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3. Civil-military coordination

NGOs frequently find themselves operating in the same environments as military actors. While some degree of interaction and dialogue with the military may be necessary, the level of interaction will depend on the context and the military’s role within it, the level of needs on the ground, and the risks to staff and beneficiaries.

[toolbox-standout-box]Essential dialogue and interaction between military forces and humanitarian organisations may be required to promote humanitarian principles, secure access, protect staff and beneficiaries, and in some instances, to support the delivery of assistance.[/toolbox-standout-box]

Civil-military coordination is particularly challenging in complex emergencies or high-risk environments. A lack of clear separation between humanitarian and military activities can have serious implications for humanitarian space, how organisations are perceived, and the security of staff. 

Where essential dialogue and interaction is required in order to facilitate access, protect staff and beneficiaries, or support the delivery of assistance, NGOs must safeguard their independence and impartiality, and ensure that any relationship with the military does not negatively affect the security of staff, partners and beneficiaries.

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