Token humanitarian intervention

Other Names:
Government exploitation of humanitarianism
Alibi relief
Palliative compassion
Surrogate aid

Humanitarian aid which deals with symptoms and not causes, and at the same time declares itself sufficient.


Food appeals for starving people on television serve to drain the giving capacity of people into acute relief without channelling funds to long-term remedial assistance. The lives that are "saved" may be lost in the next famine. The emergency helicopter "rescue" by the UK of a single child injured by shrapnel in the Bosnian war is a symbolic surrogate. No expense is spared and her operation and recovery are headline news, temporarily displacing the pervading cynicism, anger and hopelessness surrounding the "peace negotiations" and the cumulative misery associated with the war.

Narrower Problems:
Token development initiatives
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST