Revitalizing UN Humanitarian Reform

In response to recent major disasters, InterAction has released a set of recommendations on how the UN can reach the full potential of its humanitarian reform initiative.
In 2004, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator commissioned an independent Humanitarian Response Review to assess the capacity and effectiveness of UN agencies, NGOs and other actors within the global humanitarian system. The review identified major deficiencies in the collective effort, launching an initiative in 2005 to reform the humanitarian system.
Its main aim was to improve the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of response to humanitarian crises. It had three main components:
– Leadership, chiefly through strengthening the position of Humanitarian Coordinator;
– Coordination, through establishing the cluster approach;
– Financing, through establishing the Central Emergency Response Fund as a global contingency fund for both sudden and neglected emergencies.
The past five years have seen incremental progress in each of these areas. Implementing agencies and donor governments have demonstrated a sustained commitment to these reforms.
In 2010, however, significant problems in responding to large-scale emergencies in Haiti and Pakistan underscored the continuing difficulty in responding to crises in a timely, predictable and effective way. There is a sense throughout the humanitarian community that we can and must do better.
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