Humanitarian Health Action

Preparedness and Contingency Planning

15 November 2001

Contingency planning is a management tool used to ensure adequate arrangements are made in anticipation of a crisis. This is achieved primarily through the participation in the contingency planning process itself, as well as through follow-up actions and subsequent revisions of plans.

Experience from previous emergencies clearly indicates that effective response to humanitarian needs at the onset of a crisis depends on the level of preparedness and planning of agencies in the field, as well as the capacities and resources available to them.

The overall objective of the Inter-Agency Contingency Planning Guidelines is to assist UN Country Teams and partners in planning how to respond to potential emergencies with appropriate humanitarian assistance and protection.

These guidelines provide recommendations on how to engage in the contingency planning process, in order to develop common strategies and approaches to potential emergencies, and how to record the deliberations and results of this process in contingency plans.