Early Recovery represents the suffusion of development principles into the humanitarian relief setting, purportedly improving the overall delivery of aid. But though it is described as a new adaptation of aidwork and solution to the challenge of contemporary emergencies, Early Recovery is ‘too late’: complex emergencies have evolved faster than the debates that produced their solution in Early Recovery. In addition, several challenges to aid are especially relevant in regard to Early Recovery - such as the lack of feedback loops and the erosion of human security. As well, the specific challenges of ‘timing’, ‘funding’ and ‘understanding’ plague Early Recovery, and given that these challenges will ultimately require their own individual adaptations, further debates will likely delay desperately needed solutions to complex emergencies. This paper reviews prevalent challenges to Early Recovery and proposes a means to potentially shorten the length of time it takes aid adaptations to emerge.
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