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«Core Humanitarian STANDARD Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability Published by: CHS Alliance, Group URD and the Sphere Project. ...»

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Core Humanitarian


Core Humanitarian

Standard on Quality

and Accountability

Published by: CHS Alliance, Group URD and the Sphere Project.

First edition: 2014

ISBN: 978-2-8399-1564-9

© All rights reserved. The copyright of the material contained herein is held by CHS Alliance, Group URD

and the Sphere Project. It may be reproduced for educational purposes, including in training, research

and programme activities, provided that the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability is acknowledged. To translate or adapt all or any part of the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability, prior written permission must be obtained by emailing info@corehumanitarianstandard.org.

Foreword The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) is a direct result of the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI) in which the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) International, People In Aid and the Sphere Project joined forces to seek greater coherence for users of humanitarian standards. The JSI consulted more than 2,000 humanitarian workers in head offices, regions and in disaster-prone countries. The feedback highlighted the need for the harmonisation of standards, with communities and people affected by crisis at the centre and humanitarian principles as the foundation.

The CHS is the result of a 12-month, three-stage consultation, during which humanitarian workers, communities and people affected by crisis, several hundred Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and networks, governments, United Nations and donor agencies, and academics rigorously analysed the content of the CHS and tested it at headquarters and field level.

The feedback from each consultation was then considered and the revisions approved by a 65-person Technical Advisory Group representing a broad spread of constituencies and areas of technical expertise in humanitarian action and standards development.

It is the intention of the boards of HAP International, People In Aid and the Sphere Project that the CHS will replace the 2010 HAP Standard in Accountability and Quality Management, the People In Aid Code of Good Practice in the Management and Support of Aid Personnel and the Core Standards section of the Sphere Handbook.

Acknowledgements Thank you to the many hundreds of organisations and individuals who participated in the development of the CHS by giving feedback on the drafts of the CHS, by testing it within their organisations1, or by participating in one of the groups that oversaw the CHS consultation process. The involvement of a diverse range of communities and people affected by crisis in the consultation and testing process was particularly welcome.

In their efforts to harmonise standards, HAP International, People In Aid and the Sphere Project were joined by Groupe URD who integrated the Quality COMPAS reference framework into the CHS. The CHS Technical Advisory Group and its sub-group, the Technical Steering Committee, were responsible for overseeing the consultation process and final approval of the CHS. The CHS Writing Group was tasked with revising the CHS incorporating the feedback received from every stage of the consultation.

To ensure that the outcomes reached were inclusive, representative and objective, the CHS consultation process was independently facilitated by the WolfGroup Consultants.

A full list of those organisations that tested the CHS can be found at www.corehumanitarianstandard.org A full list of members of the Technical Advisory Group, the Technical Steering Group and the Writing Group can be found at www.corehumanitarianstandard.org. Without their tireless support, the CHS consultation would not have been possible.

The Core Humanitarian Standard process was generously supported through core and project funding from the following donors: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD);

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida); Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany; Irish Aid; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; UK Aid from the UK Government; and The United States Government.

HAP International, People In Aid and the Sphere Project would also like to thank the following board members for their financial contributions to the CHS process: ACT Alliance; ActionAid International; Aktion Deutschland Hilft; British Red Cross; Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD); CARE International; Christian Aid;

Community World Service Asia; DanChurchAid; The Lutheran World Federation;

Save the Children International; Save the Children US; and World Vision International.

Feedback Comments on the CHS are welcome at any time, and can be sent, along with enquiries, to info@corehumanitarianstandard.org.

Review All comments received will be addressed in the revision of the CHS, which will be undertaken no later than December 2019. For more information about The Core Humanitarian Standard, related resources and other documents under development, please visit www.corehumanitarianstandard.org.

A note on translations The Core Humanitarian Standard will be made available in Arabic, French and Spanish.

If you would like to translate the CHS into an additional language, please contact info@corehumanitarianstandard.org for guidance on translations. All translations will be free to access at www.corehumanitarianstandard.org.

–  –  –

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) sets out Nine Commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. It also facilitates greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis: knowing what humanitarian organisations have committed to will enable them to hold those organisations to account.

