Needs assessments provide the evidence base for strategic planning, as well as the baseline information upon which situation and response monitoring systems rely. It should therefore form a continuous process throughout the humanitarian programme cycle. Along with emergency preparedness, the timeliness and quality of assessments help determine the effectiveness of the humanitarian response.
Coordinated assessments can have long-lasting and positive effects not only on the quality of interagency coordination, but also on donor funding levels and relationships with governments, local NGOs and affected populations. They are also a cornerstone of humanitarian accountability.
Coordinated assessments are carried out in partnership with all humanitarian actors in order to assess the humanitarian situation and to identify the needs of the affected population. National and Local authorities, civil society and affected communities are encouraged to participate in this process, the output of which is a Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO).
A Shared Commitment to Coordinated Assessments
The Inter Agency Steering Committee (IASC) promotes the coordination of needs assessments to enhance the quality of humanitarian response. Its members endeavour to prepare, lead and implement coordinated assessments, as described in the IASC Operational Guidance for Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises. The Guidance makes the following recommendations:
- The Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator establishes coordination mechanisms for cross-cluster/sector needs assessment and analysis.
- Country-level cluster/sector leads ensure effective and coherent sectoral needs assessment.
- Operational agencies have the primary responsibility for undertaking assessments. They do so in a coordinated manner and adhere to the definitions, principles, methodologies and approaches set out in the Operational Guidance.
- Plans for implementation of coordinated assessments are part of preparedness and contingency planning work.
- Coordinated assessments are part of ongoing processes guiding operational decision-making, and complement monitoring of the overall humanitarian situation and the performance of the humanitarian response.
- Coordination mechanisms applied to needs assessments differ depending on the phase and nature of a crisis. A Multi Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) is recommended during the first two weeks following a disaster, followed by joint or harmonized intra-cluster/sector in-depth assessments.
For protracted crises, the depth and volume of information needed for an effective response increases as it evolves. This often translates into a requirement for in-depth cluster/sector, thematic or agency-specific assessments to inform planning and operations, which in turn necessitates a harmonized assessment approach with joint needs analysis.
|Humanitarian Indicators Registry by Cluster 2013|
|Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment|
|Operational Guidance for Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises|
|Somalia Rapid Assessments Tools|
|Somalia Rapid Household Questionnaire|
|Somalia Rapid Key Informant Questionnaire|
|Initial Investigations Data Collection Tool|
|Global Coordinated Assessments Website|