How can NGOs hold the system accountable?

NGOs can hold the humanitarian system accountable in a variety of ways:

  • Request that coordination meeting minutes (HCT and cluster) are regularly shared with members and accurately reflect meeting discussions.
  • Follow up on feedback provided; if comments were not taken on board in a strategic or operational document such as an advocacy statement, joint needs assessment, Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), cluster response plan, Strategic Response Plan, etc ask why, document the response and escalate if necessary.
  • Every part of the architecture requires a document that explains its role and function in country, often in the form of a Terms of Reference (TOR).
    • If a cluster, a country-based funding mechanism and/or the HCT does not have such a document request that it be drafted and finalized in a consultative manner.
  • As cluster members, review and provide feedback on Cluster TOR and management arrangements.
  • As HCT members, review and provide feedback on the HCT TOR.
  • Engage with global and high-level missions.
  • If a cluster or HCT is not fulfilling its mandate, raise the issue. Try to resolve it in-country by engaging with the NGO coordinating body, Cluster Lead Agency (CLA), OCHA, and the Humanitarian Coordinator if necessary. Document your dialogue.
  • Inform your headquarters and potentially one of the global NGO consortia if the humanitarian architecture in-country is not fit for purpose.
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How are NGOs accountable within the humanitarian architecture?

NGOs have a range of accountabilities within the humanitarian architecture.

At the country level NGOs should:

  • Understand the humanitarian architecture in both theory as well as local practice.
  • Take the time to share major humanitarian decisions and discuss the strategic objectives of the response with partners and local community leaders.
  • Be engaged, pro-active and strategic in your interactions with the NGO consortia (if it exists) clusters, OCHA and the Humanitarian Country Team.
  • Devote time/human resources to co-lead a cluster at the national or sub-national level.
  • Utilize and contribute to collective resources such as humanitarianresponse.info

At the global level NGOs should:

  • Understand the humanitarian architecture in both theory as well as function in the country programs within your purview.
  • Bring field realities to policy discussions via the IASC task teams, reference groups, research institutes and the global NGO consortia.

Who are HCTs accountable to?

HCTs have a wide range of accountabilities. Please note that this is not reflective of reporting lines but general responsibility and good practice to communicate and be consultative.

At the country level to:

  • Affected populations
  • Host government
  • Constituencies including cluster members, partners, NGOs that do not directly attend the HCT.

At the global level to:

  • Agency headquarters
  • IASC Emergency Directors

How are NGOs accountable within the humanitarian architecture?

NGOs have a range of accountabilities within the humanitarian architecture.

At the country level NGOs should:

  • Understand the humanitarian architecture in both theory as well as local practice.
  • Take the time to share major humanitarian decisions and discuss the strategic objectives of the response with partners and local community leaders.
  • Be engaged, pro-active and strategic in your interactions with the NGO consortia (if it exists) clusters, OCHA and the Humanitarian Country Team.
  • Devote time/human resources to co-lead a cluster at the national or sub-national level.
  • Utilize and contribute to collective resources such as humanitarianresponse.info

At the global level NGOs should:

  • Understand the humanitarian architecture in both theory as well as function in the country programs within your purview.
  • Bring field realities to policy discussions via the IASC task teams, reference groups, research institutes and the global NGO consortia.

Who is an HCT accountable to?

HCTs have a wide range of accountabilities. Please note that this is not reflective of reporting lines but general responsibility and good practice to communicate and be consultative.

At the country level to:

  • Affected populations
  • Host government
  • Constituencies including cluster members, partners, NGOs that do not directly attend the HCT.

At the global level to:

  • Agency headquarters
  • IASC Emergency Directors