Research Consultant

Research project on “Means to help facilitate safe access for essential service providers in situations of armed conflict based on the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, the emblems and other protective interventions”


The Movement Action Plan annexed to the Council of Delegates Resolution CD22/R6 on War in Cities (WiC) commits the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to strengthening its operational response to urban warfare with a particular emphasis on essential infrastructure (e.g., water, sanitation, electricity) on which the survival and well-being of civilians and functioning of other essential services (hospitals, communications) depends. The Action Plan aims to get the Movement to “collectively strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure”.

The Action Plan (see B.b.iii) also commits the Movement to “endeavouring to identify how the Fundamental Principles could be invoked more widelyto facilitate safe access for essential service providers to carry out their duties, includingto operate, maintain, assess and repair critical infrastructure”. It is evident that essential infrastructure, whether resilient or not, will only benefit civilians if essential service providers can safely access it to ensure its safe and continuous functioning.

The proposed study is intended to provide “food for thought” on how such access can be facilitated by Movement entities through a variety of interventions including, but not limited to, invoking the Fundamental Principles and protective and indicative uses of RC/RC emblems.

It is worth noting that within the framework of international humanitarian law only the “medical mission” is entitled to use the protective emblem to identify medical personnel, transports and facilities. Yet the medical mission itself depends upon essential infrastructure such as water, electricity and sanitation as do civilians, particularly in the context of urban warfare. This reality suggests that consideration is needed to identify how safe access can be more effectively assured for essential service providers even in times of armed conflict.


  • Review the international humanitarian law and statutory framework, including the Fundamental Principles, under which activities of the Movement and other humanitarian actors are protected. (This part will be covered by the NorCross legal advisers and, therefore, not be required of the consultant to write).
  • Review experiences of the ICRC and National RC/RC Societies in extending their own protection, or facilitating protection, to providers of services beyond the medical mission.
  • Analyze the extent to which the invocation of “humanitarian principles” by other organizations as well as civilian initiatives has been effective in providing access and protection in situations of armed conflict.
  • Identify options for interventions through which protected access for “essential service providers” could be more widely achieved.

Methodology and scope of work

Given its scope and objectives, the study should be based on a combination of methods including:

  • Desk research and analysis of relevant literature as well as primary and secondary sources to review existing practices, challenges, and successes in protecting essential service providers during armed conflict, and particularly in urban warfare contexts.
  • Key informant interviews with relevant ICRC, National RC/RC Society, and NGO personnel. Depending on identified cases, interviews with local authorities or civil defense representatives may also be required.

The research consultant will, furthermore, design a plan to address the objectives of the consultancy, with a clear timeline for the deliverables and a preliminary list of key informants for interviews. Close collaboration and consultations will take place on a regular basis with NorCross as well as concerned ICRC thematic experts.

The final result should be a report of approximately 20-25 pages, which will serve as a basis for internal discussions within the RC/RC Movement intended to generate engagement, provide additional options for action, and over time guidance on implementation of the WiC Action Plan. Citations of previously unpublished activities of particular actors within specific contexts may need to be anonymized or may be cited in the study with the authorization of the actor concerned.

Information gathered in the course of this study based on private interviews with or documents shared by Movement or other actors will be considered by the consultant to be confidential and may not be shared with other actors or published outside of the study itself. The final version of the published study for distribution within the Movement will be subject to the approval of the Norwegian Red Cross.

Reporting and timeline

The Consultant will work closely with the Senior Adviser for War in Cities as well as the Arms Consultant at the Norwegian Red Cross for the duration of the project and is expected to submit regular progress reports. The work will be reviewed at agreed times in the process by relevant NorCross colleagues and concerned ICRC thematic experts.

The consultancy is estimated to require 30 working days and intended to be conducted over 6 months, starting in June/July 2023.

Profile of the consultant

  • Fluent in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Spanish, Arabic, Russian and/or French an asset;
  • Proven expertise in qualitative research and strong analytical skills;
  • Excellent writing skills and proven experience in producing coherent written reports;
  • Good knowledge of the RC/RC Movement and the legal-policy frameworks within which it operates. Experience working within the Movement strongly preferred.
  • Minimum 3 years of field or policy experience related to interventions of humanitarian actors and/or of essential service providers during armed conflict, either in a technical, protection, or operations management function.
  • A good understanding of contemporary situations of armed conflict and their complex humanitarian consequences in urban areas.


The consultancy fees will be in line with the Norwegian Red Cross’ practice and in consideration of the consultant’s profile.

How to apply

Applications should be sent to and consist of

  • A CV,
  • A short proposal, detailing proposed approach, timeline and methodology (1-2 pages), including a budget proposal for the entire consultancy,
  • Examples of similar work already conducted and contacts in organizations for which the applicant worked in the past.

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