9.3 HPC Timeline
  • 15 Dec 2023
  • 6 Minutes to read
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9.3 HPC Timeline

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Article summary

The duration and timing of the HPC process will depend on 1) the nature of the crisis (e.g. sudden onset or protracted) and 2) the optimal planning period for the response (e.g. annual or multi-year).

Sudden Onset Crises – Typical Timeline and Key Actions  

In sudden onset crises, HCTs (as well as FSC Teams) often need to take decisions based on limited or incomplete information, and to provide rapid overall direction to the response to enable the mobilisation of action and resources (see also the FSC SOPs in Annex I)

To ensure well-coordinated action in the fast-moving environment of a sudden onset crisis (or sharp escalation of an existing crisis), the following steps are recommended:

  • Day 1 after the onset: The RC/HC convenes a HCTmeeting to discuss the scale and magnitude of the crisis. The outcomes of the meeting are: 
    1. An analysis of the situation and capacity;
    2. An immediate statement of strategic priorities to feed into HQ press and advocacy; and 
    3. A timeline of next steps. The process of gathering, consolidating and analysing information on needs is expected to start immediately.
FSC Role: The CLAs play an important role in representing the FSC in these discussions – the Coordinator should provide the necessary inputs for CLAs for this purpose.
  • By days 3-5: Based on an initial analysis of needs, a Flash Appeal is developed, setting out the immediate priorities and funding requirements of the response. If an up-to-date contingency plan exists, this should be used as the basis of the Flash Appeal. 
  • By day 14: A Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) is commonly carried out and a report is issued; the findings underpin the response planning process. Where applicable, existing joint needs analyses are updated. 
  • 30 days after the Flash Appeal: Based on updated joint needs analysis, the appeal can be revised. A Flash Appeal usually cover a period of up to six months. In situations where the needs are expected to require sustained assistance, an HRP may be developed. If an HRP already exists, it may not be necessary to develop a new one. Instead, it can be updated to take into account the changes in context and shift in response approach, as appropriate).
FSC Role: See more on the HRP and the role of the Coordinator in 9.5.2.
  • 60 days after the humanitarian response plan:  A periodic monitoring report (PMR) is issued which records inputs and outputs, and measures progress towards the strategic and cluster objectives of the HRP . The report may also indicate a need to prepare / update an HNO or revise HRP . The frequency of reporting is determined by the RC/HC and HCT.
  • By day 90 (mandatory for System-Wide Scale-Up Activation Responses): An operational peer review is conducted by an inter-agency group of peers to recommend any adjustments to the management and coordination of the response. 
  • Between months 9 to 12 (mandatory for System-Wide Scale-Up Activation Responses): An inter-agency humanitarian evaluation is conducted by an independent team of experts to assess collective results achieved against the humanitarian response plan. 
FSC Role: See details in 9.8.

Protracted Crises – Typical Timeline and Key Actions 

For protracted crises, detailed step by step guidance on the HPC is produced yearly (shared by OCHA), providing Coordination Teams with a clear overview of the timeline and key actions involved in the development of the HNO and HRP  make sure to check online or with the GST for current updates. See Annex II for a summary of the typical HPC steps and timeline and see detailed actions related to the HNO (9.4.1) and the HRP (9.5.2).    

TIP: The specific steps and associated generic timeline are developed at global level and validated by the HPC Steering Group. A specific timeline will be produced at country level based on OCHA/ICCG discussions – see also “General Considerations for the FSC Coordinator” in 9.4.1.

Annual Planning in Protracted Crises: RC/HCs and HCTs in protracted crises generally engage in an annual needs analysis and response planning process from July to November of each year. However, the planning time frame is flexible and can start at any point in the year and run for any length of time, based on operational requirements (for example, in Yemen, the HRP was finalized in late April 2022 due to the IPC being conducted in March).

Multi-year Planning in Protracted Crises: The RC/HC and HCT may consider a multi-year HRP  in contexts where needs and planned responses change little from year to year, or where multi-year programming (such as resilience-building actions) is under way.  A multi-year HRP should cover a 2-3 year span to enable an outcome-oriented approach which ensures a response that effectively strengthens resilience (the HCT will often look at the potential availability of multi-year funding and other sources of funding to bridge the humanitarian–development divide). Examples (in 2022) includes Whole of Syria, Haiti and Venezuela.  At country-level, the HPC elements/tools will be adapted to the context (making the process lighter) and to allow for broad consultation at both national and subnational level. See details on the impact for the Coordinator in 9.5.2.

In case of a Change in Context? If there is a (significant and unforeseen) spike in needs or a change in the context, the RC/HC and HCT may decide to revise the HRP  or develop a Flash Appeal to outline the new needs and associated funding requirements. In this case, the Flash Appeal serves as a precursor to the revision of an HRP . In some HRP countries where the situation has either changed, or, where lack of funding has resulted in planned activities not taking place during first six months, a Mid-Year Review (MYR) will allow all clusters to update their targets for the year to ensure they remain realistic. The FSC Coordinator will thereby provide the narrative inputs as well as updated targets for the FSC (for example, for agricultural activities which can be seasonal and time specific due to the cropping calendar or for food assistance, MYRs offer the chance to update the targets accordingly).

What is the role of the FSC Coordinator? The specific role of Coordinator is clarified in below sections. Although the work requirement may appear simple and straightforward based only on the HPC guidance and steps, this is often not the case. The HNO and HRP will require significant work on behalf of the FSC Coordination team.  

Guidance: IASC Reference Module for the Implementation of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (IASC, 2015), see pp. 22-24.

Humanitarian Programme Cycle Elements and Accompanying Tools
  • The following sections cover each of the five HPC phases and outline the role of the Coordinator and accompanying tools, resources etc. 
  • These elements apply to all humanitarian crises, but the tools should generally be applied flexibly (e.g. sudden onset vs protracted crisis).

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