Ambitions to fulfil accountability demands in humanitarian action are high, including for protection activities in armed conflict settings. However, from a Dunantist position, meeting accountability demands is often not only unsatisfactory for practical reasons, but is also inappropriate in view of humanitarian principles and flawed from related ethical perspectives. Regarding accountability primarily as a technical exercise, rather than as being linked to ethical perspectives on humanitarianism and its principles, may thus inadvertently contribute to reduced acceptability of, and ultimately reduced access for, humanitarian actors. Dunantist actors wishing to stay true to their ethical approach need new ways of thinking about accountability, a reflection which can serve as an example for an ongoing need to consider differences between actors within the humanitarian–development nexus.
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