New publication: Viewing Humanitarian Project Closure Through the Lens of an Ethics of the Temporary

New publication by members of the humanitarian health ethics research group as part of a project on the ethics of closing humanitarian projects.

Link to article:



In this paper, the authors propose a new lens to examine international humanitarian organizations’ responsibilities in the context of project closure, what authors call “an ethics of the temporary”. The authors offer this as an orienting ethical ideal to facilitate the moral imagination of humanitarian planners, practitioners and stakeholders.


The authors drew on recent philosophical work on responsibilities for global justice to analyze an ethical concern inherent to humanitarian practice, the proper scope of responsibility in the context of closure of humanitarian projects.


The ethics of the temporary includes four elements: situating humanitarian action temporally with attention to the past and how it shapes a current crisis and crisis response, focusing attention on anticipating and seeking to mitigate potential harm, promoting sustainability and greater equity going forward and emphasizing inclusive, collaborative approaches. The authors propose a set of questions that can foster discussion and reflection about the scope of humanitarian responsibilities at project closure.

Practical implications

Although the authors’ work is primarily conceptual, it has many practical implications for humanitarian policy and practice. It can support critical reflection and offers a process for considering the scope of responsibility at project closure and decisions around how to close a given intervention in a manner that avoids causing harm and advances equity.


Very little work has been done on ethical closure of humanitarian projects. Most literature offers critiques. This essay contributes a new approach to closure, the ethical ideal and practice of an ethics of the temporary


Eckenwiler, L.Hunt, M.R.Crismo, J.J.L.G.Conde, E.Hyppolite, S.-R.Luneta, M.Munoz-Beaulieu, I.Mohammed Saeed, H. and Schwartz, L. (2023), “Viewing humanitarian project closure through the lens of an ethics of the temporary”, Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: