At the global level Cluster Leads are accountable to the Emergency Relief Coordinator.
At the country level, the Humanitarian Coordinator – with the support of OCHA – has the
overall responsibility for ensuring the effectiveness of the humanitarian response and is
accountable to the Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Cluster Leads at the country level are accountable to the Humanitarian Coordinator for
ensuring adequate preparedness and effective responses in the sectors or areas of activity
concerned (this must obviously be done in ways that ensure the complementarity of the
various partners‟ actions and strengthen the involvement of national and local institutions)
The cluster approach itself does not imply that humanitarian actors are held accountable to
sector leads. Likewise, it does not demand accountability of non-UN actors to UN agencies.
Individual humanitarian organizations can only be held accountable to Cluster Leads in
cases where they have made specific commitments.
While Cluster Leads at the country level cannot be held accountable for the performance of
all cluster participants, they are accountable for ensuring, to the extent possible, adequate
strategic planning, operational response and establishment of coordination mechanisms.
In cases where partners consider that Cluster Leads are not adequately carrying out their
responsibilities, it is the responsibility of the Humanitarian Coordinator (at the country level)
and the Emergency Relief Coordinator (at the global level) to consult the relevant Cluster
Leads and the IASC, where necessary, and to propose alternative arrangements.
Finally, the cluster approach implies accountability to beneficiaries through commitments to
participatory and community-based approaches, improved common needs assessments and
prioritization, and better monitoring and evaluation.
Age, gender, and diversity mainstreaming is a strategy to promote gender equality and
respect for human rights, particularly women‟s and children‟s rights.
Urban self-settlement: Internally displaced persons from an urban background may decide
to settle in a town, occupying unclaimed properties or land, or settling informally.
Self-settled camps: IDPs may decide to settle in camps, independently of assistance from
local government or the aid community. Self-settled camps are often sited on state-owned or
communal land, usually after limited negotiations with the local population over use and
Planned camps: IDPs may decide to find accommodation on purpose-built sites and a full
services infrastructure is provided, including water supply, food distribution, non-food item
distribution, education, and health care, usually exclusively for the population of the site.
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 1
Collective centres: (Also referred to as mass shelters.) IDPS may decide to shelter in transit
facilities located in pre-existing structures, such as community centres, town halls,
gymnasiums, hotels, warehouses, disused factories, and unfinished buildings. They are often
used when displacement occurs inside a city itself, or when there are significant flows of
displaced people into a city or town.
The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is a programme cycle for aid organisations to
plan, coordinate, fund, implement, and monitor their response to disasters and emergencies,
in consultation with governments.
Since its inception, the CAP has become the humanitarian sector‟s main tool for
coordination, strategic planning and programming. As a planning mechanism, the CAP has
contributed to developing a more strategic approach to the provision of humanitarian aid. As
a coordination mechanism the CAP has fostered closer cooperation between governments,
donors, aid agencies, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organisations.
Working together in the world's crisis regions, they produce a Common Humanitarian Action
Plan (CHAP) and an appeal for funds.
Speaking with a common voice, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations have
been able to raise funds for immediate action, demand greater protection, get better access
to vulnerable populations and work more effectively with governments who can on Appeals
for a "one-stop" overview of humanitarian action, and help ensure that funds are spent
strategically and efficiently.
Consolidated Appeals present a snapshot of situations, response plans, resource
requirements, and monitoring arrangements. If the situation or people's needs change, any
part of an appeal can be revised at any time. Whenever crises break or natural disasters
occur, humanitarian partners develop a Flash Appeal to address people's most urgent
needs. This can later become a Consolidated Appeal.
Humanitarian Coordinators lead the process in the field and are responsible for preparing the
Consolidated Appeals, launched globally by the UN Secretary-General before the beginning
of each calendar year. Mid-Year Reviews are presented to donors in July of each year. The
Emergency Relief Coordinator is responsible for the CAP at headquarters.
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a stand-by fund established by the UN to
enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters and
armed conflicts. The CERF was established to upgrade the current Central Emergency
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 2
Revolving Fund by including a grant element based on voluntary contributions by
Governments and private sectors such as corporations, individuals, and NGOs.
CERF is intended to complement - not to substitute - existing humanitarian funding
mechanisms such as the Flash Appeal and UN Consolidated Appeals. The CERF provides
seed funds to jump-start critical operations and fund life-saving programmes not yet covered
by other donors.
A “cluster” is essentially a “sectoral group” and there should be no differentiation between the
two in terms of their objectives and activities. Both have the same ToR. The
IASC/Humanitarian Country Team decides on the terminology to be used, e.g. "clusters",
"sector groups", "working groups", "task forces" etc. To ensure coherence, standard
terminology should be used within each country and similar standards should be applied to
all the key sectors or areas of humanitarian activity.
