Call for papers for Humanitarian Alternatives 15th issue

For its forthcoming 15th issue, which will be published in November 2020, Humanitarian Alternatives is launching a call for articles for the issue’s focus theme “The post-COVID-19 world” (provisional title). This focus will be developed in partnership with The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) and will expand upon issue 14’s first COVID-19 focus, entitled “COVID-19: Impacts upon humanitarian action”, and going to press at the end of July 2020. If you are an stakeholder, a researcher or an observer of the international humanitarian community, and wish to submit a proposal for an article on this subject, please send a summary of your argument and an outline (2 pages maximum) to the following email address by 13 July 2020: You will receive a reply by 22 July 2020.

The final deadline for submitting the article is 5 October 2020. Please note that the article must be limited to approximately 15,000 characters, including spaces (approximately 2,400 words).

As for each issue, the call for articles extends to ‘miscellaneous’ articles, which could be included in any of the following columns: “Perspectives”, “Transition”, “Innovations”, “Ethics”, “Reporting” or “Tribune”.

The post-COVID-19 world

Co-piloted by Boris Martin, Chief Editor and François Grünewald, IHSA Board Member

We have not seen the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. After attempting to manage the first episode of the pandemic during the first semester of 2020, and meeting with extremely variable results from one continent to another, the world now faces countless unknowns, with as yet unwritten scenarios.

Already discussed in Humanitarian Alternatives’ issue 14, to be published at the end of July, the impacts of COVID-19 on international aid, in both its humanitarian action and development dimensions, have yet to be identified, understood, foreseen even. No longer in the immediacy of the crisis, but for the years to come, and in all the contexts in which impacts have yet to emerge. In order for us to begin to understand what lies ahead, we must address the underlying issues that govern humanitarian aid.

To begin with, what will be the impacts of the first stage of the crisis upon the world’s economies, at all their embedded levels? The micro level – that of family economics and food security, and, more generally, of day-to-day survival. The meso level – that of urban-rural exchanges, now punctuated by manifold (de)confinements and border closures, and the impacts of these latter upon the vitality of national markets. And finally, the macro level – that of countries and groups of countries at once connected by local trade and regional solidarity, and driving globalisation of trade.

Likewise, what will be the impacts of the crisis on the world’s already-weakened multilateralism, the fragilities of which are becoming increasingly apparent? It remains as critical now as it has ever been to resolve the world’s many ongoing conflicts. Conflicts in which today’s perpetrators of violence have applied exceptionally distinct strategies in order to profit from the pandemic. Will the post-COVID-19 world be able to face the many kinds of crises to come, and draw upon a global governance that has seldom been so unstable, not only in the arena of health but also in the geopolitical arena? What can we reasonably expect, in particular from the United Nations, now that the WHO is paying the price for its criticised management of the pandemic and its manipulation by the world’s larger States, the United States and China front in line?

It is in this maelstrom that humanitarian aid, whether responding to the urgency of crises or supporting populations over the long term, must also find a footing. How will the roles of aid actors change, in a situation in which the mobilisation of international actors in their accustomed fields of intervention remains very restricted, the necessary empowerment of local actors is compelling these latter to become self-reliant, and both private and institutional funding are at risk of massive reductions? How will solidarity reinvent itself? What impacts will the ‘crisis management’ have upon health systems? Will we be able to successfully place anticipation and preparation back at the core of these health systems? And will we be ready if, confronted with societal vulnerabilities, revealed as never before, the pandemic should “resurface”, or if other major disasters should strike in its wake?