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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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Organisations working in partnerships should explain their commitment to the CHS, seek understanding of how their partners3 approach the Nine Commitments and do whatever they can to work with them to implement the CHS commitments.

iv. Claims Any individual or organisation involved in humanitarian action is encouraged to use and adopt the CHS and may state: “we are working towards application of the CHS”.

Organisations may only claim that they comply with the CHS if they have undergone objective verification against it.

See definition in glossary.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability v. Principled Humanitarian Action People are at the heart of humanitarian action. The primary motivation of any response to crisis is to save lives, alleviate human suffering and to support the right to life with dignity.

Humanitarian organisations recognise that the humanitarian imperative comes first and seek, therefore, to provide humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed.

Humanitarian action is guided by four widely accepted principles4:

• Humanity: Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found. The purpose of humanitarian action is to protect life and health and ensure respect for human beings.

• Impartiality: Humanitarian action must be carried out on the basis of need alone, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress and making no adverse distinction on the basis of nationality, race, gender, religious belief, class or political opinion.

• Independence: Humanitarian action must be autonomous from the political, economic, military or other objectives that any actor may hold with regard to areas where humanitarian action is being implemented.

• Neutrality: Humanitarian actors must not take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.5 Humanitarian principles are at the core of all humanitarian work. They guide humanitarian action and their application is essential to distinguish humanitarian action from other forms of activities and action. In the CHS, the four principles are integrated into the Commitments, Quality Criteria, Key Actions and Organisational Responsibilities.

International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and International Refugee Law set out fundamental legal standards relating to the protection of individuals and groups, and to the nature of the assistance which may be provided to them. The Sphere Humanitarian Charter summarises the core legal principles that have most bearing on the welfare of those affected by disaster or conflict.

Those who apply the Core Humanitarian Standard recognise the primary responsibility of states and other relevant authorities to protect and assist those affected by disasters or armed conflicts within their territories. Humanitarian action should not undermine these responsibilities; indeed, whenever possible, it should complement them.

The principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality are derived from: the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement proclaimed in Vienna in 1965 by the 20th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent; United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution 46/182, 19 December 1991; and UN General Assembly Resolution 58/114, 5 February 2004.

Some organisations, while committed to giving impartial assistance and not taking sides in hostilities, do not consider that the principle of neutrality precludes undertaking advocacy on issues related to accountability and justice.

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appropriate to their needs.

Quality Criterion: Humanitarian response is appropriate and relevant.

Key Actions 8b

1.1 Conduct a systematic, objective and ongoing analysis of the context and stakeholders.

1.2 Design and implement appropriate programmes based on an impartial assessment of needs6 and risks, and an understanding of the vulnerabilities and capacities of different groups7.

1.3 Adapt programmes to changing needs, capacities and context.

Organisational Responsibilities

1.4 Policies commit to providing impartial assistance based on the needs and capacities of communities and people affected by crisis.

1.5 Policies set out commitments which take into account the diversity of communities, including disadvantaged or marginalised people, and to collect disaggregated data.

1.6 Processes are in place to ensure an appropriate ongoing analysis of the context.

“Needs” includes assistance and protection.

This may refer, for example to: women, men, girls, boys, youth, and older persons, as well as persons with disabilities and specific minority or ethnic groups without any such distinction.

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2. Communities and people affected by crisis have access to the humanitarian assistance they need at the right time.

Quality Criterion: Humanitarian response is effective and timely.

Key Actions 8a 9

2.1 Design programmes that address constraints so that the proposed action is realistic and safe for communities.

2.2 Deliver humanitarian response in a timely manner, making decisions and acting 8b without unnecessary delay.

2.3 Refer any unmet needs to those organisations with the relevant technical expertise and mandate, or advocate for those needs to be addressed.

2.4 Use relevant technical standards and good practice employed across the humanitarian sector to plan and assess programmes.

2.5 Monitor the activities, outputs and outcomes of humanitarian responses in order to adapt programmes and address poor performance.

Organisational Responsibilities

2.6 Programme commitments are in line with organisational capacities.

2.7 Policy commitments ensure:

a. systematic, objective and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of activities and their effects;

b. evidence from monitoring and evaluations is used to adapt and improve programmes; and c. timely decision-making with resources allocated accordingly.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability

3. Communities and people affected by crisis are not negatively affected and are more prepared, resilient and less at-risk as a result of humanitarian action.

