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Humanitarian action in a new security environment

01 April 1998
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There has been an unprecedented growth of humanitarian action since the end of the Cold War. Its expansion has coincided with the proliferation of humanitarian&nbsp; organisa­tions. Thus, both the quantitative and the qualitative roles of&nbsp; the humanitarian agencies have significantly changed.<br /><br />This article describes both the form and background of the proliferation. It aims to explain why and how the humanitarian system was able to expand to such an unprece­dented level. The first and second parts sketch the changes within the humanitarian sphere (dealing with both actors and action). The third part describes the political back­ground behind current humanitarian action, and searches for causal relationships be­tween the two.&nbsp; The fourth part is an evaluation of how this expanded system works out at the practical level, and. finally, the conclusion assesses the implications of an ex­panded humanitarian system.