Georgetown University - September 19, 2002
Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development Andrew Natsios delivered the Inaugural Fritz Institute Lecture on Humanitarian Relief at Georgetown University on September 19, 2002, outlining six principles for responding to complex humanitarian emergencies.
Observing that both the number of complex humanitarian emergencies and their tragic consequences are increasing worldwide, Natsios emphasized that "the first purpose of disaster assistance is to save lives and reduce human suffering."
Second, "in a complex humanitarian emergency, assistance should reinforce stability in a society and weaken those forces tearing a society apart."
Third, those coordinating relief efforts must "understand the economic and cultural context of the conflict�before the response begins."
Fourth, policymakers must be constantly aware that "the rule of unintended consequences operates at an accelerated level in complex humanitarian emergencies."
Fifth, "the relief to development continuum is not a continuum; it is not neat; it is not orderly" and frequently recovery processes will experience setbacks.
Finally, Natsios stressed the importance of an "integrated, coherent strategy" for relief efforts.
Natsios underlined the crucial importance of logistics, which he said "drives humanitarian relief," observing that fortunately "the logisticians pour water on my greatest schemes and it is very important for [those engaged in disaster relief] to have a greater understanding of logistics."
If we don�t learn our lessons, we�re putting the people we serve at risk.
- Andrew Natsios, USAID Administrator
USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia and Fritz Institute Director General Lynn Fritz discuss humanitarian relief.