B.5 Emergency Management

Humanitarian response, also known as emergency management, is carried out in situations of disaster, conflict and crisis. It involves plans, structures and arrangements to engage government, voluntary and private agencies and other relevant stakeholders. It is carried out by a range of actors, including UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, non-government organisations and the beneficiary communities themselves, supported by multilateral and bilateral donors. Coordination between these actors is key to an effective response and is reiterated in key international mechanisms such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

Humanitarian response includes preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, development and prevention activities. It should be comprehensive and coordinated to respond to the whole spectrum of emergency needs.

Many signatory organisations have multiple mandates and will conduct work in humanitarian response as well as longer-term development.

Section B.5 of the ACFID Code of Conduct includes two sets of Standards each with respective Principles and Obligations.  Standard B.5.1 encourages signatory organisations to meet international standards in providing humanitarian assistance. Standard B.5.2 encourages signatory organisations to coordinate their response with other actors. Section B.5 Standards apply only to signatory organisations that undertake emergency management activities.
 

Browse Topics

B.5.1 International Standards

Principle

Signatory organisations commit to providing humanitarian assistance in times of disaster, armed conflict, internal displacement and protracted crisis according to internationally agreed standards and principles of ethical practice.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will incorporate the principles of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief into their work.
  2. Signatory organisations will adhere to the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response.
  3. When involved in the distribution of pharmaceuticals, signatory organisations endorse the Australian Guidelines for Drug Donations to Developing Countries and will strive to reflect the principles in their practices and advocacy.
  4. Signatory organisations will comply with International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law, Refugee Law and other relevant International Conventions.
  5. Signatory organisations will consider the principles of the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.

Why

In times of disaster, conflict and crisis, it is our collective humanitarian responsibility to respond – but organisations must respond in the right way. Any organisation that undertakes humanitarian responses is expected to uphold international humanitarian protection standards and principles.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting internationally recognised human rights including civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights and with particular emphasis on gender equality, the protection of children, people with a disability and the rights of minorities and vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Practical Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to improve its adherence to international standards and principles in providing humanitarian assistance:

Policy

  • Develop humanitarian response and disaster preparedness strategies that incorporate and reflect international humanitarian response standards
  • Formally adopt the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
  • Formally commit to the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Sphere Minimum Standards
  • Consider becoming a member of the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) which will replace the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP). Inform key stakeholders of the international standards to which you are committed through a full range of means, such as your website, partner agreements, donor requests, reports and staff induction and training
  • Develop formal emergency relief guidelines that incorporate and reflect international humanitarian protection principles and standards

Procedures

  • Train humanitarian response staff in sector codes and standards and legal obligations, and communicate with them on a regular basis to ensure these are upheld.
  • Provide information and training for staff and partners on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Emergencies and establish mechanisms to monitor compliance.
  • Invest resources in building the capacity of partner organisations to providing humanitarian assistance according to internationally agreed standards and principles of ethical practice through training, knowledge sharing and accompaniment
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation systems to assess compliance with humanitarian protection principles and standards
  • Establish systems for beneficiary communication and accountability, including feedback and complaints mechanisms
  • If you are sending funds, undertake due diligence to ensure that the party who receives them has committed to the relevant humanitarian response standards.

Drug donations

  • If your organisation provides pharmaceuticals or other forms of material relief, demonstrate your adherence to relevant guidelines, that could include but is not limited to:
    • Donations are based on the express wishes of the recipient and not distributed without prior consent
    • Donated drugs must be on the list of essential drugs of the recipient country, or if no such list is available, the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs
    • Donated drugs must comply with the quality standards of the recipient country and be authorised for use in that country
    • All donated drugs should have a shelf-life of at least 12 months upon arrival in the recipient country.

Resources

Cross-references to other standards

2 others found this useful.

Contact Us if you have any questions, comments or anything to share about this page.

B.5.2 Coordination with other Actors

Principle

Signatory organisations will coordinate their activities and work collaboratively with other actors to the greatest extent possible throughout the emergency management cycle of providing humanitarian relief.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will aim to be active participants in existing communication and planning networks and clusters.
  2. Signatory organisations will utilise the information gained from participation in networks to improve their disaster response.

Why

Coordination is vital in humanitarian response. Good coordination is based on an accurate assessment of needs and vulnerabilities, and then responding in an effective and efficient way, without duplication. The approach aims to be coherent and complementary, and builds upon local capacities.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), that coordinates humanitarian assistance between key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners, is one international example of the recognition of the need for humanitarian response actors to work collaboratively.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Active learning, innovation and continuous improvement of aid and development work
  • Strengthening civil society in Australia and the countries where work is undertaken.

Practical Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to work collaboratively with other organisations in your humanitarian responses: 

  • Partner with governments, where appropriate, and vulnerable communities in disaster preparedness, planning and risk reduction
  • Identify other actors who you may be able to support in emergency responses
  • Join, develop, maintain and contribute to emergency response networks
  • Require field staff to report on network meeting attendance and lessons learned
  • Where the cluster approach has been implemented, participate in cluster meetings
  • Contribute to joint needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Contribute to the establishment of standards for emergency management
  • Develop field manuals and engagement guidelines that emphasise the need for coordination
  • Maintain mechanisms for effective information management and reporting
  • Undertake internal review and reflection to document lessons learned.

Resources

Cross-references to other standards

1 others found this useful.

Contact Us if you have any questions, comments or anything to share about this page.