The Humanitarian Reform process was initiated by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, together with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in 2005 to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response through greater predictability, accountability, responsibility and partnership. Emergency response capacity has been reinforced at the global level according to an agreed division of labour. However, challenges still remain in deploying adequate leadership; putting in place appropriate coordination mechanisms at various levels and ensuring clear mutual accountabilities as evidenced by several major disasters over the past years. Furthermore, the application of the cluster approach has become overly process-driven and, in some situations, perceived to potentially undermine rather than enable delivery.
In light of the growing recognition of the weaknesses in the multilateral humanitarian response, the IASC Principals decided to review the current approach to humanitarian response and make adjustments, building on the lessons learned in 2010 and 2011. Based on an analysis of current challenges to leadership and coordination, the IASC Principals agreed in December 2011 to a set of actions that collectively represent a substantive improvement to the current humanitarian response model. Detailed information on agreed actions are available in the Chapeau and Compendium document.
Transformative Agenda Protocols
Following the agreement of the Transformative Agenda (TA) in December 2011, the Principals agreed the ‘TA Protocols’, which set the parameters for improved collective action in humanitarian emergencies.
Through an extensive consultation process with humanitarian partners and taking in consideration, lessons learned from the implementation of the 2012 protocols on “Humanitarian System-Wide Emergency Activation”, the IASC principals adopted the Scale-Up activation and related documents to replace the previous protocols of response to Level 3 Emergencies
The current and updated Protocols include the following documents:
- Protocol 1. Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation: Definition and Procedures [replacing Humanitarian System-Wide Emergency Activation: definition and procedures]
- Protocol 2. ‘empowered Leadership’ in a Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation [replacing Concept Paper on ‘Empowered Leadership’- revised March 2014]
- Responding to Level 3 Emergencies: What ‘Empowered Leadership’ looks like in practice (note this protocol is under revision)
- Reference Module for Cluster Coordination at the Country Level (revised July 2015)
- Humanitarian Programme Cycle Reference Module Version 2.0 (July 2015)
- Accountability to Affected Populations Operational Framework
- Inter-Agency Rapid Response Mechanism (IARRM) Concept Note (December 2013. Note this protocol is under revision)
- Common Framework for Preparedness (October 2013)
- Emergency Response Preparedness (draft for Field Testing, July 2015)
- Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment Guidance (Revision July 2015)