12. Humanitarian Coordination

1.1 What humanitarian coordination is

1.2 Why humanitarian coordination is important

1.3 Types of humanitarian coordination mechanisms

1.4 UN-led humanitarian coordination mechanisms

1.4.1 Humanitarian reform

1.4.2 What the cluster system is

1.4.3 Cluster leads

1.4.4 Provider of last resort

1.4.5 SAGS and TWIGS

1.4.6 The role of NGOs in the cluster systems

1.4.7 Humanitarian financing and funding mechanisms

1.4.8 Common humanitarian services

1.4.9 Responsibilities of humanitarian common services providers

1.4.10 Global Emergency Directors’ Group

1.5 Host government coordination

1.6 NGO coordination

1.6.1 NGO coordination at the global level

1.6.2 NGO coordination in the field

2.1 Position on humanitarian coordination.

2.2 Expectations for CARE participation in coordination mechanisms.

2.3 Advocacy issues

2.4 Engagement with non-humanitarian actors

For detailed instructions, roles and responsibilities, see Protocol C11 External coordination.


Establish good relationships and coordination mechanisms during preparedness

  • Develop a clear understanding of which forums and partners to engage with.
  • Establish key relationships and contacts.
  • Participate in appropriate inter-agency preparedness and contingency planning.

Participate actively and at appropriate levels in coordination mechanisms

  • Ensure key coordination mechanisms are covered including clusters, government and NGO coordination forums.
  • Plan for sufficient capacity among senior staff to be able to participate effectively.
  • Recognise that coordination demands are time-consuming but important, and ensure good internal coordination systems are in place in the CO so that the right meetings are being covered by the right people (consistency in participation is also important).
  • Ensure that CARE’s information management systems are able to connect effectively with broader humanitarian community information sharing (see Chapter 21 Information management).

Coordinate with the host government

  • Ensure that CARE is coordinating with all relevant levels (local and national) of authorities.
  • Advocate to avoid parallel coordination systems between the host government and the international actors. Where this is the case, promote ways to engage with both systems effectively.
  • In complex emergencies or conflict situations where the government is a party to the conflict, take particular care to coordinate effectively while maintaining CARE’s principles of independence and impartiality.

Build effective and strategic partnerships and alliances

  • Identify and work with like-minded humanitarian organisations on issues where joint effort can have a greater impact, including advocacy.
  • Maximise the use of CARE’s global partnerships (such as ECB) for more effective collaboration at the field level, including resource sharing and technical support.

Monitor and advocate on the effectiveness of humanitarian coordination and response

  • Ensure CARE is meeting standards set by the humanitarian community and is contributing to effective coordination.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the humanitarian coordination in meeting humanitarian needs.
  • Advocate on issues or approaches that could be improved at the field and global levels.
  • Support and advocate for humanitarian access improvement in complex emergency or conflict situation

Make effective use of common humanitarian resources including funding and services

  • Draw on and apply the technical capacity, standards and tools set by the clusters.
  • Identify opportunities to access funding through the CAP, the CERF and pooled humanitarian funding.
  • Utilise services offered by HICs, UNJLC and UNHAS.

Use CARE’s global level coordination capacity

  • Keep CEG and the Lead Member Emergency Unit informed about any major coordination issues.
  • Request advice and support on coordination from CEG and the Lead Member Emergency Unit.
  • Ask CEG and the Lead Member Emergency Unit to raise any major coordination issues in global-level coordination forums for attention and resolution.
Global NGO Coordination Mechanisms (Not yet available)

Many resources on humanitarian reform and coordination, including clusters, can be found at: