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Accountability in Emercgencies

Accountability in emergencies is an active commitment by humanitarian actors and organizations to use power responsibly by taking account of, giving account to and being held to account by the people they seek to assist.

Harmonization and simplification of standards that adapt to significant changes in the operating environment and that can be used across all humanitarian actors led to the birth of Core Humanitarian Standards on quality and accountability (CHS). This is s set of Nine Commitments that organizations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide to the communities they work with.

The Nine CHS Commitments

  •  Communities and people affected by crisis receive assistance appropriate and relevant to their needs.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis have access to the humanitarian assistance they need at the right time.
  • 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.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis know their rights and entitlements have access to information and participate in decisions that affect them.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis have access to safe and responsive mechanisms to handle complaints.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis receive coordinated, complementary assistance.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis can expect delivery of improved assistance as organizations learn from experience and reflection.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis receive the assistance they require from competent and well-managed staff and volunteers.
  • Communities and people affected by crisis can expect that the organizations assisting them are managing resources effectively, efficiently and ethically.

 The CHS puts affected people and communities at the Centre of humanitarian action and promotes respect for their fundamental rights. Additionally, the CHS is supported by the right to life with dignity, and the right to protection and security during response. Knowing what humanitarian organizations have committed to will enable the beneficiaries to hold those organizations to account. This facilitates accountability to people and communities affected by crisis. 

 Minimum Standards

 There are usually minimum standards that should be applied in order to ensure response to the affected communities is efficient and effective during implementation of the humanitarian response. These include:

  •  Participation and Inclusion of affected communities
  •  Transparency and information sharing
  •  Existence of a complaints and resolution mechanism
  •  Community-led monitoring evaluation and learning
  •  Financial accountability
  •  Ensuring that the communities affected by crisis can hold state and other humanitarian stakeholders to account.

Communities we work with

 To support the consistent and systematic implementation of CHS Key Actions, Action Aid developed Accountability in emergencies resource book which provides guidance and key principles on addressing accountability in emergency programs, and describes some of the main components of accountability to communities.

ActionAid works with communities and local organizations to support them to hold agencies (including national governments; donors; INGOs) to account, and to ensure that they are responding appropriately to the needs expressed by the communities themselves.