Civil-military coordination

By operational volume and finance, humanitarian action is overwhelmingly a response to the impact of conflict and violence on people. Armed actors thus occupy the humanitarian operating environment in a variety of roles, and civil-military coordination responds to the need for coexistence, mutual respect, and a certain degree of cooperation. From flows of basic information to communication and security management, to negotiating consent and promoting respect for IHL, civ-mil coordination follows established principles and guidelines in order to reconcile the distinct objectives of the humanitarians and soldiers. Civ-mil coordination also governs the use, as a last resort, of military assets to assist in humanitarian action.

Soldier stands waiting while UN helicopter is landing

Photo: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

Key actors

Part of UN OCHA, CMCS is the focal point in the UN system for humanitarian civil-military coordination

Center providing expertise, courses, and resources on civil-military cooperation for both civilian and military actors

Provides educational programs and a research portal for scholars and practitioners working on issues related to civil-military coordination in humanitarian emergencies

PHAP certifications

Certification badge for Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE)

Knowledge about engagement with armed actors, including civil-military coordination, is covered by the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE) certification (competency statement 2.7).

Latest content

Key references

Guide for Civil-Military Coordination Officers and focal points in natural disasters and complex emergencies

Recommended practices for using Foreign Military Assets (FMA) while maintaining principled humanitarian action

Webinar recordings

External news

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