Peacebuilding & security
Human rights

Mitigating the unintended humanitarian impacts of UN targeted sanctions

[ICP 2021]
Written by
Published on
September 1, 2021


This project seeks to bring together UN Sanctions scholars with global humanitarian actors to explore ways to ameliorate the humanitarian consequences of UN targeted sanctions. It aims to produce tailored outputs and organize engagement activities to inform both humanitarian practitioners and sanction policy actors on practical ways to safeguard principled humanitarian action in areas under a sanction regime.


While considerable effort has been put into decreasing the unintended consequences of UN sanctions in the late 1990s and early 2000s, humanitarian impacts of sanctions seem to be on the rise in a number of different contexts.

Policymakers are increasingly questioning what urgent steps can be taken to resolve consequences related to over-compliance with sanctions and counter-terrorism regulation.

Numerous policy initiatives and research projects have sought to find solutions and highlighted the need for capacity building, clearer guidance, access to information, training, sharing of best-practices, and awareness-raising within and between relevant sectors (governments, financial institutions, humanitarian actors, and the wider private sector).

Collaboration between the scholarly and humanitarian community is vital. While the former is deeply familiar with sanctions and can thus serve as an important source of information for humanitarian actors, the latter’s experiences with both direct and indirect impacts of sanctions need to be better understood by scholars and policy practitioners.


This project aims to foster interaction across the academic-humanitarian-policy divide to make accessible new, policy- and practice-relevant scientific data on ways to mitigate the unintended humanitarian consequences of UN sanctions and ensure their effective dissemination via the digital policy tool UNSanctionsApp.


The humanitarian community has real time access to relevant information on how to mitigate negative humanitarian consequences of UN sanctions.

Key activities

  1. Cross-training of sanctions scholars and humanitarian practitioners
  2. Joint analysis of humanitarian and policy needs for scientific information on the unintended consequences of UN sanctions
  3. Research and synthesis of relevant evidence and information related all current UN sanctions regimes.
  4. Update of the Sanction App with new data and consultations of end-users.
  5. Production of relevant outputs to facilitate uptake by humanitarians and policy actors
  6. Engagement of key stakeholders to facilitate uptake, scaling and sustain science-policy-practice collaborations


1 August 2021 - 31 July 2022

Project core partners


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