HDP Conference

The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus from a Decolonial Perspective:
A Bottom-up Approach?

16 - 17 January 2024
Gustav-Stresemann-Institut, Langer Grabenweg 68, 53175 Bonn Germany

The humanitarian–development–peace nexus (HDP) is a new way of working for UN agencies and international and national NGOs, introduced at the Global Humanitarian Summit in 2016. Even though it was designed at the UN level, it aims to closely link humanitarian aid, development assistance and peacebuilding through a bottom-up approach and joint conflict analysis. More recently, the aid sector has witnessed the emergence of a decolonial critique from within INGOs and NGOs in all three fields. These critiques ask how today’s power imbalances between the Global North and the Global South—which are also reflected in the aid sector—are rooted in a colonial past, and how greater equity can be achieved beyond a bottom-up approach. The conference will bring together (I)NGO staff and academics to share their analyses of the conceptualisation and implementation of the HDP and discuss:   

  • How has the HDP been implemented from the bottom up?  
  • Are there conditions under which the HDP should not be implemented?   
  • What does a decolonial approach to the implementation of the HDP mean in practice?  

Experiences with the HDP from Iraq, Mali and South Sudan will illustrate different obstacles and strengths in their approach to the HDP as it has been conceived, implemented and debated so far. 

The Conference will consist of two parts: An exchange of insights on HDP approaches by panellists from research and practice on the first day will be followed by a policy workshop on the second day aimed to generate insights for policy and practice with all conference participants. 

Simultaneous translation (Arabic, French) will be provided throughout the conference. 

The format of the conference on the first day will be hybrid, with the possibility of online participation. The second day will be presence only. 


HDP Conference



Prof. Dr. Conrad Schetter, BICC

Henriette Sachse, Transitional Development Assistance, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Germany (BMZ) 


Dr. Esther MeininghausBICC, Marie Müller-Koné, BICC

Keynote speach: "Beyond the Rhetoric: The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus from a Decolonial Perspective?"

Dr Althea-Maria RivasSchool of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), UK


Coffee break

Panel 1: How has the HDP been implemented from the bottom up? 

Amid ongoing wars and violent conflicts, poverty, lack of livelihoods, poor access to health services or the repercussions of climate change, the HDP nexus aims to forge closer collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors to address multiple crises in a more sustainable way. How has this bottom-up approach been implemented in Iraq, Mali and South Sudan, and what are the challenges?  


Ryadh al-Khadra, International Rescue Committee(IRC), Iraq 

Demba Karagnara, Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Mali  

Simaya Ladu James, Malteser International (MI), South Sudan 

Leigh Mayhew, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK

Moderation: Dr. Birgit Kemmerling, BICC


Panel 2: Are there conditions under which the HDP should not be implemented?  

The HDP has become a popular approach to addressing protracted crises around the world. Importantly, however, it also raises the question of whether the HDP may not always be suited to serve those in need in a given context and whether red flags can be identified when this is the case. Drawing on the cases of Iraq, Mali and South Sudan we provide key insights and discuss under which conditions it is advisable to (not) use the HDP and the types of peacebuilding activities that are appropriate in a particular context. 


Emad al-Qasm, Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Iraq [now: Ukraine] 

Abdourahmane Sow, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Mali 

Edmore Mahlupeka, International Rescue Committee (IRC), South Sudan 

Ralf Südhoff, Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA), Germany

Moderation: Dr. Boubacar Haidara, BICC 

Coffee break

Panel 3: What does a decolonial approach to the implementation of the HDP mean in practice?   

Despite the ambitions of the HDP, its conceptualisation and implementation face a number of challenges. Among other things, a decolonial critique of humanitarian and development aid in its current form has emerged out of the Black Lives Matter movement and has since been taken up in the humanitarian aid, development and peacebuilding sectors seperately. In this panel, we will explore the relevance of a decolonial approach to the HDP and the ways in which a decolonial perspective goes beyond a bottom-up approach. Key questions we will discuss include: ‘How can power imbalances between international and local aid organisations be addressed in everyday project work?’ ‘How can local communities be involved in co-producing knowledge and the entire project management cycle, from context analysis to project design and implementation?’  


Ruba al-Hassani, University of Lancaster, UK

Raan Clement, Conflict Sensitivity Resource Facility (CSRF), South Sudan

Dr. Maria Grosz-N’Gaté, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Moderation: Dr. Esther Meininghaus, BICC

Key statements and Open discussion

Concluding remarks

Dr. Birgit Kemmerling, BICC, Dr. Boubacar Haidara, BICC

Policy workshop: From theory to practice

The aim of this policy workshop is to discuss possible ways forward for the implementation of the HDP with all conference participants. The policy recommendations developed at the conference will be published in a BICC Policy Brief.  

Introduction to programme of the day

Marie Müller-Koné, BICC

Group work on Panels 1,2,3 

Questions: What were the key points of the conference for you? Which solutions do you suggest, and which open questions remain? 

Coffee break

Sharing findings and drafting policy recommendations  

Concluding remarks

Dr. Esther Meininghaus, BICC

Joint lunch 

Additional information

The conference is organised as part of the research project “How can the HDP succeed? NGOs between Humanitarian Aid, Development Assistance and Peacebuilding” (2021–2024) that BICC undertakes in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Malteser International (MI) and Welthungerhilfe (WHH). The project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).