10.1 Authorisation to operate

CARE must have appropriate host government permission to operate emergency response activities. There are normally two cases:

In countries where CARE already operates, a country agreement or registration document signed between the government and CARE should already exist and should provide the overall framework allowing CARE’s operations. It is important to review the country agreement to ensure it allows the types of emergency operations planned and that it permits CARE to operate in the particular part of the country affected by the emergency. If an amendment to the existing agreement/registration or additional permissions is needed, they should be sought and processed immediately.

In countries where CARE does not operate, or has no legal registration, it is important to ask the host government to provide written permission for CARE to undertake planned activities before launching any emergency response activities. In this case:

  • immediately when CARE decides to launch a response in a non-presence country, and before CARE staff enter the country, the Lead Member or Coordinating CI Member should send a letter of intent to either the embassy of the affected country, and/or its Foreign Ministry, and/or the UN resident/humanitarian coordinator
  • the Emergency Team Leader should carry a copy of the letter of intent when they enter the country, plus copies of appropriate CARE International documentation (see also Protocol D8 Registration and legal compliance).
  • once in the country, the Team Leader should meet with the appropriate government department responsible for coordinating international NGO humanitarian affairs and request:
    • that the normal legal registration process required to operate in the country begin
    • an interim, written authorisation from the government that allows CARE to immediately start emergency relief work in the affected areas; together with appropriate documents that enable CARE to set up bank accounts, undertake procurement and importation of goods, employ local staff, and bring in expatriate staff
    • confirm in writing all significant registration discussions with the authorities
    • emergency operations should, in all cases, only begin once CARE has been provided written government authorisation
    • it is advisable to contract a legal consultant to assist with the registration process.