The CHS places communities and people affected by crisis at the centre of humanitarian action and promotes respect for their fundamental human rights. It is underpinned by the right to life with dignity, and the right to protection and security as set forth in international law, including within the International Bill of Human Rights.2 As a core standard, the CHS describes the essential elements of principled, accountable and high-quality humanitarian action. Humanitarian organisations may use it as a voluntary code with which to align their own internal procedures. It can also be used as a basis for verification of performance, for which a specific framework and associated indicators have been developed to ensure relevance to different contexts and types of organisation.

The International Bill of Rights includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols.

2 www.corehumanitarianstandard.org The CHS can be promoted and implemented by individuals, organisations, coordinating bodies, consortia and other groups undertaking or contributing to humanitarian action.

Although primarily intended for the humanitarian sector, the CHS can be used by any organisation to bring better quality and greater accountability to all aspects of its work with communities and people affected by crisis.

The CHS is the result of a global consultation process. It draws together key elements of

existing humanitarian standards and commitments. These include but are not limited to:

• The Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief;

• The 2010 HAP Standard in Accountability and Quality Management;

• The People In Aid Code of Good Practice in the Management and Support of Aid Personnel;

• The Sphere Handbook Core Standards and the Humanitarian Charter;

• The Quality COMPAS;

• The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Commitments on Accountability to Affected People/Populations (CAAPs); and

• The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Criteria for Evaluating Development and Humanitarian Assistance.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability

–  –  –

4 www.corehumanitarianstandard.org ii. Structure of the Core Humanitarian Standard The CHS is a set of Nine Commitments to communities and people affected by crisis stating what they can expect from organisations and individuals delivering humanitarian assistance. Each Commitment is supported by a Quality Criterion that indicates how humanitarian organisations and staff should be working in order to meet it. The CHS

is structured as follows:

• the Nine Commitments;

• supporting Quality Criteria;

• Key Actions to be undertaken in order to fulfil the Commitments; and

• Organisational Responsibilities to support the consistent and systematic implementation of the Key Actions throughout the organisation.

The Key Actions and Organisational Responsibilities, respectively, describe:

• what staff engaged in humanitarian action should do to deliver high-quality programmes consistently and to be accountable to those they seek to assist; and

• the policies, processes and systems organisations engaged in humanitarian action need to have in place to ensure their staff provide high-quality, accountable humanitarian assistance.

A glossary of terms used in the CHS with a specific definition is included at the end of this document.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability iii. Applying the CHS Organisations committing to the CHS aim to fulfil all Nine Commitments. As a minimum, they are expected to work to continuously improve their systems, structures and practices in order to consistently improve the quality and accountability of their humanitarian responses. However, the organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian action are diverse. They need to act in a timely manner, and adapt their actions to the capacities and mandate of their organisations, as well as the phase and circumstance of the crisis they find themselves in.

When organisations encounter difficulties fulfilling the Nine Commitments, they should acknowledge this and consider how to address the issues preventing them from doing so. Organisations should learn from situations such as these, developing ways to overcome the constraints they come up against.

Any analysis of the application of the CHS should be based on the degree to which any given organisation is working to achieve the Nine Commitments and not simply on whether Key Actions have been implemented and/or Organisational Responsibilities discharged. The Key Actions required by the CHS, therefore, need to be adapted to the context.

The CHS applies to organisations and individuals that:

• deliver direct assistance to communities and people affected by crisis;

• provide financial, material or technical support to other organisations, but do not directly take part in providing assistance; or

• combine both these approaches.

The CHS is designed to be used in a range of ways by those involved in humanitarian

action, including as a means to:

• facilitate greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis, and improve the quality of services provided to them;

• develop workplans for progressive implementation of the CHS and continuous improvement;

• monitor quality and accountability, using the CHS as a framework to support existing organisational and technical standards;

• self-assess and improve the quality of programmes;

• verify or certify conformity, and to demonstrate this conformity to others; and

• assess, where relevant, how far internal processes and support for staff meet the actions and organisational responsibilities set out within the CHS.

6 www.corehumanitarianstandard.org Organisations that decide to use the CHS should promote it both within their organisation and externally.

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