Humanitarian Health Action

IASC operational guidance note on implementing the cluster approach in major new and ongoing emergencies

New emergencies

IASC Guidance Note on using the Cluster Approach to Stengthen Humanitarian Response

Why is there a need to designate sector/cluster leads in major new emergencies?

The aim of the cluster approach is to strengthen humanitarian response by ensuring high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership in all sectors or areas of activity.

The IASC has agreed that the cluster approach should be used in all contingency planning for major new emergencies; in all responses to major new emergencies; and eventually in all countries with Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs).

In a major new emergency, the cluster approach requires that sector/cluster leads be designated at the earliest possible opportunity in order to ensure an adequate response.

What constitutes a “major new emergency”?

For IASC operational purposes, a “major new emergency” is defined as any situation where humanitarian needs are of a sufficiently large scale and complexity that significant external assistance and resources are required, and where a multi-sectoral response is needed with the engagement of a wide range of international humanitarian actors.

Download the full text in:

Ongoing emergencies

Why is there a need to designate sector/cluster leads in ongoing emergencies?

The aim of the cluster approach is to strengthen humanitarian response by ensuring high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership in all sectors or areas of activity.

The IASC has agreed that the cluster approach should be used in all contingency planning for major new emergencies; in all responses to major new emergencies; and eventually in all countries with Humanitarian Coordinators.

In ongoing emergencies, the IASC has agreed that introduction of the cluster approach should be a field-driven process, to ensure full ownership by humanitarian actors in the countries concerned.

What is a “sector/cluster lead”?

A “cluster lead” is an agency/organization that formally commits to take on a leadership role within the international humanitarian community in a particular sector/area of activity, to ensure adequate response and high standards of predictability, accountability & partnership. A “cluster lead” takes on the commitment to act as the “provider of last resort” in that particular sector/area of activity, where this is necessary.

A “cluster” is essentially a “sectoral group” and there should be no differentiation between the two in terms of their objectives and activities; the aim of filling gaps and ensuring adequate preparedness and response should be the same.

Download the full text in:

Share