Denial, Delay, Diversion: Tackling Access Challenges in an Evolving Humanitarian Landscape

Principled humanitarian action is under attack around the world. Globally, 70.8 million people are considered forcibly displaced by armed conflict and nearly 132 million people need emergency humanitarian assistance. At the same time, there has been a steep escalation in the deliberate, willful obstruction of humanitarian access, impeding the ability of humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable people and vice versa. As humanitarian emergencies become increasingly complex and protracted, blocked humanitarian access will only increase without urgent action. To ensure the ability of aid to reach those who need it most and to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, the United States should elevate humanitarian access as a foreign policy priority and work to reconcile tensions between critical national security measures and the growing needs of vulnerable populations in fragile, conflict-affected states. This report is the result of the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access.

This report was made possible with generous support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Jacob Kurtzer
Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Humanitarian Agenda