Steets, J., Binder, A., Derzsi-Horvath, A., Krüger, S. and Ruppert, L. (2016) ‘Drivers and Inhibitors of Change in the Humanitarian System: A Political Economy Analysis of Reform Efforts Relating to Cash, Accountability to Affected Populations and Protect


This report examines reform efforts related to three central aspects of humanitarian assistance: cash transfers, accountability to affected populations and protection. For each area, the paper develops a thought experiment to explore how the humanitarian system would change if the reform proposals were fully implemented. The report analyses how these changes would affect the interests and incentives of key stakeholders, and laid out the resulting policy implications for donors.

For each area, the study explores four questions to help explain why reforms are successful or unsuccessful, and to generate ideas for the more effective promotion of reforms:

  • What exactly is the reform proposal?

  • What would the humanitarian system look like if the proposal were fully implemented?

  • How would these changes affect the self-interests of important stakeholder groups?

  • What are the policy implications of these reflections?