External Publication

Humanitarian Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific: Part I

by Alistair D. B. Cook and Lina Gong
Published on 20 September 2021

Journal Articles
The international humanitarian system is an important site of global governance with efforts by many different actors to respond to the severe humanitarian challenges the world faces. These actors generate political will and commitment to cooperate, as well as construct norms and practices in the conduct of humanitarian action. These umbrella terms are collectively known as humanitarian diplomacy. The most recent high-profile example of humanitarian diplomacy was on display at the World Humanitarian Summit convened in 2016. The event brought participants from around the globe representing different countries and other actors in the humanitarian space, which culminated in An Agenda for Humanity that provided direction for reform of the global humanitarian system that is under strain with the increasingly complex humanitarian situations facing humanity today. Given the ramifications of humanitarian challenges for global governance, the complex dynamics unfolding in the humanitarian system, and the utility of humanitarian action for national foreign policy, humanitarian diplomacy deserves scholarly attention. The research on humanitarian diplomacy sits at the intersection of the literature on global governance, humanitarian affairs, and foreign policy studies. Despite the long history of international humanitarian action, however, the concept of humanitarian diplomacy is relatively new and remains contested. The literature on humanitarian diplomacy remains limited, demonstrating its recent appearance in global affairs. This special issue contributes to the conceptual development of humanitarian diplomacy by providing perspectives from the Asia-Pacific region, which has been a site of humanitarian diplomacy and home to important actors in the international humanitarian system.