The Cluster Approach is one element of the Humanitarian Reform. The intention of the
cluster approach is to strengthen overall levels of accountability for humanitarian response
and to ensure that gaps in response do not remain unaddressed because there are no
clearly assigned responsibilities. It aims to strengthen overall response capacity through
partnerships as well as the effectiveness of the response in five key ways by
1. Ensuring sufficient global capacity is built up
2. Identifying leadership in the gap sectors/areas of response
3. Improving partnership
4. Strengthening accountability. See accountability above.
5. Improving strategic field-level coordination and prioritization in specific sectors/areas of
response by placing responsibility for leadership and coordination of these issues with one
Because of global commitments to humanitarian reform, country level cluster leads may not
opt out of certain provisions of the cluster approach, such as "accountability" or
"partnerships" or "provider of last resort". There is no such thing as a "cluster lite" approach.
A Cluster Lead is an agency/organization that formally commits to take on a leadership role
within the international humanitarian community in a particular sector/area of activity, to
ensure adequate response, accountability and partnership. A Cluster Lead takes on the
commitment to act as the ”provider of last resort” (see definition below) in that particular
sector/area of activity, where this is necessary.
The Flash Appeal is a tool for structuring a coordinated humanitarian response for the first
three to six months of an emergency. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator triggers it in
consultation with all stakeholders. The government of the affected country is also consulted
as required. The Flash Appeal is issued between weeks two and four of an emergency. It
provides a concise overview of urgent life saving needs, and may include early recovery
projects that can be implemented within the timeframe of the Appeal.
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 3
Good Humanitarian Donorship
The Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative provides a forum for donors to discuss
good practice in funding humanitarian assistance and other shared concerns. By defining
principles and standards it provides both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a
mechanism for encouraging greater donor accountability.
Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach
The purpose of the Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach document is to provide
humanitarian personnel particularly in the field with preliminary guidance on how to
implement the cluster leadership approach. The document is enclosed as background paper
in the Humanitarian Reform module. The IASC has been tasked to update the Guidance
Note by March 2008.
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
These Guiding Principles address the specific needs of internally displaced persons
worldwide. They identify rights and guarantees relevant to the protection of persons from
forced displacement and to their protection and assistance during displacement as well as
during return or resettlement and reintegration.
Although they do not constitute a binding instrument, these Principles reflect and are
consistent with international human rights
The Guiding Principles should provide practical guidance to Governments, other competent
authorities, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs in their work with internally displaced
In a given country, upon the occurrence of a complex emergency or when an already existing
humanitarian situation worsens in degree and/or complexity, the UN Emergency Relief
Coordinator, on behalf of the Secretary-General and after consultation with the IASC, will
designate a Humanitarian Coordinator for that country.
The Humanitarian Coordinator serves as the representative of the Emergency Relief
Coordinator (and therefore of OCHA) in the country/region concerned. This person becomes
the most senior UN humanitarian official on the ground for the emergency, accountable to
the ERC for ensuring a quick, effective and well-coordinated assistance.
Depending on the context, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, in consultation with the IASC,
• Assign the functions of Humanitarian Coordinator to the Resident Coordinator for that
country, who therefore becomes Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. This is the normal
• Appoint a separate Humanitarian Coordinator because there is a need for extensive
political management and a massive humanitarian assistance requiring action by a range of
participants beyond a single national authority
• Appoint a Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, when an emergency occurs that involves
more countries at the same time. In such instances Resident/Humanitarian Coordinators of
countries in the region should work as a team under the guidance of the Regional
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 4
Humanitarian Community Partnership teams
While the IASC is intended to be an inclusive and representative mechanism for
humanitarian coordination, it remains largely UN-centric and it was thus recommended to
create an outreach mechanism for enhanced dialogue with NGO Consortia.
In July 2006, 40 leaders of UN humanitarian organisations, NGOs, the Red Cross/Red
Crescent movement, the IOM and the World Bank gathered in Geneva for the first meeting to
explore ways of enhancing the effectiveness of humanitarian response.
It was agreed to establish Humanitarian Community Partnership teams at the country level,
while respecting the integrity of the present UN country teams. These teams will be separate
from the UN humanitarian country teams already established, and will instead seek to
compliment the work of these teams, drawing equally on representation from international
and national NGOs, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, UN humanitarian
organisations and IOM. The Humanitarian Community Partnership Teams will seek ways to
strengthen collaborative work at the field level, including joint training, and to strengthen
NGO consortia. It was agreed that this approach should be piloted in up to three countries
over the coming year.
