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Introduction to Humanitarian Accountability. “Why have you deleted my name from the distribution lists of people with disabilities?” (Orissa, India). Some food for thought:.

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introduction to humanitarian accountability

Introduction to Humanitarian Accountability

“Why have you deleted my name from the distribution lists of people with disabilities?”

(Orissa, India)

some food for thought
Some food for thought:

“To be accountable to our beneficiaries, we must close the gap between what we practice and what we preach. We must improve both what we do, and how we do it.” Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency

“Donors are not accountable to recipient governments, and neither donors nor recipients are really accountable to poor people. This lack of ‘downward’ accountability contrasts sharply with donors’ excessive demands for ‘upward’ accountability.”From Action Aid’s report, Real Aid

learning objectives at the end of this session you will be able to
Learning ObjectivesAt the end of this session you will be able to:
  • Explain what is meant by “accountability”.
  • Define in your own words “humanitarian accountability”.
  • List 3 concrete actions that lead to accountability.
  • Explain what is HAP-I is, and illustrate one of its objectives.
  • Relate 3 of the accountability principles to your work.
  • Confidently provide 2 examples of how you are already working towards accountability and explain the benefits of doing this.
  • Contact the right person at HAP-I for support.
contents for this presentation
Contents for this presentation:
  • What is accountability?
  • What is humanitarian accountability?
  • Humanitarians are becoming more accountable!
  • HAP-I: Who? Vision, work plan, objectives, outlook.
  • Accountability Principles: Refreshing our memory
  • Some lessons learned: Tips and recs.
  • What is next?: Some of your options.
a what is accountability
A) What is accountability?
  • Planning and implementing actions in a responsible manner, with consideration to the needs and desires of the clients;
  • Mechanisms by which individuals, organizations and States account for their actions and are held responsible for them;
  • And those by which individuals, organizations and States may safely and legitimately report concerns, complaints and abuses, and get redress where appropriate.
b humanitarian accountability

Photo: Juan Saenz

B) Humanitarian accountability?
  • Humanitarians exercise power “over” others.
  • Entrusted with resources.
  • “Right to a say” and “duty to respond”
  • Obligation to involve and consult
  • Obligation to inform
  • Obligation to listen
  • Obligation to respond & …
accountability is quite simple if you




to them

SHARE ideas

with them


you did it

AGREE on appropriate response


DO it

REVISE if needed

Accountabilityis quite simple if you….




Photo: Juan Saenz

Can you provide an example to illustrate what humanitarian accountability is?

c humanitarians are becoming more accountable

Photo: Juan Saenz

C) Humanitarians are becoming more accountable!
  • We are all doing something already
  • First and foremost: people affected by crisis
  • Preliminary steps to report complaints
  • Contextualizing
  • Instruments developed and used
  • A set of accountability principles exist
  • Establishment of HAP-I

Statement of


Learning & enhanced


Principles and

key standards

Example of

a model for Enhancing Accountability

Incentives, rewards,

& sanctions of staff


into agencies work


affected people

Compliance monito-

ring & reporting



useful questions and actions

Photo by Juan Saenz

Useful questions and actions
  • Can you provide examples of some questions that could help you identify levels of accountability?
  • What concrete actions can you and your organization take to promote a culture of accountability?
d hap international
D) HAP International
  • Committed membership organization
  • Vision: “a reformed international humanitarian system”
  • Work plan with 4 mission critical “clusters”
  • Secretariat in GVA has six objectives:
    • Develop & apply principles
    • Support members
    • Advocate
    • Monitor and report implementation of members
    • Assist members with complaints
    • Establish system of accreditation
e hap i s seven accountability principles
E) HAP-I’s SevenAccountability Principles

1.Commitment Respect and promote the rights of legitimate humanitarian claimants

2. State the standards that apply in their humanitarian assistance work

3. Inform beneficiaries about these standards, and their right to be heard

4. Meaningfully involve beneficiaries in project planning, implementation, evaluation and reporting

e hap i s seven accountability principles1
E) HAP-I’s SevenAccountability Principles

5. Demonstrate compliance with the standards that apply in their humanitarian assistance work through monitoring and reporting.

6. Enable beneficiaries and staff to make complaints and to seek redress in safety.

7. Implement these principles when working through partner agencies.

f lessons learned
F) Lessons Learned
  • Accountability mechanisms needed to be integrated into existing programmes and operations.
  • Adherence to standards is not systematically monitored and reported upon by the agencies
  • Some more key lessons:deficit, great interest, active search, technical assistance, independence, resources, flexibility.

HAP International

Maison Internationale de l´Environnement 2Chemin Balexert 7 (first floor, room 1-08)CH - 1219 ChâtelaineGeneva, SwitzerlandTel: +41 22 788 16 41Fax: +41 22 797 38 61