Fuels: A Humanitarian Necessity in 2003 Post-Conflict Iraq: The Role of the United Nations Joint Logistic Centre


The case covers the first deployment of a specialized structure, the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) Fuel Cell in the context of the 2003 Iraq crisis. It describes the operations and achievements of the Fuel Cell, a structure that addressed the serious logistics 'orphan issues' of fuels availability and sourcing for the whole humanitarian community. Given the recurrent importance of fuels during emergencies, the case ends by highlighting the need for the structure to be institutionalized within the UNJLC.

Teaching objectives

The case describes the main events that affected the evolution of the UNJLC Fuel Cell and issues tackled by the structure during the 2003 Iraq crisis. By highlighting the importance and usefulness of coordination among agencies during emergency relief operations and more specifically the power of information and its critical role in enabling logistical coordination, the case allows students to appreciate, discuss and discover a number of issues among which: i) The effectiveness of contingency planning in dynamic situations as advance planning helps anticipate challenges and opportunities facilitating flexible execution ii) The difference a specialized and neutral structure can make in bridging the communication gap between diverse stakeholders (humanitarian community, government and the military), iii) How a small and flexible structure can address and coordinate

  • AR2004
  • RD0705
  • AR0405