Between Expectation and Endeavor: UNDRO and the Problems of International Relief Coordination

  • Thomas W. Stephens


The danger of conceiving of international disaster relief reform within the framework of one organization is more than amply illustrated by the history of the United Nations Disaster Relief Office (UNDRO). Bureaucracies have their own agendas and, as Thomas Stephens convincingly argues, those agendas may have little to do with the purposes for which any one element in the organization was created. UNDRO is potentially a tribute to the humanitarian universalism and good will that first appeared at the San Francisco Conference and survived into the United Nations’ early days at Lake Success. However, in the pull and haul of daily politics at the United Nations in the present decade, UNDRO’s path to competence and recognition has been a tortuous one, and the journey is not over yet.


Disaster Relief Disaster Situation World Food Programme Relief Operation Relief Supply 
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Copyright information

© UNA-USA 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas W. Stephens
    • 1
  1. 1.Presidential Commission on World HungerUSA

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