2. CARE’s policy

2 CARE recognises that humanitarian space is guaranteed to aid workers under Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, and that states have the responsibility to provide the minimum conditions for humanitarians to carry out their work in areas of conflict. To facilitate access to humanitarian space, CARE places a great deal of emphasis on the guiding principles of the humanitarian imperative, independence and impartiality. That is, CARE’s relief efforts should be driven by the level of humanitarian need, and CARE should promote and protect its independence and impartiality at all times.
CARE advocates applying a ‘quiet diplomacy’ approach in cases where humanitarian space is threatened. It can be beneficial to enlist governments as allies and understand how policy instruments might be used to preserve independence and humanitarian space. Based on ‘best practice’ learned from previous operations, CARE encourages building coalitions with like-minded humanitarian agencies operating in the same ‘space’. This strengthens humanitarian operations, maintains humanitarian space and ensures that no agencies’ work is undermined. Forming a united group increases the possibility of challenging negative trends that require high levels of advocacy.

CARE’s humanitarian space policy promotes a proactive approach to raise concerns related to humanitarian space in UN-led humanitarian system reforms. Reforms of humanitarian coordination and pooled financing should be understood in the context of wider reforms to promote ‘coherence’ in the UN peace and security architecture. Reforms of UN coordination and civil-military relations (e.g. integrated missions) should support humanitarian principles, rather than subordinate humanitarian responses to political or institutional interests.