The elephant in the room: collaboration and competition among relief organizations during high-profile disasters

J Clin Ethics. 2010 Winter;21(4):328-34.


The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that assume the bulk of emergency care during large-scale disasters in the developing world must expend considerable time and resources to ensure donations to sustain their field operations. This long-standing dilemma for the humanitarian community can create a competitive environment that: Compromises the delivery and quality of services, Allows the effectiveness of operations to be compromised by a lack of cooperation and collaboration, Disrupts the timely and accurate coordination and analysis of outcome measures that are crucial to successful response in the future, and Undermines the long-term capacity of indigenous aid organizations. This article addresses problems and potential solutions for improved coordination and long-term capacity-building of humanitarian aid.

MeSH terms

  • Altruism*
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Disasters*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Mass Casualty Incidents
  • Organizations / organization & administration
  • Private Sector / ethics
  • Private Sector / organization & administration*
  • Private Sector / standards
  • Relief Work / ethics
  • Relief Work / organization & administration*
  • Relief Work / standards
  • United Nations