Humanitarian NGO coordinating bodies or consortia are a part of the architecture in that, where they exist, they have a seat on the Humanitarian Country Team. Humanitarian NGO coordination, while recognized as an invaluable service to the broader humanitarian community, does not automatically occur in the same manner that other parts of the architecture are activated, such as a cluster. Often country-specific decisions play a role in determining how the NGO community should best represent itself.
Humanitarian NGO coordination frequently begins as a voluntary gathering of senior NGO leaders until funds can be raised for a formal secretariat.
For recent guidance on issues and areas to consider when undertaking NGO coordination and when setting up an NGO coordination body please click here.
Civil society actors, local NGOs, international NGOs, UN agencies, host government and the private sector can engage in coordination and leadership mechanisms within the humanitarian architecture in-country.
The humanitarian architecture is more than the UN; it is the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and applicable national disaster management agencies.
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.