Items selected for printing

III. Non – military actorsselected for printing

Within a comprehensive approach, military support to non-military actors and their environment will generally only be conducted if it is required to create conditions supportive for the accomplishment of the military mission within the context of the mandate. They may include a wide spectrum of resources such as information, personnel, material, equipment, communications facilities, specialist expertise or training. Enabling this is a role of CIMIC and it may be executed by all elements of the military.

Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) is the link between the military mission and the civil dimension in the area of operations. It is important to understand which actors are engaged within the operation area and beyond. In this chapter this potential interaction will be described. Regardless of the type of operation, a complex civil environment will be partially detrimental and partially beneficial to the mission.

NATO is required to establish contacts with non-military actors prior to operations to be prepared for missions and operations. The goal is to establish a reliable and sustainable network including a mutual understanding between organizations to foster cooperation during a mission or operation. Ideally, military and non-military actors should develop mutual understanding and good working relationships already in peacetime through training, education and other initiatives. While CIMIC is a well -established tool for military actors, most non- military actors have not implemented a civil counterpart system, including focal point and necessary means for communication and coordination. This has to be understood by all parties when engagement starts and underpins the necessity of common training in advance.

Experience has shown that the context of a mission can vary significantly. A feature common to most missions, however, is the complex assortment of non-military actors that will be engaged within the area of operations and beyond. The commander will be required to work alongside these actors to reach the end state effectively and efficiently, and must therefore retain a high level of flexibility.

Therefore, the military commander requests a clear picture of the civil environment. In order to support the military commander and to create this picture the CIMIC Staff will work closely with other branches (especially J/G 2) in concert with non-military actors in a comprehensive manner.

The list of non-military actors includes international organizations (IOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, governments and governmental organizations (GOs), law enforcement agencies, civil defence organisations, local actors and other authorities, like tribe leaders, religious leaders, leaders of ethnic minorities as well as majorities and stakeholders from the private sector. Not all types of the listed actors above will necessarily be present in the area of operations.

Therefore, the civil environment is not a homogeneous one. Each non-military actor will have their own motivation, legal status, mandate, mission, procedures and policies to govern their work and conduct them. Due to their diversity, techniques that promote effective interaction with one type of actor will often be different from those that work with another. Some non-military actors may be reluctant to work closely with military actors. Some non-military actors may even avoid any interaction. Change will be constant and therefore this requires primarily CIMIC capabilities to constantly adapt to their environment and to embrace a broad spectrum of interaction.

The commitments that non-military actors devote themselves to are not only found in the area of humanitarian assistance or disaster relief. They are spread over a vast spectrum from immediate aid to save lives, via medium-term engagement in the broader field of time-limited assistance, up to long-term economic development projects, including infrastructural stabilization, educational aspects, conflict resolutions or society-developing issues in general but not limited. This variety of approaches results in different agendas, structures and procedures. All of these actors and their actions have an impact on the overall situation and therefore must be part of the military considerations.

A detailed analysis of the key non-military actors in the area of operations should be conducted as part of a pre-deployment assessment to determine how the force should interact with these actors in pursuit of a comprehensive approach. Factors for consideration could include organizational roles, mandates, missions, aims, goals, resources, interests and capacity. Understanding these factors enables the commander to minimize friction when interacting with them.


The field of language, and terminology in particular, requires the attention of both military and non-military organizations. The different use of terms can cause misunderstanding and create loss of efficiency. Awareness and communications training provides CIMIC personnel with the tools needed to avoid many difficulties in this area and enables them to function as a force multiplier to provide best support in the fields of humanitarian aid and humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian Assistance is aid to an affected population that seeks, as its primary purpose, to save lives and alleviate suffering of a crisis-affected population. Humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the basic humanitarian principles. In case of emergency and disaster relief most civil actors use the term “humanitarian aid” instead of “humanitarian assistance”.

Core Humanitarian Principles provide the foundations for humanitarian action. There are four humanitarian principles:

Humanity. Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found. The purpose of humanitarian action is to alleviate human suffering, to protect life and health, and ensure respect for human beings

Impartiality. Humanitarian assistance and action must be carried out impartially, on the basis of need alone, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress and making no distinctions on the basis of nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Neutrality. In order to continue to have the confidence of all parties involved, humanitarian actors must act neutrally and must not take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence. To ensure humanitarian actors’ ability to act in accordance with neutrality, the principle of independence was formulated, to highlight that humanitarian assistance must be delivered autonomously from military, political or economic objectives.

