Humanitarian Affairs

Representatives from DFAIT and CIDA at Site de Portail de Leogane

START is responsible for the monitoring, development and coordination, in collaboration with other government departments, of Canadian foreign policy relating to humanitarian affairs. This applies to both conflicts and natural disasters and includes responsibility for coordinating the Government of Canada’s response to natural disasters abroad where a whole-or-government response is required. Furthermore, START provides policy advice on humanitarian affairs, reflects on lessons identified from humanitarian crisis responses and promotes humanitarian principles in numerous international fora. START thereby ensures that Canada maintains a sophisticated and coherent inter-departmental approach to humanitarian emergencies.

START is committed to enhancing the Government of Canada’s capacity to provide humanitarian policy leadership that will enable it to:

  • Monitor international humanitarian issues
    By working with other government departments, the international community and civil society groups
  • Address gaps in humanitarian response
    By providing strategic policy advice on key humanitarian issues, including: building capacity for humanitarian crises response; developing Canadian and international guidelines for civilian-military coordination; and ensuring the physical and legal protection of civilians in armed conflict
  • Promote humanitarian principles
    in such areas as: the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the search for durable solutions to displacement; the safety and security of humanitarian workers; international humanitarian law; and sexual and gender-based violence in crisis contexts