The IASC Reference Group on Principled Humanitarian Action (RG PHA) carries forward a number of work streams from the 2014-2015 workplan of the former IASC Task Team on Revitalising Principled Humanitarian Action (TT PHA). The former Task Team focused on four priority themes: namely (1) Civil-military relations and coordination (e.g. use of armed escorts); (2) UN integration, (e.g. implementation of the UN Integrated Assessment and Planning Policy); (3) Mitigating the impact of counter-terrorism measures (e.g. COTER toolkit); and (4) Improving risk analysis and management.
The Reference Group was requested by the IASC Working Group (WG) to implement relevant elements of the IASC Work plan 2016-2017. The work of the RG PHA is primarily related to the IASC Working Group Workplan Priority 1 – Effective response to Emergencies and Protracted Crises – although the group may support other IASC priorities as relevant, in particular with regard to humanitarian financing. As a Reference Group, its activities are not confined to the IASC Work Plan and the group acts as a platform for exchange of dialogue, policy and guidance development and advocacy for principled humanitarian action issues.
To help create an environment in which humanitarian actors can better access and respond to people in need, the IASC will promote adherence to, and the effective operationalization of, humanitarian principles in humanitarian operations and policies.
The Reference Group has three core work streams/priorities to enable it to meet its objectives and deliver on its tasks. These are: Priority 1- Humanitarian access is facilitated by improved awareness, application and integration of humanitarian principles at field level; Priority 2- Counterterrorism (CT) and Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) agendas remain clearly distinct from PHA, and better take into account the need to minimize impact on PHA; and Priority 3 - Improved protection of humanitarian action in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
Key activities in 2017 include:
- Contribute to a better understanding of the humanitarian principles (HPs) and support to their application at field level.
- Gather and share evidence of the impact of CT measures on principled humanitarian action amongst IASC members, and develop of a common template for CT and exemption clauses in donor contracts.
- Develop shared understanding regarding the intersection of Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism approaches and principled humanitarian action, including a 2 page information note.
- Develop a briefing paper on the impact of attacks on humanitarian action on principled humanitarian action and access of civilians to basic services
- Provide inputs and share information as required to other IASC bodies
- Act as platform for exchange of dialogue, policy and guidance development and advocacy with regards to principled humanitarian action.