Engaging with Access Working Groups: Good Practices and Opportunities

In light of the alarming large-scale instances of forced displacements recently recorded by the Global protection Cluster, compounded with the severe constraints limiting the access to around 50 to 75% of people in need of protection, there is a vital need for a stronger role of protection actors to play in terms of access analysis. In addition, it is critical for them to ensure the Do No Harm approach and protection lenses are applied while access to and from people in need is advocated for and negotiated.

In order to achieve these objectives, joint and coordinated efforts between protection clusters and access working groups is imperative to mitigate access constraints while successful negotiations remain to be a pre-requisite. This collaboration should go beyond technical and operational information-sharing related to humanitarian access arrangements (inc. information about humanitarian pauses, corridors, days of tranquillity, frontlines, ceasefires, etc.) aiming at mitigating/reducing protection risks and achieving protection outcomes.

While the risks that people face will differ from one conflict to another, people with certain characteristics may be exposed to heightened risk during armed conflict and regularly face specific access limitations that need to be particularly taken into consideration when negotiating access. This requires understanding and analysing in depth how conflict affects different individuals or groups in different ways, depending on their sex, gender, age and other factors such as ethnicity or specific needs, in order to provide an effective humanitarian and protection response. Since risks are not static and may change during the course of a conflict, updated and timely conflict and protection analysis must inform any action in conflict settings and access and protection strategy.