Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Groups: The Frontlines of Diplomacy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Groups

The Frontlines of Diplomacy, 1st Edition

By Ashley Jonathan Clements


256 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367356354
pub: 2019-12-20
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th December 2019

FREE Standard Shipping!


Humanitarians operate on the frontlines of today’s armed conflicts where they regularly negotiate to provide assistance and to protect vulnerable civilians. This bookexplores this unique and under-researched field of humanitarian negotiation. It details the challenges faced by humanitarians negotiating with armed groups in Yemen, Myanmar, and elsewhere, arguing that humanitarians typically negotiate from a position of weakness. It also explores some of the tactics and strategies they use to overcome this power asymmetry to reach more favorable agreements.

The author applies these findings to broader negotiation scholarship and investigates the implications of this research for the field and practice of humanitarianism. This book also demonstrates how non-state actors – both humanitarians and armed groups – have become increasingly potent diplomatic actors. It challenges traditional state-centric approaches to diplomacy and argues that non-state actors constitute an increasingly crucial vector through which international relations are replicated and reconstituted during contemporary armed conflict. Only by accepting these changes to the nature of diplomacy itself can the causes, symptoms, and solutions to armed conflict be better managed.

This book will be of interest to scholars concerned with conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation, as well as to humanitarian practitioners themselves.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Negotiating on the Frontlines

Conceptualizing humanitarian negotiation

The emergent practice of humanitarian negotiation

The approach of this study


1. The Negotiator’s Weak Hand

Sources of power asymmetry

Power, politics, and principles


2. Yemen: The Houti Ascendance

The conflict

Negotiation structure

Negotiation process


3. Myanmar: A Return to Arms in Kachinland

The conflict

Negotiation structure

Negotiation process


4. Overcoming Power Asymmetry

Tactical options for the weak

Deploying humanitarian levers

The promise of humanitarian diplomacy


5. Advancing the Frontlines of Humanitarian Negotiation

Conceptual boundaries


Implications for theory and practice

Next steps: A research agenda


6. Conclusion

About the Author

Dr Ashley Jonathan Clements is a consultant and researcher from New Zealand. He has spent over fifteen years working in the humanitarian sector with the UN and NGOs, predominantly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Ashley’s research focuses on negotiation, contemporary armed conflict, and non-state armed actors. He continues to research and advise on frontline humanitarian negotiations and conducts negotiation training for a range of audiences.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: