Significant efforts have been made in the past few years to strengthen the quality and coordination of humanitarian needs assessments used for strategic decision-making. This complements state efforts where appropriate. Yet there remains a lack of shared understanding, expectations and commitment to the collective endeavor. The application of current approaches and tools falls short of meeting the decision-making requirements for various stakeholders for both programming and funding. The proliferation of uncoordinated needs assessments leads to duplication, wasted resources and putting a burden on affected populations. Grand Bargain Signatories require needs assessments that are impartial, unbiased, comprehensive, context-sensitive, timely and up-to-date. Needs assessments must provide a sound evidence base for humanitarian response plans and prioritized appeals with due regard for specific accountabilities of mandated agencies. To increase the confidence and the relevance of needs assessments for all humanitarian stakeholders, the needs assessment process must be coordinated, impartial, collaborative and fully transparent with a clear distinction between the analysis of data and the subsequent prioritization and decision-making. The involvement of specialists supporting data collection and analysis can strengthen the collective process. Independent reviews and evaluations can contribute to learning and improvement of practice.
Aid organisations and donors commit to:
- Provide a single, comprehensive, cross-sectoral, methodologically sound and impartial overall assessment of needs for each crisis to inform strategic decisions on how to respond and fund thereby reducing the number of assessments and appeals produced by individual organisations.
- Coordinate and streamline data collection to ensure compatibility, quality and comparability and minimising intrusion into the lives of affected people. Conduct the overall assessment in a transparent, collaborative process led by the Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator with full involvement of the Humanitarian Country Team and the clusters/sectors and in the case of sudden onset disasters, where possible, by the government. Ensure sector-specific assessments for operational planning are undertaken under the umbrella of a coordinated plan of assessments at inter-cluster/sector level.
- Share needs assessment data in a timely manner, with the appropriate mitigation of protection and privacy risks. Jointly decide on assumptions and analytical methods used for projections and estimates.
- Dedicate resources and involve independent specialists within the clusters to strengthen data collection and analysis in a fully transparent, collaborative process, which includes a brief summary of the methodological and analytical limitations of the assessment.
- Prioritise humanitarian response across sectors based on evidence established by the analysis. As part of the IASC Humanitarian Response Plan process on the ground, it is the responsibility of the empowered Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator to ensure the development of the prioritised, evidence-based response plans.
- Commission independent reviews and evaluations of the quality of needs assessment findings and their use in prioritisation to strengthen the confidence of all stakeholders in the needs assessment.
- Conduct risk and vulnerability analysis with development partners and local authorities, in adherence to humanitarian principles, to ensure the alignment of humanitarian and development programming.
Note: This applies to those entities participating in the IASC humanitarian response planning process.
Co-convenors: ECHO and OCHA