The link between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), i.e. the "grey area" between humanitarian aid and development, results from the difference between humanitarian aid and programmes of development co-operation as far as their objectives, procedures, time frames, partners, and types of interventions are concerned. Indeed, humanitarian aid meets the immediate needs of individuals during crises and is mainly provided by government and non-government organisations (NGOs), whereas development co-operation aims at supporting policies and strategies that correspond to the priorities of the partner country. LRRD programmes progressively take over from emergency aid so as to stabilise the economic and social situation and facilitate the transition towards medium and long-term development strategies.
The European Commission in a 2001 report recogninsed that better development could reduce the need for relief and that better relief could contribute to development, and the transition between the two is facilitated by rehabilitation. The report identifies three types of crises: natural disasters, for which the main challenge is disaster preparedness;armed conflicts, for which the main challenge is resolution of the origins of the crises;other types of crises, such as those caused by declining political, social and economic conditions. In order for the gap to be closed and for humanitarian aid to work better, there needs to be increased coordination between different parties, as well as a focus on the long-term.