Humanitarian Negotiation

3 days
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Humanitarian Negotiation
About the training

Expertise in "humanitarian negotiation" has become a decisive and essential skill for humanitarian workers. The need to intervene in conflict situations exposes field teams to direct and often tense interaction with individuals capable of making threats, perpetrating violence or simply enforcing the legal powers they hold. The need to negotiate is not exclusively linked to minimizing security risks. It may involve obtaining the agreement of the relevant authorities to implement a project, authorization to carry out medical research or import certain products, or obtaining permission to use radio frequencies.

Securing access for humanitarian workers to populations at risk, and for populations to the services provided by NGOs, remains the main subject of negotiation.

Main objectives

The main objective is to learn and strengthen individual skills and create more institutional capacity to engage in humanitarian negotiations. The course covers both theoretical and practical aspects of humanitarian negotiation, and provides access to practical tools and materials for further self-learning after the course.

Learn about all the elements that could potentially form part of a negotiator's repertoire.


Training is based on two aspects: theory and practical exercises. The theoretical part is based on interactive presentations, examples drawn from the public and media material. The practical part is based on role-playing, simulations and feedback. The added value of the exercise will be the constructive feedback provided by observers and the exchange with peers. The contextual environment is introduced through readings, scenarios and unexpected events.

What will you learn?
  • The key concepts of "humanitarian negotiation".
  • The negotiation cycle and the components of a negotiation process.
  • Negotiation strategies and tactics.
  • Identify the "what" you are going to negotiate (negotiation objectives) as humanitarian and develop an appropriate argumentation.
  • Identify your organization's weaknesses and strengths when it comes to initiating and maintaining a humanitarian negotiation over the long term.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different bodies of law as tools of persuasion and sources of argumentation. In particular, international humanitarian law (IHL).
  • Analyze stakeholders and actors, and gain insight into their interests.
  • Evaluate and select the leverage your organization possesses for successful negotiation.
  • Formalize agreements in writing or orally.
  • Compile and monitor results and improve personal and institutional weaknesses.

Boost your career

Follow theoretical and practical course modules enriched by current feedback from the field.

Consultant testimonies

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