Final Remote Management Annotated Bibliography

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    This annotated bibliography provides an overview of literature related to remote management in humanitarian settings. The resources presented here are illustrative of the bulk of the literature on the topic and include both academic discourses as well as publically available organizational documents. Abild, Erik. (2009). Creating Humanitarian Space: A Case Study of Somalia. UNHCR Research Paper No. 184.

    Abilds biggest contribution to the discussion on remote management is what he terms responsibility transfer, (p. 12). That is, organizations may blame or rationalize operational problems by attributing it to remote management. Abilds main thesis it that, rather than solely reacting to security dynamics, humanitarian actors play a role in creating the humanitarian space in which they operate (p. 25).

    Carle, Alexandre and Hakim Chkam. (2006). Humanitarian Action in the New Security Environment: Policy and operational implications in Iraq. HPG Background Paper.

    This papers examination of humanitarian actors in Iraq is a useful way of examining the advantages and disadvantages of remote management. Its discussion of the lack of distinction between aid workers and the occupation of Iraq proves an interesting counter to the aid-worker as impartial narrative (p. iii). It outlines the differences between remote management, remote control, and remote support, and argues that, in the case of Iraq, a remote support strategy for nationalizing staff is the best option. In looking at organizations operating in Iraq overall, Carle and Chkam argue that the development of remote management strategies was ad-hoc and that staff responsible for implementing remote strategies tended to have no prior experience doing so. However, this critique neglects to explore why a coherent strategy across organizations would be beneficial. In the discussion, the authors take the stance that the most rigid organizations adopted remote control, while the most flexible adopted remote support, thereby giving national staff more decision-making power (p. 31).

    Collinson, Sarah and Mark Duffield. (2013). Paradoxes of Presence: Risk management and aid culture in challenging environments. HPG.

    This report, commissioned by ESRC/DFID, is largely a critical response to Egeland et al.s Stay and Deliver. It argues that the aid industry has neglected to address the implications and consequences of an increased reliance on remote management strategies. The authors agree with Hammond and Vaughan-Lees (2012) argument about the increased interaction between military and security actors and civilian entities. They assert that arms length aid management inevitably transfers risk to national and local staff. Additionally, Collinson and Duffield critique Egeland et al., for failing to recognize the assumptions that national and local staff are safer, when in fact, particular ethnic, religious, or other identity or affiliations or resulting from their position as agency representatives and gatekeepers, (p. 22) may put them at greater risk.

    Donini, Antonio and Daniel Maxwell. (2014). From face-to-face to face-to-screen: remote management, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian action in insecure environments. International Review of the Red Cross.

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    A very critical article that aims to analyze the issues associated with growing use of remote management. The definition of remote management that the authors use is similar to OCHAs in that it is a response to deteriorating security, whereby international staff members are withdrawn from program sites in a departure from normal programming (p. 386). This articles clear and strong stance against remote management likens remote management to bunkerization of aid workers and argues that there is a correlation between increased availability of distance technologies and the increased use of remote management. Interestingly, it mentions the possibility of the next technological step being to use drones to deliver aid. According to Donini, this fundamentally changes the relationship of aid from the time-tested anthropological-type approaches for understanding local situations to cyber-humanitarianism, (p. 411). Despite being quite disparaging about remote management, at the conclusion, this article says that remote technologies are obviously here to stay. If they are to have a progressive future, however, they need demilitarizing and opening to greater democratic control, (p. 412).

    ECHO. (n.d.). Instruction note for ECHO staff on Remote Management.

    ECHOs strict stance against funding programs which use remote management is based on three considerations: 1) ECHO is a field-based donor, 2) Remote management entails significant risks, and 3) Building acceptance remains the best access strategy. It argues that the best way to gain access and avoid security risks is to build acceptance (p. 3), but fails to discuss the limitations (ie. time constraints, with which population/group if there is a conflict, etc.) of this approach.

    Egeland, Jan, Adele Harmer, and Abby Stoddard. (2011). To Stay and Deliver: Good practice for humanitarians in complex security environments. OCHA.

    This study presents remote management as an alternative to bunkerization and argues that while it makes effective and accountable programming challenging, there are promising practical innovations, (p. 2). Egeland et al. cite organizations most successful at maintaining access as being those which have combined localized programming having a high degree of local acceptance with low visibility at the national level (p. 3). The authors point out that there are few examples of best practices in providing adequate security and support, while at the same time, increasing capacity for national staff. It concludes with broad recommendations/ good practice for gaining and maintaining access, and a discussion of various acceptance-based approaches including, negotiated access; localized or devolved management strategies; low-profile approaches; protective measures; deterrent measures; and other operational measures.

    Fast, Larissa, Elizabeth Rowley, Michael ONeill, and Faith Freeman. (2011). The Promise of Acceptance: Insights into acceptance as a security management approach from research in Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda. Save the Children.

    This is the final project document for an 18-month project funded by OFDA which explored acceptance as a way to address security concerns. It argues that organizations need to consider various ways to more systematically integrate an acceptance approach as part of good programming and effective security management, (p. 3). It does not refer to remote management, but is included here as it is one of the more-commonly cited sources on acceptance.

    Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. (2011). Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict.

    This manual outlines a legal and logistical framework for gaining humanitarian access in response to specific access issues, including bureaucratic constraints, targeting of personnel, and conflict environments. The starting points for designing remote access programming are quite basic and drawn predominately from Stoddard et al.s Once Removed.

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    Global Protection Cluster. (2012). Seminar on Humanitarian Access, Protection and Assistance Under Constraints.

    This paper, from the summary conclusions of the 2012 GPC Seminar, says that panelists generally agreed that the success of remote management has been difficult to measure, (p. 5). The Access Monitoring & Reporting Framework (AMRF) has context-specific indicators for protection concerns and this summary argues that negotiations with governments and NSAs should be more focused on urgent needs (p. 6).

    Hammond, Laura and Hannah Vaughan-Lee. (2012). Humanitarian Space in Somalia: A Scarce Commodity. HPG Working Paper.

    This paper argues that the restrictive and insecure environment of Somalia is a direct result of the political economy of aid (p. 2), whereby