-Money Laundering Policies for Poor Countries.

Anti-money laundering and combating of the financing of terror policies (AML/CFT) have created pressure for institutions to be uniformly risk-averse. As a result of mixed messages and imprecise guidelines from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), along with a chilling effect from enforcement actions and fines on large financial institutions, banks are engaging in “de-risking” by ceasing to engage in any activity with organizations or individuals that a seen to be higher risk. 

Report Highlights Conflict Between Counterterrorism Laws and Humanitarian Action

October 14, 2015

Measures intended to protect the world from terrorism intensify the difficulties for humanitarians in those same areas where terrorists operate. States have found it difficult to create a way for counterterrorism measures and humanitarian principles can co-exist, according to a new research briefing report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Suppressing Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Supporting Principled Humanitarian Action: A Provisional Framework for Analyzing State Practice

Remittances to Somalia Continue to Decline

October 12, 2015

Remittances to Somalia are down significantly, according to a new, real-time look at the issue, Assessment of External Remittances in Selected Urban Areas and Among Displaced Populations Across Somalia. The survey of 2,300 households in urban areas as well as displaced populations throughout the country was conducted in July by Food Security, Nutrition, and Analysis Unit – Somalia (FSNAU), an arm of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Rural areas were not covered due to security and logistical constraints. Participants were asked about remittances received over the previous six months.

Report: Does CVE Work?

October 1, 2015

Does CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) Work? A new report from the Global Center on Cooperative Security asks that question, in an effort to determine the best approach moving forward. 

As the most significant development in counterterrorism in recent years, CVE is at a "fulcrum point," the report asserts. There is enough experience with it to expect data to be collected and analyzed, and these analyses should inform future work in the field if it is to be evidence-based.