Displaying items by tag: Standards

Since 1999, UN peacekeeping missions have been explicitly mandated to protect civilians under threat. On the ground, however, there remains a significant degree of confusion amongst soldiers and civilians working within peacekeeping missions about what exactly this civilian protection mandate entails. This article provides a brief summary of Oxfam’s experiences of engaging with peacekeeping missions around their protection responsibilities in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad and Somalia. It argues that UN bodies and Member States must provide peacekeeping missions with better leadership and guidance to implement their protection mandate.   Civilian protection within UN peacekeeping Recent years…
The field of humanitarian studies – the study of how humanitarian crises evolve, how they affect people, institutions and societies, and the responses they trigger – is growing exponentially. The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) was established in February 2009 to promote dialogue between policy actors, implementing agencies, academics, consultants, policy researchers, and reflective practitioners, engaged in the study of humanitarian crises caused by natural disaster, conflict or political instability. Addressing a range of different disciplines - including international relations, international law, development studies, anthropology, conflict studies, public health and forced migration studies - the association provides a platform for…
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s approach to delivering aid is based on obtaining ‘acceptance’ of its work from the population, authorities and communities concerned. Acceptance here means that MSF seeks a social contract whereby its presence is respected by all parties to a conflict, including civilians, who all understand and accept that MSF’s humanitarian identity is central to its operations, and that MSF is there to assist those in need of emergency medical care. In practice, this approach is more complicated than it first appears. A lack of awareness of how we are perceived is proving to be a growing impediment…
Over the past 15 years, NGOs have focused much effort on improving collaboration amongst themselves to reduce duplication of effort and wasted resources, promote skilled institutional responses and simplify emergency response. Increasing complexity surrounding humanitarian policy and action, including challenges associated with climate change and the global economic crisis, further emphasise the urgency of collaboration and partnerships for improving the speed, quality and effectiveness of humanitarian response. By identifying factors affecting collaboration and partnership, this article outlines how effective NGO collaboration can enhance humanitarian response.   Humanitarian collaboration and the Principles of Partnership (PoP) The Inter-Agency Working Group (IWG) was…
First rolled out following the earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir in October 2005, the Humanitarian Reform process sought to address gaps in the international response to humanitarian crises, and to improve timeliness, effectiveness and predictability. The reform’s approach was three-pronged: first, the introduction of clusters to better coordinate sectoral responses and identify a lead agency which would provide predictable leadership and coordination and act as the provider of last resort; second, to improve the availability of quick-response funding through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), established in March 2006; and third, to improve humanitarian leadership by strengthening the role and…
In Issue 39 of Humanitarian Exchange (June 2008), Julian Srodecki of World Vision contributed an article entitled ‘Improving efficiency and effectiveness through increased accountability to communities: A case study of World Vision’s tsunami response in Sri Lanka’. The article outlines how the creation of a Humanitarian Accountability Team (HAT) in Sri Lanka led to various benefits, including increased financial efficiency, better teamwork among World Vision staff and improved coordination with other NGOs. On the fundamental issue of engagement with communities, however, Srodecki is far from convincing. Srodecki explains that HAT was meant to ‘... engage with communities to provide information,…
The Sphere Project was developed by thousands of stakeholders over the course of several years, starting in the early 1990s. It has one aim: to increase the quality of humanitarian assistance based on a set of agreed principles and standards. More recently, the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) has been launched to try to tackle another outstanding challenge in the provision of humanitarian aid, that of ensuring that disaster-affected people have a right to speak and be heard about the assistance they may be receiving. HAP is perhaps the best known amongst several initiatives explicitly trying to address this problem in…
Although acute physical injuries are the leading cause of human mortality and morbidity in natural disasters, a significant proportion of deaths are a result of poor hygiene and sanitation, inadequate nutrition as well as insufficient health care services due to the destruction of healthcare structure and resources to cope with the diseases prevalent in the affected area. Whilst the provision of basic care following disasters usually focuses on the treatment of acute conditions like injuries, diarrhoea and respiratory infections, as well as more recently on psychosocial and mental health services, the provision of care for chronic diseases is rarely seen…
They constantly try to escape from the darkness outside and within by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. T. S. Eliot, The Rock There is no question that humanitarian organisations must be accountable, both in the sense of ‘giving account’ and ‘being answerable’ for the choices they make, the work they do and the resources they use. Nor is it debatable, given the often poor response to crises and the lack of transparency about results obtained, that far more accountability is needed. The issue is rather to whom, about what and for what…
This Network Paper discusses livelihoods-based livestock programming and its role in humanitarian emergency response. It highlights the importance of taking livelihood assets, in particular livestock, into account in responding to emergencies and describes how the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) Project has been developed to support this process. LEGS aims to promote the use of livelihood based livestock responses to emergencies, through building the capacity of humanitarian actors to plan and intervene appropriately. LEGS can also be used to assist in the evaluation of emergency responses by providing a framework and benchmark against which interventions can be reviewed. There…

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