Bridging the gaps

The challenge: to understand each other’s logic

Strengthening coherence and connectedness between humanitarian response, recovery and development.

Despite attempts and on-going efforts, many of the problems related to linking relief, rehabilitation and development remain unresolved. In Haiti, after years of development efforts, recurrent natural disasters and weak governance at different levels seem to question the adequacy of current development policies and international support. In DRC decades of conflict have not helped set the stage for sound development. Mali, a pilot of development approaches, suddenly falls into crisis and evidences the aid system failure. Humanitarian and development cultures struggle to communicate.

Institutional partition and differences in operational activities between both actors contribute to the challenge of linking the two sectors and to bridging the gaps. It is frequently difficult for the various actors to understand each other’s operational logic.

Encouraging positive interaction
We believe in simplicity and practical solutions

Dahlia’s approach:

In general terms, the need to link relief rehabilitation and development is understood by aid actors. Nevertheless, the specific circumstances affecting each crisis require context specific analysis, information sharing, enhanced participatory processes and collaborative approaches to gap filling. We believe that flexibility and a desire to understand contexts will lead to better action and to the offering of specific solutions.

A number of key aspects could improve the performance and ultimately the results of both relief and development: crisis prevention, preparedness, early warning, information management and communication are relevant for both aid approaches, and could become drivers for interaction, sharing and integration.

Finding adequate ways to operationalise these elements constitutes a challenge. Dahlia focuses on these key issues, to improve and facilitate information management and two way communication, and increase collaboration and positive interaction.

Dahlia promotes tailored solutions for each context based on practical examples tested on the ground. Aid architecture, coordination, leadership and financing channels are examined through the lens of their relevance in a given context. Our teams of experienced consultants and experts provide the necessary skills and insight so as to ensure an adequate response to the challenges addressed.

At Dahlia we believe in simplicity and clarity and our products will offer an intuitive arrangement of the information and practical frameworks for the implementation of recommendations.

The transition gap:

The transition gap describes a situation where the different components of the aid system are unable to offer an integrated framework of action to assure the transition from relief to development. In countries facing protracted crises or post-conflict situations, relief and development efforts coincide. There is a need to strengthen synergies between actors operating in both spheres which implement programmes in parallel.

Traditionally, a number of gaps have been identified:

  • Strategic and analytical gaps: more clarity is needed in terms of conceptualizing the different links between relief, recovery and development and their application in specific contexts.
  • Gaps related to leadership and capacity: the issue of the capacity of national and local governments often becomes a major constraint to address transition problems comprehensively. There may also be major gaps in the hand-over between humanitarian and development organisations.
  • Financing gap: no clarity has been achieved on how financing could facilitate stronger linkages between humanitarian response and development
  • Aid architecture gaps: The coordination between humanitarian response and development assistance is still weak, with early recovery, transition and social protection only slowly gaining momentum.
  • Coherence gap and dangers of integration: integrating humanitarian action under political and security concerns in complex emergencies limits humanitarian independence and impartiality. Prolonging humanitarian intervention could create dependency and undermine development efforts.