These principles are central to establishing and maintaining access to affected people, whether in a natural disaster or a complex emergency, such as armed conflict. Promoting and ensuring compliance with the principles are essential elements of effective humanitarian coordination. The humanitarian principles are derived from the core principles, which have long guided the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the national Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies. The principles’ centrality to the work of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other humanitarian organizations is formally enshrined in two General Assembly resolutions. The first three principles (humanity, impartiality and neutrality) are endorsed in General Assembly resolution 46/182, which was adopted in 1991. General Assembly resolution 58/114 (2004) added independence as a fourth key principle underlying humanitarian action. The General Assembly has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of promoting and respecting these principles within the framework of humanitarian assistance.

Commitment to the principles has also been expressed at an institutional level by many humanitarian organizations. Of particular note is the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and NGOs in disaster relief. The code provides a set of common standards for organizations involved in humanitarian activities, including a commitment to adhere to the humanitarian principles. More than 492 organizations have signed the Code of Conduct. Also of note is the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response elaborated by the Sphere Project and contributing to the demographic change worldwide, HelpAge International and Handicap International published the “Humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities” in 2018 as the latest contribution to the International “Human Standards Partnership”.

Above mentioned 4 core humanitarian principles are only a nucleus. The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) sets out nine commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. These three standard documents use the language of human rights to remind that all people have the right to life with dignity which has a broader bearing than Humanity and reflects the “Sustainable Development Goals 2030” set in force in 2016 by the United Nations.

A large group of non-military actors consists of humanitarian and development actors, which are not mutually exclusive.

a.Humanitarian actors. Humanitarian actors are civilians, whether national or international, engaged in humanitarian action with a clear commitment to humanitarian principles. This commitment is usually laid down in their legal mandates, mission statements and statutes. Military forces that deliver humanitarian assistance are not considered humanitarian actors.

Activities of humanitarian actors are governed by humanitarian principles. Humanitarian actors must engage in dialogue with all parties to conflict for strictly humanitarian purposes. This includes ongoing liaison and negotiation with non-state armed groups. Humanitarian actors’ compliance with humanitarian principles affects their credibility, and therefore their ability to enter into negotiations with relevant actors and establish safe access to affected people. There are multiple pressures on humanitarian actors to compromise humanitarian principles, such as providing humanitarian aid as part of efforts to achieve political ends. Maintaining principled humanitarian action in the face of these pressures is an essential task, but not an easy one.

Adhering to humanitarian principles, in particular neutrality and impartiality, and being perceived as doing so, is critical for humanitarian actors to ensure access to affected people, in particular in times of armed conflict. It can also make a significant difference to the security of humanitarian personnel and the people they assist. Humanitarian actors will have to try constantly to negotiate their legitimacy based on the perception of the local population. Humanitarian principles are crucial for humanitarian actors to avoid being misused by some and rejected by others. Most humanitarian actors will only interact with the military if humanitarian principles are not compromised.

Humanitarian action comprises assistance, protection and advocacy activities undertaken on an impartial basis in response to humanitarian needs resulting from armed conflicts, complex emergencies and/or natural disasters. The primary objective of humanitarian action is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It focuses on short-term emergency relief and is needs-based.

The humanitarian community is not a constituted system with a defined membership. It comprises a large number of humanitarian organisations that differ considerably depending on their individual role and reason of existence.

The humanitarian community does not consider all acts of charity or emergency relief as humanitarian assistance and not all providers of relief as humanitarian actors. ‘Humanitarian’ for the humanitarian community refers to organizations and actions guided by humanitarian principles. These principles define how humanitarian assistance is delivered. The cornerstone lies with the upholding of the humanitarian imperative, and must be separate from any political considerations. Access for humanitarian actors to communities in need must therefore be granted.

b.Development actors. Development actors seek to respond to ongoing structural issues that may hinder economic, institutional and social development and therefore help to create the necessary capacity needed to provide sustainable solutions.

In the context of human development it usually encompasses foreign aid, governance, healthcare, education, poverty reduction, gender equality, disaster preparedness, infrastructure, economics, human rights, environment and issues associated with these but there is no common understanding, or rigid formula, of what a development organization is. They vary in size, scale and function.

Development aid is financial based aid given by governments and other agencies or private stakeholders like foundations to support economic, environmental, social, and political development of developing countries.

The horizon of support is laid down for a middle or long-term period up to multi annual engagement by the partners.

For further Annex "Non-military Actors".