The Nexus in practice: The long journey to impact

Published 31. Oct 2023|Updated 27. Oct 2023
With funding from the Swiss FDFA, NRC has been conducting research examining the operationalisation of Nexus approaches and its impact on Principled Humanitarian Action in five case study contexts, namely: Libya, Iraq, Cameroon, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

The aim was to understand to what extent and how nexus approaches are being implemented in these fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

From the research of these five diverse contexts, several different modalities for the operationalisation of Nexus approaches emerge, including a localised and area-specific nexus approach in Cameroon; transitions away from humanitarian to Nexus or Durable Solutions response and coordination structures in Libya and Iraq; and an overreliance on repeated short-term humanitarian assistance in Somalia and Afghanistan, without sufficient complementary investments that address the underlying root causes creating needs and vulnerabilities. These diverse approaches underline that while the Nexus is a clear concept in theory, in practice, its practical implementation at country level remains unclear.

Financing was also reaffirmed as a main barrier to the advancement of nexus approaches, with few examples of donors having taken adequate steps to improve quality funding for fragile and conflict affected contexts and coordinate financing between humanitarian and development donors. The research also uncovered a ‘grey-zone’ between the siloed division of humanitarian and development interventions. Rather than repeated, short-term emergency assistance, the protracted nature of needs and displacement in contexts like Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq calls for more sustainable interventions towards self-reliance and durable solutions. This raises questions about which actors are best placed to implement such "grey zone" interventions, as well as how those are best financed and coordinated.

Please find the full report below for many more findings from the five case studies as well as field-based lessons learned, good practice and recommendations to inform ongoing policy discussions on how to advance the HDP Nexus.