The impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian access: a review of new challenges, shifting priorities, and novel operating procedures

  • Expected start date:
    Expected end date:
    Project Status:
    Project Type:
    Project Manager :
    Rebecca Brubaker

    COVID-19 is having an unprecedent effect on humanitarian planning and operations. The pandemic has served as a “fragility multiplier” creating greater humanitarian needs and complicating issues around access and delivery. COVID-19’s impact is potentially felt across a range of areas, including in-country restrictions, movement into countries, violence against humanitarians, access of people in need of services, and militarized responses by some governments. 

    Humanitarian actors present in the field have had to face these increasing needs, while at the same time adapting their operations to comply with the numerous restrictive measures adopted to curb the spread of the virus. This project, commissioned by the UK permanent mission to the UN, aims to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian access, enabling more targeted donor responses and improved practices by key agencies. Across five case studies (Myanmar, Yemen, Colombia, South Sudan, and NE Nigeria), this study seeks to 1) provide an overview of the primary and secondary impacts of the pandemic on humanitarian access ; 2) provide an overview of the adaptive responses of the humanitarian sector ; and 3) offer some lessons learned and policy recommendations for the future. The findings of this project are of direct interest and importance to UN Member States and humanitarian actors across the board (UN, INGOs, and local NGOs).