Support to IDPs in Somalia has been disjointed and ad hoc. In an effort to strengthen
the collaborative approach to better assist and protect IDPs, the IASC Country Team
began implementing the cluster approach to improve accountability and response of
humanitarian actors. As a result, the protection cluster has carried out an IDP profiling
exercise, establishing a protection monitoring network and tracking of population
movements. The approach also saw the increase of basic services such as water and
sanitation, health and education, to IDP settlements. This took place through NGOs,
given that capacity within the UN was minimal.
In Bossasso, Puntland, discussions between the international community and local
and regional authorities resulted in a 'road map' with concrete proposals to
operationalize a joint strategy. The ultimate goal is to provide basic services to 4,500
families. To date three plots have been allocated for resettlement and130 IDP
households and 30 urban poor households are being relocated.
The Humanitarian Reform aims to enhance humanitarian response capacity, predictability,
accountability and partnership. It represents an effort by the international humanitarian
community to reach more beneficiaries, with more comprehensive, needs-based relief and
protection, in a more effective and timely manner. The reform has four main objectives:
1. Sufficient humanitarian response capacity and enhanced leadership, accountability and
predictability in "gap" areas of response (ensuring trained staff, adequate commonly-
accessible stockpiles, surge capacity, agreed standards and guidelines).
2. Adequate, timely and flexible humanitarian financing (including through the CERF)
3. Improved humanitarian coordination and leadership (more effective Humanitarian
Coordinator (HC) system, more strategic leadership and coordination at the inter-cluster and
4. More effective partnerships between UN and non-UN humanitarian actors
More detailed information about the Humanitarian Reform can be found on the web site
Humanitarian Reform Review
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 5
An independent report commissioned by the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator &
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to assess the humanitarian response capacity of key actors
The IASC was established in 1992 following General Assembly Resolution that called for
strengthened coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is a unique inter-agency forum for
coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key UN and non-UN
humanitarian partners. Under the chairmanship of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the
IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the
various aspects of humanitarian response, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and
advocates for effective application of humanitarian principles.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee, along with the Executive Committee on Humanitarian
Affairs (ECHA) (only UN organisations), assists the Emergency Relief Coordinator as
strategic coordination and consultation mechanisms among key humanitarian actors.
Registration and Profiling is the systematic collection of data. They are used to determine
the size and characteristics of a particular group or population. Registration and profiling are
first and foremost key protection tools. The primary purpose is to identify beneficiaries and
understand their characteristics so that their needs can be met and their rights protected.
Unlike in refugee situations, there are no standard policies, guidelines, standards, and IT
tools to register IDPs. Until these are available, offices should ask themselves the following
questions before embarking on any kind of registration, demographic survey, or any other
data collection exercise: "What is the objective, who needs what information, and for what
purpose?" As the appropriate methodology may vary greatly from traditional refugee
registration, the term "IDP Profiling" has been introduced.
Profiling is a method of collecting the characteristics of the population in an aggregated
manner which can be generalised to the entire population. The objective of profiling is
primarily to obtain baseline information and subsequent overview of the population to allow,
for example, better targeting of assistance or understanding of dynamics among the
communities. As indicated above, registration data can be a basis for obtaining a profile of a
population. However, if the objective is to obtain the general characteristics of the population
only, there are many other methods that can be used - both quantitative methods
(estimation, survey, etc) and qualitative methods (key informant interviews, participatory
This has been defined through interagency agreement, as “the collaborative process of
identifying internally displaced groups or individuals through data collection, including
counting, and analysis, in order to take action to advocate on their behalf, to protect and
assist them and, eventually, to help bring about a solution to their displacement” . An IDP
profile is an overview of an IDP population that shows, at a minimum:
● Number of displaced persons, disaggregated by age and sex (even if only estimates)
● Location/s - Place of origin and place of displacement
This is understood to be „core data‟. Wherever possible, additional information could include,
but not be limited to:
● Cause(s) of displacement
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 6
● Patterns of displacement
● Protection concerns
● Humanitarian needs
● Potential solutions for the group / individual, if available.
The methods for profiling range from desk review, estimation, surveys, registration, focus
group discussions and key informant interviews.
Provider of Last Resort
The „provider of last resort‟ concept is critical to the cluster leadership approach, and without
it, the elements of predictability and accountability for an effective humanitarian response are
lost. It represents the commitment of cluster leads to do their utmost to ensure an adequate
and appropriate response. The determination of when last resort applies will usually depend
on the Humanitarian Coordinator and IASC Country Team‟s advice that critical needs are not
being met by existing responses.
