FAQs

About Good Humanitarian Donorship

OCHA is the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

OCHA was established to facilitate the work of operational agencies that deliver humanitarian assistance to populations and communities in need. OCHA supports Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators (RCs/HCs) with needs assessments, contingency planning and formulating humanitarian programmes. OCHA provides response tools, advocacy and information services.

As the head of OCHA, the Emergency Relief Coordinator chairs the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), which comprises all major humanitarian actors including the Red Cross Movement and three NGO consortiums. By developing common policies, guidelines and standards, the IASC assures a coherent inter-agency response to complex emergencies and natural and environmental disasters.

OCHA also chairs the Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs, which makes recommendations to the Secretary-General and develops common UN position on humanitarian issues.

OCHA does not accept relief items, but it is a channel for cash contributions for immediate relief assistance in coordination with relevant UN organizations. Please visit OCHA Online www.unocha.org for instructions on cash donations.

The IASC is an inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. Under the Emergency Relief Coordinator’s leadership, the IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses response gaps, and advocates effective application of humanitarian principles. Visit the IASC website for more information.

To improve the aid community’s capacity to provide the best available assistance and protection to people in need, on time. It also helps the aid community improve accountability to people in need and to donors.

The CAP was created in 1991 by General Assembly resolution 46/182. Originally, preparing a CAP involved little more than consolidating individual agency and sectoral projects. But since then, its process of planning, preparing and tracking contributions has evolved considerably. It is now an efficient fund-raising mechanism and a much improved coordination tool.

  • Analyse context
  • Assess needs
  • Build scenarios
  • Set goals
  • Identify roles and priorities
  • Plan the response
  • Appeal for funds
  • Implement a coordinated programme
  • Monitor and evaluate
  • Revise the plan
  • Report

The CAP is a tool used by aid organizations to plan, coordinate, fund, implement and monitor their activities. Through its focus on planning and programming, the CAP contributes significantly to developing a more thoughtful, strategic approach to humanitarian action.

As a coordination mechanism, the CAP fosters close cooperation between host governments, donors, aid agencies and, in particular, between NGOs, the Red Cross movement, IOM and UN agencies. They work together in crisis regions to produce a Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP).

A Consolidated Appeal is when several agencies appeal together for funds for the same crisis. It is a snapshot of a situation and identifies who does what and where.

A CHAP is a strategic plan for humanitarian response in a country or region.

It provides:

• A common analysis of the humanitarian context
• A needs assessment
• Best, worst and most likely scenarios
• Identification of roles and responsibilities, i.e. who does what and where
• A clear statement of longer-term objectives and goals
• A framework for monitoring the strategy and revising if necessary

A CHAP is the foundation for developing an appeal, and is part of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP).

Usually in September or October. HCs prepare the appeals, which are then launched globally by the UN Secretary-General in November.

  • When there is an acute humanitarian need caused by conflict or natural disaster.
  • When the Government is either unable to address humanitarian need.
  • When a single agency cannot cover all the needs.

For as long as necessary. An appeal can be issued for one year or more. Projects included can be planned for more than a year, but their budgets must be broken into 12-month periods.

If the situation and needs in the field change, a revision to any part of an appeal can be issued at any time.

No. Governments have other mechanisms to seek funding from the international community. However, governments participate in the consultations and the CAP workshop in the run up to producing the appeal document.

In accordance with the local context, teams in the field evaluate projects in light of:

Organizational criteria - The appealing organization has the technical expertise in-country, and the capacity and mandate to implement the project.

Demographic criteria - The project addresses a priority need, as determined by the Humanitarian Country Team.

Geographic criteria - The project will be implemented in a region considered to be a priority.

Sectoral criteria - The appealing organization’s project helps to achieve the response plan’s objectives.

Temporal criteria - The projects can make a measurable impact in the appeal’s time frame (usually one year).

Other context-specific criteria - This includes projects with a HIV/AIDS focus and projects that build local capacity.

The Gender Marker - Projects with gender marker 0 (gender-blind projects) are not included in some CAP countries using the gender marker as part of their prioritization critera.

Which sectors are eligible for consideration?

• Coordination and Support Services
• Economic Recovery and Infrastructure
• Education
• Shelter and Non-food Items
• Food Security and Agriculture
• Health
• Mine Action
• Multi-sector
• Protection
• Security
• Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

They either combine their projects or decide which agency will appeal for all of the funding. One project can have different agencies appealing for different amounts of that project’s overall budget.

The OPS is a web-based database allowing CAP partners such as UN agencies and NGOs participating in consolidated or flash appeals to edit, manage, submit and revise their projects online, as well as peer-review other projects. The OPS aims at facilitating information-sharing, the appeal review process for humanitarian actors, Cluster Lead Coordinators’ review and approval of appeals projects. Visit the OPS website for more information.

