Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation

Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation

Timeline: Scaling-Up a response with the IASC Scale-Up protocols

IASC System-Wide Scale-Up Activation Timeline

Large-scale disasters have led the IASC to reform the humanitarian response system. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the IASC launched the Humanitarian Reform around coordination, leadership, humanitarian financing and partnership. Emergency capacity has been reinforced but challenges remained. Following the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods in 2010, the IASC launched the Transformative Agenda in December 2011, setting the parameters for improved collective response to major humanitarian crises

Scale-Up Protocols

Agreement around the concept of an IASC Humanitarian System-Wide Emergency Activation (referred to as a “Level 3 Response”) was a fundamental element of the Transformative Agenda.

The initial IASC Humanitarian System-Wide Emergency Activation (L3 Response) was put in place in 2012 to deliver a rapid, concerted mobilization of capacity and systems to enable accelerated and scaled-up assistance and protection over a short and focused duration. Although initially designed for sudden onset emergencies, most L3 activations were applied to large-scale protracted crises. And in some cases, the L3 designations lasted for a number of years.

Against this backdrop, and to improve the effectiveness of the IASC’s response to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation or sudden onset crisis, in November 2018, the IASC Principals endorsed the new system-wide emergency activation procedures, referred to as ‘SCALE-UP’.

The Scale-Up activation protocols layout the measures and procedures to be taken at the global and national levels to ensure that “the humanitarian system” is better placed to respond collectively and effectively in contexts where the gravity of the humanitarian situation justifies the mobilization of system-wide capacities and resources, beyond standard levels, to respond to critical humanitarian needs on the ground. This exceptional measure will only be applied for a time-bound period of up to six months (which can be exceptionally extended by another 3 months).

The following are the protocols and related documents:


Scale-Up Protocol for the Control of Infectious Disease Events

In addition to major humanitarian crises triggered by natural disasters or conflicts, infectious disease events, including outbreaks, can result in a Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up activation (i.e. ‘Scale-Up activation’) to ensure a more effective response.

Scale-Up activation procedures for infectious disease events build on the InterAgency Standing Committee (IASC) Scale-Up activation protocols, with adjustments to reflect the potential evolution of an infectious event, the roles of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Director-General and Member States under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), and the importance of non-IASC organizations in responding to infectious disease events. These procedures also recognize that many infectious hazards are of animal origin, with the response incorporating a ‘One Health’ approach.