1.1 What humanitarian coordination is

In an emergency, the needs of an affected population are often greater than the capacity of any one humanitarian actor. Numerous government and UN agencies, international organisations, Red Cross/Red Crescent movement actors, and NGOs may respond to an emergency and have personnel working in the field. Humanitarian coordination is about how we interact with other organisations responding to the emergency to ensure the overall response is effective.

Humanitarian coordination efforts can have very different approaches and objectives, including:

  • information sharing
  • ensuring responses are complementary and maximise limited resources (who does what, and where)
  • agreeing on contextualising technical and quality standards
  • enabling coherence and a coordinated approach (common analysis and approach)
  • using a common response framework.