A project in a Consolidated Appeal can be added, removed or modified any time via the Online Project System (OPS): http://ops.unocha.org.

The Financial Tracking Service (FTS) is a continually updated online database. It shows worldwide humanitarian funding needs, and financial and in-kind contributions for appeals and elsewhere. FTS is managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Visit the FTS website for more information.

Through the Financial Tracking System (FTS). It provides funding data for past and present projects, inside or outside of appeals. It can be found at: http://fts.unocha.org.

Funds can be marked as:

Pledge
A non-binding announcement of an intended contribution or donor allocation. It can be specific to the appealing agency and project, or specify only the crisis. The contribution can also be unearmarked, i.e. allocated among crises at the recipient agency’s discretion.

Commitment
Creation of a contractual obligation regarding funding between the donor and appealing agency. It almost always takes the form of a signed contract.

Contribution
The payment or transfer of funds or in-kind goods from the donor to the appealing agency, which results from a commitment.

The purpose varies. It generally focuses on agencies coordinating and planning efficiently to ensure a common understanding of:

  • Context, e.g., history, economic and political analysis, and future scenarios
  • People’s needs and priorities
  • Agencies’ roles and responsibilities

Costs
Country workshops should include the HC, the Humanitarian Country Team, and other relevant stakeholders such as governments and donor counterparts.

The mid-year review of the Consolidated Appeals is a worldwide process in which humanitarian aid organizations working in protracted humanitarian crises come together to revise their strategic response plans in support of national partners. A Mid-Year-Review is presented to donors in July each year.

Humanitarian country teams measure their achievements against the targets stated in their plans, analyse key humanitarian indicators and trends, re-calibrate their strategies and update their detailed operational plans and funding requests.

A gender perspective in humanitarian action is vital. It is essential to consider these issues, both at the individual programming level in project design and in the CHAP’s overall analysis and development. The main objective is not to simply add gender-sensitive words to a document, but to strengthen programming and analysis based on the different needs, concerns, capacities and contributions of women, men, girls and boys. It ensures the humanitarian response is appropriately designed and targeted.

What is the Gender Marker Aide Memoire

The Humanitarian Coordinator (HC). Each year, s/he triggers any inter-agency appeal and leads the process in collaboration with the IASC Country Team and, at the headquarters level, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC).

OCHA facilitates the process at field and headquarter levels. It does this through organizing workshops to discuss key elements of the CAP cycle, such as the strategic objectives for the humanitarian response operation in the year to come.

OCHA elaborates the Consolidated Appeal document, bringing together various organizations and consolidating information.

The IASC
The Humanitarian Country Team members: UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and NGOs. All team members are encouraged to participate in developing the CHAP. However, some participants (e.g. the Red Cross/Red Crescent) might appeal for funds outside the CAP and are mostly observers in the CHAP-development process.

Donors
Donors participate in developing the CHAP. They commit to Good Humanitarian Donorship principles, one of which is to allocate funding based on assessed needs. The principles encourage and support prioritization, and commit to greater donor coordination. Donors give money directly to agencies or NGOs appealing for funds.

Host governments
The CAP should be prepared in consultation with the host State, in particular with key line ministries that operational agencies are working with daily.

Affected populations
Participating agencies should consider the perspectives of affected populations at all stages of their work.

The CHAP uses a logical-framework approach. This was adopted to ensure a rational and logical consistency between strategic priorities, sector objectives, project activities and indicators. Each goal will have associated sector objectives that will be assessed by observable and measurable indicators. Projects can also be included in the CAP if they relate to a specific sector objective.

A situation report is issued at the onset of an emergency and can be issued weeks into the emergency. In the meantime, a Flash Appeal can be prepared and launched. It covers the second week of the emergency up to the sixth month (it is revised after one month). A Consolidated Appeal can then be issued.

It is important to build on the previous year’s work. As we develop more experience with the CAP, creating the CHAP and Consolidated Appeal becomes easier and more refined. It should be possible to draw upon the situation analysis from previous appeals, identifying how the situation has changed.

Another important area of analysis is to review what has and has not been funded in previous appeals and why. Identifying and describing the impact of a lack of funding will help set the stage for each year’s priorities. It is also important to assess the currency, utility and value of goals, objectives and indicators from previous appeals.

The key users of the Gender Marker are the clusters and their project teams. Clusters should make gender equality a priority in their Cluster Response Plans, which will guide project partners in designing projects that meet the distinct needs of women, girls, boys and men equally. Clusters should orient and support project partners in the implementation of the Gender Marker.

