Twelfth issue – November 2019

Demography: Figures and ills


Population science working hand-in-hand with humanitarian workers?

By Vincent Léger Certain demographic phenomena, such as the ageing of the world population, both in the north and in the south, migration, urbanisation, population growth and increased poverty, have become visibly strong trends and are developing at a surprisingly fast rate. They are generating new needs and there is an increasingly large gap between initial forecasts and the resources intended to address them – and all stakeholders are becoming obliged to adapt accordingly. [Read more]


World demographic prospects: between certainties and uncertainties

By Gilles Pison - To open this “Focus”, Gilles Pison offers us an overall vision based on past developments to help us to better understand those to come. While the world’s population should continue to rise to reach 8 billion by 2023, its growth rate is decreasing. It should continue to regress until the world’s population virtually stabilises at some 11 billion people within a century. One major demographic change expected is Africa’s exploding population, which could quadruple to reach more than 4 billion in 2100. [Read more]

Demographics in the service of Universal Health Coverage: examples in West Africa

By Valéry Ridde, Emmanuel Bonnet, Kadidiatou Kadio, Sarah Louart Health interventions typically favour pregnant women and children under 5 years of age. A prism that does not take into account other ever-growing vulnerable populations: the indigents and the elderly. The authors demonstrate here how the proper use of tools and demographic data would provide more relevant targeting. [Read more]

Demographic transition in the Mediterranean: between rising risks and the necessary adaptations of humanitarian practices

By Emmanuel Matteudi - The Mediterranean is at the centre of the humanitarian attention as a place of deadly migrations, practically a cemetery whose ignominy is constantly denounced by NGOs. But it is also the cradle of a civilisation and of populations which, on its shores, will have to face the stakes of the demographic transition. [Read more]

Cameroon: reception areas for displaced people, between socio-demographic reconfiguration and managing Persons with Specific Needs

By Joséphine Lémouogué, Éric Joël Fofiri Nzossie, Jasmine Laurelle Kahou Nzouyem  -This article builds on the results of two studies: one carried out in the Far North region on the demographics of the people displaced by the Boko Haram crisis, and the other carried out in the East region on care for Persons with Specific Needs (PWSN) displaced by the crisis in the Central African Republic. It explains how a sound grasp of demographic data can help to improve our understanding of humanitarian challenges and provide guidance for informed decision making. [Read more]


Environmental health at Médecins du Monde: from the emergence to the structuring of a struggle

By Astrid Fossier-Heckmann and Hugo Tiffou - Linking environment and health is not obvious for many humanitarian NGOs. Médecins du Monde has managed to make this theme one of its priorities. A look at a fight that, backed up by the right to health, could join forces with the fight against the effects of climate change. [Read more]


Chronicle of a foretold manipulation of humanitarian aid?

By Audrey Sala This article cannot be termed a survey but it has much to say about the increasingly strong signs — for anyone willing to notice them — of the growing influence of private economic interests in the humanitarian sector. Audrey Sala brings us an in-depth insight into the world of convergence, “partnerships of enlightened self-interest” and the creeping appropriation of the humanitarian label by stakeholders that are anything but solidarity actors. [Read more]

VIH/sida : pour que la lutte ne devienne pas indétectable

By Florence Thune - Despite scientific research, nearly 800,000 people still die from HIV and 1.7 million others are newly infected each year across the world. Allocating financial resources to this struggle is therefore still a need, as the challenge is to maintain more than 37 million people in care throughout their lives. But because HIV infection is also a powerful indicator of inequality, the response to it must revolve around new alliances between NGOs to pursue a highly political fight. [Read more]


In the closed door of Eastern Ghouta

Abdulmonam Eassa was born in Damascus in 1995. Until early 2018 he was based in Hammouria, Eastern Ghouta, in the agricultural countryside near Damascus, 13 km north-east of the capital. When the war broke out in 2011, he was forced to quit his studies. In 2013, the many crimes committed by the Syrian army he witnessed motivated him to start his activity of photojournalist, along with some of his friends, to cover the near-daily airstrikes, the deaths of civilians and the massacres by the Syrian government forces and supported by the Russian air force in their fight “against terrorism”.  [Read more]


Humanitarian action, as one of the main international public policies deployed permanently on all continents, is currently providing aid to some 200  million beneficiaries.

The first UN-led World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 highlighted the challenges it now faces, as evidenced by the dimension taken with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, the spread of NGOs’ humanitarian aid, the affirmation of State humanitarianism and the involvement of international organisations.

Humanitarian action is characterised by plurality, diversity and the dispersion of the norms on which it is based, or which it itself produces, notably as a specific professional and social order, with its own ethics, its own language, and as a genuine globalised economy. [Read more]


Reza and Manoocher Deghati, brothers and photojournalists who grew up in Iran in the 1950s and were forced into exile in the early 1980s, present their exclusive period archives for the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. In 1978, Reza and Manoocher Deghati covered the Islamic Revolution from its beginnings, and subsequently the hostage-taking at the American Embassy in Tehran. Their images were used extensively at the time in the international press: Newsweek, the Times, Lifeand Paris Match. The brothers were privileged witnesses to these events, ceaselessly documenting the riots, the violent repressions, but also the hopes of a changing Iranian society. [Read more]



Waad al-Kateab was a young Syrian woman living in Aleppo when war broke out in 2011. During the bombings, everyday life goes on. Her film captures the daily losses, hopes and displays of solidarity amongst the people of Aleppo. Waad and her doctor husband are torn between leaving and protecting their daughter Sama or resisting for the freedom of their country. [Read more]

Translators :

Méline Bernard • Mandy Duret • Fay Guerry • Alan Johnson • Juliet Powys  Derek Scoins

Acknowledgements for their voluntary contribution to this issue :

Brax • Fay Guerry