Advocacy to promote logistics in humanitarian aid

Michael C. Whiting (Global Logistics and Supply Chain Solutions Ltd, Saltash, Cornwall, UK)
Beatriz E. Ayala‐Öström (Interconsult and Partners, Woburn Sands, Bucks, UK)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 2 October 2009



This paper aims to examine some of the more effective means of advocacy focused on promoting the unique role of logistics in the delivery of much needed humanitarian aid, and outlines some of the challenges as experienced in the outcomes of recent disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004.


The paper draws from the limited literature available in humanitarian relief, the authors' first hand experience, input from colleagues in humanitarian logistics performance measures, attitudes in both the private sector and the humanitarian aid sector and other management factors to discuss how the role of logistics is still undervalued and under resourced.


Strategic investment in logistics for humanitarian aid will impact positively on the delivery of humanitarian aid. Efforts are being made by NGOs, United Nations Agencies and to a lesser extent the donor community, but these efforts are fragmented.

Practical implications

If logistics in humanitarian relief is supported and valued the effectiveness and predictability of humanitarian response will improve. Even small improvements in efficiency in logistics will result in significant savings in logistics costs.


There is little published in logistics for humanitarian relief and disseminating the importance of logistics in humanitarian aid and the challenges it faces will assist the donor community, the NGOs and the field logisticians in raising the profile of logistics.



Whiting, M. and Ayala‐Öström, B. (2009), "Advocacy to promote logistics in humanitarian aid", Management Research News, Vol. 32 No. 11, pp. 1081-1089.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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