Project teams will be encouraged to strive for a good code. Cluster vetting teams will have the final say on the gender code for each project. The gender code will be inserted in the project sheet on the online project system (OPS). The gender codes will then appear in the Financial Tracking System (FTS) and donors that are interested in investing in gender-responsive projects can use the OPS/FTS to identify which projects are designed well enough to advance gender equality.

A Flash Appeal is a tool for structuring a coordinated humanitarian response for the first three to six months of an emergency. It is issued within one week of an emergency and is triggered by the Humanitarian Coordinator in consultation with all stakeholders.

The appeal provides a concise overview of urgent life-saving needs, and may include recovery projects that can be implemented within the appeal’s time frame.

When crises break or natural disasters occur, humanitarian partners develop a Flash Appeal to address emergencies in a timely manner.

Yes. Local and international NGOs can appeal for funds in Consolidated Appeals or Flash Appeals providing their project is in line with priorities defined in the CHAP.

Broaden their donor base
Since 1992, over 400 donors have given $30 billion directly to organizations appealing for funds in Consolidated or Flash Appeals.

Increase their visibility
Consolidated and Flash Appeals are sent to donor governments, foundations, wealthy individuals, media outlets, NGOs and international organizations.

Shape the agenda and priorities
Do you have a mandate to defend, a population of concern or an issue at heart? NGOs in Consolidated or Flash Appeals have a voice during discussions on strategy, coordination and priorities.

Partake in advocacy
Consolidated and Flash Appeals reach a global audience and gain considerable media coverage.

Expand your credibility
Many donors see participation as a “stamp of approval”.

Save time
Some donors accept the one-page project sheet in Consolidated Appeals, or the project box in Flash Appeals, in place of a full proposal.

Coordinate with others
Donors want to see aid agencies work together efficiently. Consolidated and Flash Appeals enable this. Being part of these appeals shows that NGOs are serious about collaboration while also maintaining identity and independence.

Hold donors accountable for funding humanitarian action
Fragmented, competing proposals and appeals in any crisis make it unclear how much aid is required, and whether donors have met their funding responsibility according to need. Uniting proposals in one appeal makes donors’ performance clearer and gives humanitarian organizations more leverage.

Get timely support
OCHA supports HCs in the field and the ERC globally. OCHA has a dedicated team of professionals in Geneva working on Consolidated and Flash Appeals. The team advises and supports NGOs, answers questions and receives feedback.

Receive free training
OCHA offers CAP training in the following areas:
i) context analysis and scenario building
ii) needs assessment and priority setting
iii) response planning
iv) resource mobilization
v) monitoring and reporting

It’s free publicity.

It increases the chances of donors being held accountable. If half of the humanitarian actions are not counted in an appeal, it is impossible to assess if needs are covered in each sector and if donors are doing their job. Registering planned projects helps to publicize the full scale of humanitarian action and resource needs in a crisis. This creates a complete picture of needs and the cost of addressing those needs. It also helps coordination between all actors.

The CAP increases donors’ confidence that appealing agencies’ projects are linked to the humanitarian community’s collective strategy and goals in a given crisis.

Ask the representative of your NGO in the field to contact the OCHA Country Office. If your NGO is not present in the field, it needs to establish a presence (or have the funds and intent) to participate in the CAP.

Yes. The CAP is not a funding channel. All appealing agencies (UN and NGO) should follow up directly with their donors.

The CAP is not a funding channel. All appealing agencies (UN and NGO) should follow up directly with their donors.

To ensure capacity–building and sustainability of all projects.

CERF is a standby fund that enables timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts.

It was established by the UN and is funded by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, private businesses, foundations and individuals. When a disaster strikes, CERF releases funds for life-saving activities, which allows the UN to react immediately.

Visit the CERF website (http://cerf.un.org) for more information.

Implementing the CAP at the field level hinges on effective leadership by the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC), supported by OCHA, and on bringing together various UN and non-UN aid agencies. It is on this second point that the cluster approach can help the CAP considerably.

Each cluster is responsible for and expected to:

  1. identify key UN and non-UN partners in a sector or thematic area
  2. forge a common understanding of the needs and priorities, and advocate accordingly
  3. ensure that relevant capacities exist to implement the response
  4. prepare a prioritized strategy and plan for a common response
  5. apply standards and monitor performance
  6. report
  7. ensure linkages with other clusters to support a more strategic approach to humanitarian action

Each cluster's achievement of these components would greatly assist the HC in managing the CAP. This would contribute to a more predictable, effective and accountable response to protection and assistance needs.

To enhance humanitarian response through strengthened co-ordination, effectiveness and accountability, donors endorsed the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship and elaborated an Implementation Plan. One of the principles is to allocate funding based on assessed need.

A total of 244 Consolidated Appeals and Flash Appeals have been launched since 1992.

A combined total of $30 billion for NGOs, IOM and UN agencies.