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OCHA Website Links

Table of Contents


The principles of humanitarian practice aim to ensure the rights human rights of those affected by conflict or natural disaster to protection and assistance, while are protected and provided the required protection and assistance. while at the same time minimising the potential negative impact or manipulation of such assistance and increasing preparedness preparing for future disasters. Humanitarian practice includes the protection of civilians and those no longer taking part in hostilities, by meeting their basic needs for food, water, sanitation, shelter and health care; and assisting their return to normal lives and livelihoods. Humanitarian practice is guided by humanitarian law and a range of international standards and codes of conduct including:

International humanitarian workers therefore abide by the following core humanitarian principles:


The IASC consists of the heads (or designated representatives) of the United Nations operational agencies (i.e. FAO, OCHA, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHABITAT, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO) and humanitarian partners such as ICRC, ICVA, IFRC, InterAction, IOM, OHCHR, RSG on Human Rights of IDPs, SCHR, and the World Bank. The number of participating agencies has expanded since its inception in 1992. On the global level, the IASC meets formally twice a year and deliberates on issues brought to its attention by the ERC and by the IASC Working Group.

Source: IASC web site: About IASC page and IASC Working group page.

Useful document - Terms of Reference of the IASC.


The current Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator is Ms Valerie Amos. Mr. Stephen O'Brien. The Global Cluster lead agencies are accountable to the ERC in ensuring better coordination and effective humanitarian response through cluster activities.

Source – OCHA Website

Humanitarian Coordinator (HC)


Useful Document: HC TOR

Source: Humanitarian Reform websiteWebsite: Document source

Humanitarian Country Team


The Cluster leads at the country level are accountable to the RC in the absence of a HC.

Useful Document: RC JDDocument source


United Nations Country Team (UNCT)


The UNCT exists in 136 countries, covering all of the 180 countries where there are United Nations programmes.

Source: UNDG

Useful Document: IASC guidance note on UNCT


Donor agencies may be present in the crisis area and may even be actively involved in disaster relief activities before a major emergency occurs. Some of these donor organisations, especially governmental organisations, have developed a concept for rapid intervention in case of disaster. Examples of such disaster relief sections within donor organisations include the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) of the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department Operations Team (CHASE OT) of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).


Humanitarian organisations are funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, governments and other organisations. Each humanitarian agency usually has its own resource mobilisation mechanism in place having either bilateral or multilateral contributions provided by donors. In recent days, not only traditional donors such as government and inter-governmental organizations but also private donors are taking on an important part in supporting relief operations.

See Appeals and Funding

Useful Document: Humanitarian contributions Contributions in 2010 2015 by donorsDonors.


At the onset of an emergency, humanitarian communities come together to prepare for an appeal which summarizes relief needs and response plan for different sectors. These appeals are tools to structure humanitarian response and to mobilize funds.


  • making funds available to NGOs, and in urgent cases, UN agencies, to cover start-up costs; and
  • making funds available to NGOs and UN agencies in cases of rapidly changing circumstances and humanitarian needs where gaps need to be filled and other donor mechanisms are unavailable.

Useful document: Basic Facts - Mapping (as of 19 Feb 2010) - Donors (as of 19 Feb 2010)

Source: Humanitarian Reform

Useful document: Review of OCHA Emergency Response Funds (ERFs)Source and Useful website: OCHA Financial Tracking Service 

Common Humanitarian Funds

The main objective of Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) is to provide early and predictable funding to the most critical humanitarian needs as identified and formulated in a CAP. CHFs will however also maintain an emergency reserve (typically up to 10 percent of total funding) for responding to unplanned emergency needs outside the CAP. All humanitarian partners participating in the CAP process are eligible to receive funding from a CHF. Given that the objective of a CHF is to provide core funding towards the CAP, these funds are often much larger than ERFs and will involve cluster/sector leads and other humanitarian partners in an elaborate prioritization and allocation process. CHFs are managed by the HC supported by a dedicated advisory group and with the OCHA country office providing fund management support. In all existing funds UNDP is financial fund manager (administrative agent) and has also been tasked with subcontracting NGOs on behalf of the CHF (managing agent). CHFs are currently established in three countries: DRC and Sudan since 2006, and Central African Republic since 2008.

More on CHFs: Basic facts - Mapping (as of 19 Feb 2010) - Donors (as of 19 Feb 2010).

Source: For more on common humanitarian funds- Humanitarian Funding OCHA website

Central Emergency Response Fund


CERF is intended to complement – not substitute – existing humanitarian planning and funding mechanisms such as consolidated and flash appeals. The CERF provides seed funds to jump-start critical operations and fund life-saving programmes not yet covered by other donors.

Link: CERF website.

Resource section source: Humanitarian Funding OCHA website and Humanitarian Reform/Financing

Good Humanitarian Donorship

The Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative provides a forum for donors to discuss good practice in humanitarian financing and other shared concerns. By defining principles and standards it provides both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a mechanism for encouraging greater donor accountability.

Good Humanitarian Donorship website


Common Guidelines on Humanitarian Operations


Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO)

Humanitarian Reform – Cluster Approach

International Crisis Group - An NGO working to prevent and resolve conflict, its website has comprehensive information about current conflicts around the world.


ReliefWeb - Main United Nations humanitarian coordination website, with daily news about complex emergencies and humanitarian relief programmes worldwide. Most major aid agencies post reports here during an ongoing emergency.

United Kingdom Department for International Development

Other OCHA sites


IRIn News



Financial Tracking Service (FTS)


OCHA 3W -Who What Where




Trust Fund for Human Security

Other public site

OCHA Links

Senior Management

Donor and External Relations Section


Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs Secretariat

Emergency Response

Emergency Preparedness

Internal Displacement Division

Humanitarian Reform Support Unit

Advocacy and Information Management

Advocacy and External Relations

Information Technology Section

Information Analysis Section

 OCHA Recommended Websites and Links Page- Excellent source for a variety of humanitarian links.



  United Nations DMTP (1997) Disaster Management Ethics

   ICRC (2004) What is humanitarian law?

Humanitarian Reform/he Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

OCHA/Humanitarian Funding



 United Nations Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP) guidelines

 UN Development Group

  NGO Branch - UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Peacekeeping

Good Humanitarian Donorship