Projects Asia & The Pacific

Essentials of Humanitarian Negotiation (EHN)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | Mar 2017

InterWorks conducted a 4-day Essentials of Humanitarian Negotiation (EHN) workshop for UNHCR’s eCentre from 27-30 March 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. The course included thirty participants from diverse backgrounds, offices, and countries, representing UNHCR, NGO and government counterparts.

The course focused on the skills and practice of humanitarian negotiation. The course trainers provided short presentations of key components of humanitarian negotiation and provided scenario-based, role play exercises through which key elements could be explored, utilised and practiced. The course included multiple opportunities for participants to practice collaborative negotiation skills such as asking questions, listening, generating solutions and finding win-win solutions to negotiation challenges. It also included sessions on the centrality of protection and negotiating with non-state armed groups to highlight the importance of humanitarian principles and international legal frameworks as critical components of the “interests” of humanitarian negotiators.

The Workshop was designed to focus on the skills and techniques of negotiation, applied to situations where humanitarians use them: negotiating with government interlocutors, non-state and irregular actors (including armed elements), partner agencies, fellow staff members and beneficiary populations. Above all it will apply these skills to humanitarian situations in the field where access, respect for human rights and humanitarian space are at stake. It emphasized techniques such as reaching mutually beneficial solutions, correctly analyzing each participant’s own and the others’ negotiation positions, active listening, mitigating anger and hostility, and many other techniques. The ultimate aim of the workshop was to train humanitarian workers to be better able to advocate and defend their positions on behalf of their organizations and beneficiaries. This practical scenario-based workshop gave participants the chance to engage in a variety of complex negotiations.

[The] Workshop was very good in improving my skills and understanding of negotiations with multi-stakeholders in humanitarian situation.

– Workshop participant