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Assessing the effectiveness of EU humanitarian aid. The cases of Myanmar, Lebanon, Mozambique

Morlino, Irene (2021) Assessing the effectiveness of EU humanitarian aid. The cases of Myanmar, Lebanon, Mozambique. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004352


The socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 have been felt worldwide, but especially in low-income countries. In these contexts, the effects of the global crisis have exacerbated the need for humanitarian assistance. While humanitarian programmes have become more critical, ensuring their effectiveness remains a challenge. The thesis investigates the factors that may affect humanitarian aid programmes’ effectiveness by looking at the European Union (EU), one of the top donors worldwide. Therefore, the two research questions are, firstly: why does the effectiveness of EU humanitarian aid programmes vary?; and secondly: What are the factors causing this variation? The research is meaningful because it addresses a critical, current challenge and because it also attempts to fill a gap in EU foreign policy literature by empirically assessing the external effectiveness of the EU ‘on the ground’ in contexts of wars and natural crises. It also assesses the relationship that it has with United Nations (UN) agencies and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the field, in a sector, humanitarian aid, that has been overlooked as part of development aid. Following a precise definition of effectiveness and based on empirical data gathered through official reports, documents and interviews with UN, NGO, and EU officials, the thesis seeks to answer to the research questions by formulating three hypotheses on the factors that could influence the effectiveness and by empirically assessing them in the context of Myanmar, Lebanon and Mozambique, between 2015 and 2017. The hypotheses include: the EU Member States internal cohesiveness and coordination with Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) on the ground; delegation and coordination in the field between DG ECHO and UN agencies/NGOs; the national authorities’ attitude vis-à-vis EU humanitarian aid programmes. The research finds that the last two factors can be particularly decisive in the effectiveness of the programmes and proposes a formula for effectiveness. It suggests that EU humanitarian aid programmes should focus on resilience and preparedness, that the agents involved should closely coordinate, and the use of new technologies to speed up processes should be increased. Finally, the thesis suggests pathways to generalise these findings to non-EU humanitarian and to development actors, such as the World Bank.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Irene Morlino
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Smith, Karen E.

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