1.5 Principles, Frameworks and Standards
  • 11 Mar 2024
  • 2 Minutes to read
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1.5 Principles, Frameworks and Standards

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Article summary

Humanitarian actors have long shared a common goal to provide life-saving assistance and protection to population in need. Over time, the international humanitarian system has developed a set of overarching principles and frameworks to mainstream people-centred approaches and cross cutting dimensions that guide the activities of humanitarian organizations and individuals. 

All humanitarian actors, including cluster teams and cluster partners, are expected to adhere to these principles, frameworks, and standards: 

  • Humanitarian principles.
  • Principles of Partnership.
  • Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP).
  • Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA).
  • Humanitarian Standards (Sphere and Common Humanitarian Standards) and other Technical Standards (e.g. LEGS, MERS).  
  • Mainstreaming of Protection (including respect for principles of non-discrimination, do-no-harm, etc.) and other cross-cutting dimensions (including age, gender, disability, environment). For details on crass-cutting issues and the role of the Coordinator, see 5.7.  

In addition, cluster teams and partners are expected to follow the operational principles and commitments of the Agenda for Humanity including the Grand Bargain and the New Way of Working (see 1.3).

Guiding Principles of the Food Security Cluster

The overall approach and work of the Food Security Cluster, and FSC Coordinators, are underpinned by eight guiding principles - all building on the basic principles, frameworks and humanitarian reform initiatives described in this chapter:

  1. New Course of Action: Ensure that humanitarian action moves from delivering assistance to ending needs and it is built on self- sustainability by better analysing the causes.  
  2. Primacy of Humanitarian Principles: Reinforce, without exception, the primacy of the humanitarian principles wherein delivery of assistance to vulnerable populations is to be prioritised, especially in protracted crises, where humanitarian principles could be in contradiction with a more pragmatic development approach or a politically influenced stabilization action.
  3. Reinforcement Over Replacement: Build upon and strengthen existing national and local systems (when appropriate), including the development agencies by focusing on their reinforcement and complementarity and not their replacement. 
  4. Risk Analysis: Analyse risks in order to anticipate crises.
  5. Collaboration Over Competition: Focus efforts on improving collaboration rather than on competition, to strengthen coherence and efficiency of humanitarian action. 
  6. Evidence Based Decision-Making: Ensure that consultative decisions taken within the FSC are based upon analysis of reliable and timely data and information. This includes ensuring that response options and modalities (example: cash, in-kind, voucher, services, etc.) are based on analysis and assessment. 
  7. Context Driven, Agile and Flexible Approach:  Take decisions that are context driven and ensure that the approach remains flexible and agile. 
  8. Gender, Protection and Disability: Mainstream protection, Gender and Inclusion concerns (such as disability) within FSC’ activities, in effort to end all forms of violence against especially women and children, and to ensure their equal participation in matters pertaining to food security. 

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