The Cluster Lead ensures the joint assessment of needs and the capacities of different
actors within the cluster, in developing a strategy and response plan. Where there are critical
gaps in the response plan, the Cluster Lead, will do its utmost to ensure that these are
addressed, calling on relevant humanitarian partners. If this fails, the Cluster Lead may need
to commit itself to filling the gap. This commitment means ensuring adequate needs
assessment, project design, budgeting, fund-raising and implementation. In these efforts, the
Humanitarian Coordinator should be fully supporting the Cluster Lead. If, finally, funds are
not forthcoming for these activities, the Cluster Lead cannot be expected to implement these
activities, but should continue to work with the Humanitarian Coordinator and donors to
mobilize the necessary resources.
For cross-cutting issues such as Protection, Early Recovery and Camp Coordination, the
concept of „provider of last resort‟ will need to be applied in a realistic manner. One agency
as Cluster Lead cannot be held accountable for all aspects of the response in these areas.
Likewise, in the case of Camp Coordination, the Cluster Lead is not responsible for providing
all services in camps, but for ensuring that such services are provided by the relevant
clusters. The Cluster Lead for Camp Coordination is, however, the „provider of last resort‟ for
the overall planning, advocacy and support in all relevant areas.
Registration is a systematic method of collecting and recording data to ensure that the
person can be identified later on. It may include information about individuals or families; for
example their names, dates of birth, and sex. This information is collected, for a specific
purpose; be that to ensure assistance delivery, individual follow-up, or protection
intervention. A secondary use of registration data is for profiling - where collected
registration information is aggregated to understand the characteristics of the registered
population. The purpose of registration, and specifically how the information is to be used
determines the information fields that need to be collected in any registration exercise.
Registration in an IDP context:
Being an internally displaced person is not a legal status. IDPs have not crossed an
internationally recognised state border, and are mostly nationals or habitual residents in the
country of displacement. They have rights in the same way as other nationals who are not
displaced. Thus, registration policies and processes in respect of refugees cannot uncritically
be applied to IDP situations. The government is responsible under their national law, to
decide whether or not to register IDPs and for what purpose. In some IDP situations, the
government may determine criteria for giving IDP “status”. The international community has a
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 7
role in working with the government to make sure that government criteria abide by the
„Guiding Principles For Internal Displacement‟, and an international agency may assume an
operational role in support of the government where it does not have sufficient capacity to
carry out the task.
As such, one of the purposes of IDP registration in the humanitarian context is to establish
the identities of those IDPs falling within the scope of the humanitarian operation, based on
specific objectives or needs. For example, registration may take place for all IDPs who have
specific needs and who are in need of further care or all IDPs in a camp may be registered to
establish a list of beneficiaries.
Especially in situations of conflict-generated IDPs, registration is not only used for purposes
of humanitarian aid. The information is also used to monitor restrictions of freedom of
movement, child recruitment, family separation, or voting for example. Registration data is
used in the camp planning and set-up phase, to contribute to camp layout. Registration
information helps communities stay together and thus contributes to community cohesion,
community organization, and coping capacity.
A "prototype" of the cluster approach was first introduced in Pakistan, in response to the
earthquake of October 2005. As of 2006, three countries were chosen as roll-out countries
for the cluster approach: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia and Uganda.
More recently, the cluster approach has been extended to Somalia, Colombia, Ethiopia,
Chad, Central African Republic and the Ivory Coast. It has also been applied in an ad hoc
manner to a number of natural disaster-situations where UNHCR is not involved.
The Resident Coordinator system includes all organizations of the UN system dealing with
operational activities for development, regardless of their formal presence in the country. The
RC system aims to bring together the different UN agencies to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of operational activities at the country level. Resident Coordinators, who are
funded and managed by UNDP, lead UN country teams in more than 130 countries and are
the designated representatives of the Secretary-General for development operations.
Working closely with national governments, Resident Coordinators and country teams
advocate the interests and mandates of the UN drawing on the support and guidance of the
entire UN family.
Sphere is a guidance document comprising a set of minimum standards in core areas of
humanitarian assistance. It comprises a Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards to be
attained in disaster assistance, in five key sectors (water supply and sanitation, nutrition,
food aid, shelter and health services).
Standards and Indicators
The term “standard” refers to an ultimate aim related to a specific sector of intervention; what
one ultimately aims for. The setting of standards is aimed at the creating of acceptable levels
Indicators are measures of progress. An indicator is an instrument to tell you how a project
is proceeding. It is a yardstick to measure results, be it in the form of quantitative or
qualitative change. And it allows to monitor desired levels of performance.
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 8
In a nutshell a standard for water can be 15 liters/person/day (the goal) whereas the indicator
can be 10 liters/person/day meaning the present level.
The plans for developing specific standards and indicators for IDP situations started in 2006.
A working group solely for this purpose has been established to present a draft set of
standards and indicators specific to IDP situations as soon as possible.
is the ability to rapidly mobilize to meet an increased demand.
CCCM Workshop – Glossary 9