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Accountability to Affected People

Accountability to affected people is a commitment by humanitarians to use power responsibly: to take account of, give account to, and be held to account by the people we seek to assist.

In humanitarian action, this includes enabling affected people to meet their different needs, address their vulnerabilities, build on pre-existing capacities and drive programme adaptation through: 

  • Systematically sharing timely, relevant and actionable information with communities
  • Supporting the meaningful participation and leadership of affected people in decision-making, regardless of sex, age, disability status and other diversities
  • Ensuring community feedback systems are in place to enable affected people to assess and comment on the performance of humanitarian action, including on sensitive matters such as sexual exploitation and abuse, fraud, corruption and racism and discrimination. 

OCHA, through its support of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), continues to increase its efforts to strengthen its collective accountability to affected people. Recent agency-specific and system-wide reforms have sought to deliver a more responsive and people-centred approach to humanitarian action. The humanitarian sector has made significant progress in recent years, with evidence of continuous interaction between organizations and communities. However, much more needs to be done to coordinate efforts to better engage with and respond to feedback from affected communities.

OCHA, along with the IASC, is prioritizing measures to do so, including by identifying barriers to collective accountability to affected people and systematically addressing them. A group of Resident/Humanitarian Coordinators convened in June 2021 to examine this issue and agree on concrete steps. The report of the workshop is available here.