Policy Brief
Social and Economic Policies to Prevent Complex Humanitarian Emergencies Lessons from Experience

In simple language and with numerous concrete examples, this policy brief analyses the impact - among others - of key ex-ante factors such as acute 'horizontal inequality' between social groups in the distribution of assets, state jobs, social services and so on; the failure of political institutions and the ensuing crisis of the state; the protracted worsening of economic conditions; and external shocks. The analysis summarized herein also debunks some of the common beliefs recurrent in the literature in this area, e.g. that emergencies are caused by deteriorating environmental conditions, competition for non-renewable resources, and structural adjustment. While being by themselves an important source of economic hardship, their role in triggering Complex humanitarian Emergencies is not borne out by the evidence.