Quality Criterion: Humanitarian response strengthens local capacities and avoids negative effects.

Key Actions

3.1 Ensure programmes build on local capacities and work towards improving the resilience of communities and people affected by crisis.

3.2 Use the results of any existing community hazard and risk assessments and preparedness plans to guide activities.

3.3 Enable the development of local leadership and organisations in their capacity as first-responders in the event of future crises, taking steps to ensure that marginalised and disadvantaged groups are appropriately represented.

3.4 Plan a transition or exit strategy in the early stages of the humanitarian programme that ensures longer-term positive effects and reduces the risk of dependency.

3.5 Design and implement programmes that promote early disaster recovery and benefit the local economy.

3.6 Identify and act upon potential or actual unintended negative effects in a timely

and systematic manner, including in the areas of:

a. people’s safety, security, dignity and rights;

b. sexual exploitation and abuse by staff;

c. culture, gender, and social and political relationships;

d. livelihoods;

e. the local economy; and f. the environment.

Organisational Responsibilities

3.7 Policies, strategies and guidance are designed to:

a. prevent programmes having any negative effects, such as, for example, exploitation, abuse or discrimination by staff against communities and people affected by crisis; and b. strengthen local capacities.

3.8 Systems are in place to safeguard any personal information collected from communities and people affected by crisis that could put them at risk.

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and entitlements, have access to information and participate in decisions that affect them.

Quality Criterion: Humanitarian response is based on communication, 8b participation and feedback.

Key Actions

4.1 Provide information to communities and people affected by crisis about the organisation, the principles it adheres to, how it expects its staff to behave, the programmes it is implementing and what they intend to deliver.

4.2 Communicate in languages, formats and media that are easily understood, respectful and culturally appropriate for different members of the community, especially vulnerable and marginalised groups.

4.3 Ensure representation is inclusive, involving the participation and engagement of communities and people affected by crisis at all stages of the work.

4.4 Encourage and facilitate communities and people affected by crisis to provide feedback on their level of satisfaction with the quality and effectiveness of the assistance received, paying particular attention to the gender, age and diversity of those giving feedback.

Organisational Responsibilities

4.5 Policies for information-sharing are in place, and promote a culture of open communication.

4.6 Policies are in place for engaging communities and people affected by crisis, reflecting the priorities and risks they identify in all stages of the work.

4.7 External communications, including those used for fundraising purposes, are accurate, ethical and respectful, presenting communities and people affected by crisis as dignified human beings.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability

5. Communities and people affected by crisis have access to 8a 9 safe and responsive mechanisms to handle complaints.

Quality Criterion: Complaints are welcomed and addressed.

Key Actions 8b

5.1 Consult with communities and people affected by crisis on the design, implementation and monitoring of complaints-handling processes.

5.2 Welcome and accept complaints, and communicate how the mechanism can be accessed and the scope of issues it can address.

5.3 Manage complaints in a timely, fair and appropriate manner that prioritises the safety of the complainant and those affected at all stages.

Organisational Responsibilities

5.4 The complaints-handling process for communities and people affected by crisis is documented and in place. The process should cover programming, sexual exploitation and abuse, and other abuses of power.

5.5 An organisational culture in which complaints are taken seriously and acted upon according to defined policies and processes has been established.

5.6 Communities and people affected by crisis are fully aware of the expected behaviour of humanitarian staff, including organisational commitments made on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

5.7 Complaints that do not fall within the scope of the organisation are referred to a relevant party in a manner consistent with good practice.

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6. Communities and people affected by crisis receive coordinated, complementary assistance.

Quality Criterion: Humanitarian response is coordinated and complementary.

Key Actions

6.1 Identify the roles, responsibilities, capacities and interests of different stakeholders.9

6.2 Ensure humanitarian response complements that of national and local authorities10 and other humanitarian organisations.

6.3 Participate in relevant coordination bodies and collaborate with others in order to minimise demands on communities and maximise the coverage and service provision of the wider humanitarian effort.

6.4 Share necessary information with partners, coordination groups and other relevant actors through appropriate communication channels.

Organisational Responsibilities

6.5 Policies and strategies include a clear commitment to coordination and collaboration with others, including national and local authorities, without compromising humanitarian principles.

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