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Humanitarian Accountability An Introduction BOND DRRG, London, 6 June 2008. The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership - International. Vision: A humanitarian system championing the rights and the dignity of disaster survivors Mission:

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Humanitarian AccountabilityAn Introduction BOND DRRG, London, 6 June 2008


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The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership - International

Vision:

A humanitarian system championing the rights and the dignity of disaster survivors

Mission:

To make humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries through self-regulation, compliance verification and quality assurance certification


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ACFID (Australia)

ACTED (France)

CAFOD (Caritas UK)

CARE International

Christian Aid (UK)

Church World Service – Pakistan/Afghanistan

COAST Trust (Bangladesh)

CONCERN Worldwide

DanChurchAid (Denmark)

Danish Refugee Council

Medair (Switzerland)

Medical Aid for Palestinians (UK)

MERCY Malaysia

Muslim Aid (UK)

Norwegian Refugee Council

OFADEC (Senegal)

Oxfam GB

Save the Children UK

Sungi Development Foundation (Pakistan)

Tearfund (UK)

Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children (USA)

World Vision International

HAP full-members (June 2008)


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Accountability

"Accountability is the means by which power is used responsibly" (HAP)

  • Accountability is about the right to a say and the duty to respond

  • Taking into account, giving an account and being held to account

  • An accountable organisation manages the quality of its products and services, and strives to continuously improve these for the benefit of its customers, clients or claimants.


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The Rights-based Argument:

Clear international legal foundation rooted in:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

  • International Refugee Law,

  • International Humanitarian Law,

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child,

  • The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women,

  • For the right to humanitarian protection and assistance;

  • For the right to a say in the manner in which this is provided, and;

  • For the right to be heard in all stages of the project cycle


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    The Challenge ….

    • Imbalance of power between principals and agents.

      • Disaster survivors are only rarely represented in:

        • Donor resource allocation procedures

        • UN coordination mechanisms

        • NGO governance arrangements

    • Disaster survivors are:

      • Often not consulted in assessments

      • Given no choice in selection of service providers

      • Often treated as a homogenous group

      • Often subjected to "veterinarian" style relief interventions

      • Rarely able to submit a complaint or seek redress


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    …..the consequences

    • The humanitarian system is thus particularly vulnerable to the risks of:

      • Moral hazard

      • Inappropriate choice

    • The relative power of donors (both official and private) means that market-share “success” is a function of supply-side contracting and marketing rather than demand-driven programming


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    …the “Accountability Deficit”

    The gap between promises made by aid agencies to deliver accountable and effective disaster relief and persistent evidence to the contrary

    • A growing perception that much of NGO work is not accountable to affected populations

    • The Tsunami Evaluation Coalition found that agencies failed to consult and involve local communities


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    ….the prospect:

    • The credibility of international humanitarian action is threatened by perceptions of:

      • lack of impact

      • poor coordination

      • waste/inefficiency

      • corruption and fraud

      • political instrumentalisation/co-option

      • lack ofprofessionalism

    • Increasing calls for official regulation


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    HAP’s proposition:

    • The adoption of the Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management Standard improves the impact and cost effectiveness of humanitarian action

    • Certification

      • assures optimal programme quality in any given context

      • improves risk management

      • helps to curb abuse of corporate power thereby reducing vulnerability to hostile legal action

      • benefits all stakeholders(staff, donors, partners and disaster survivors)

      • strengthens the comparative advantage of certified agencies


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    The Standard Reflects 5 Simple Quality Management Practices

    • Transparency in mandate, objectives, beneficiary and entitlement criteria and implementation reporting

    • Engagement of disaster survivors right from the beginning to gain their informed consent

    • Feedback/complaints & redress-handling system

    • Competence of staff

    • Learning for continuous improvement


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    and is designed to be realistic and supportive


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    Benchmark 1:

    The agency shall establish a humanitarian quality management system

    Benchmark 2:

    The agency shall make the following information publicly available to intended beneficiaries, disaster-affected communities, agency staff and other specified stakeholders: (a) organisational background; (b) humanitarian accountability framework; (c) humanitarian plan; (d) progress reports; and (e) complaints handling procedures

    Benchmark 3:

    The agency shall enable beneficiaries and their representatives to participate in programme decisions and seek their informed consent

    Benchmark 4:

    The agency shall determine the competencies, attitudes and development needs of staff required to implement its humanitarian quality management system

    Benchmark 5:

    The agency shall establish and implement complaints-handling procedures that are effective, accessible and safe for intended beneficiaries, disaster-affected communities, agency staff, humanitarian partners and other specified bodies

    Benchmark 6:

    The agency shall establish a process of continual improvement for its humanitarian accountability framework and humanitarian quality management system 

    HAP Standard Benchmarks


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    Implications for partners

    • For agencies going through a compliance verification process against the Standard, two key elements will be assessed:

      • That the agency has informed and made their partners aware of the agency’s own Humanitarian Accountability Commitments.

      • That the agency has – together with its partners – discussed and established means to improve the qualityof their partnership by strengthening the partners’ ability to apply the Principles of Accountability and Humanitarian Action


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    And in DRR ?

    • DRR is an important interface between relief, recovery and development.

    • Imperative to address DRR as early as possible in the intervention cycle in order to avoid the recreation or increase of risks.

    • Lead by example / Practice what you preach

      • Can NGOs demand accountability from other actors (HFA, etc) … without themselves modelling “downward accountability” ?


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    DRR Good Practice

    • The basis for DRR should be a participatory,rights-based approach, focusing on how to involve vulnerable people in preparedness, mitigation and adaptation.

    • DRR should target the most vulnerable, focusing on high-risk groups

    • Women, children, youth, disabled and elderly are most vulnerable to disaster risk but should not only be seen as passive victims of disasters, but as agents for change

    • TEC highlights: Local preparedness, localresponse and local resilience is what we should seek to build globally


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    How?

    • The notion of DRR is linked to the concept of “downward accountability” : involving local people from the start – even before an emergency or disaster – results in better-planned and more cost-effective relief and development efforts

    • Increased accountability to people at-risk from disasters and strengthened quality management will increase impact of NGO work


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    A more informed choice for staff, volunteers, partner agencies, donors and disaster survivors

    Enhanced credibility and standing of certified agencies

    Strengthening of accountability and professionalism

    HAP certification is:

    Applicable regardless of agency size, place of origin, operational or partner-based

    Available to all agencies who meet the qualifying norms

    HAP certification offers the sector:


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    Time Line Towards Certification

    Decision

    If audit findings reveal any major non compliance certification would be delayed until these are met

    A certificate is issued for a period of 3 years, with a mandatory mid term (18 months) monitoring audit

    Preparation

    2 – 4 weeks

    Ensure agency on board

    Baseline

    Analysis

    6-8 weeks

    Prepare HAF

    Prepare HQMS

    Improvement

    Head Office: 3 days

    Field Site: 3 days

    Report, incl. drafts and feedback: up to 1 month

    Audit

    Around 6 months

    Consultation, support and organization response to baseline recommendations

    Certified

    Head Office: 3 days

    Field Site: 3 days


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    For more information


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