Operational Guidance for Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises
Provisional Version as of October 2011
Experience has shown that there are significant benefits to coordinating needs assessments and that doing so can help save more lives and restore more people’s livelihoods. The Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF) was established by the IASC in March 2009 to improve coordinated assessment processes.
Along with emergency preparedness, the timeliness and quality of assessments help determine an effective humanitarian response. The credibility and accuracy of assessment results are the basis for needs based planning and can have long-lasting effects on everything from the quality of interagency coordination, to donor funding levels, to relationships with the national government, local NGOs, and disaster-affected populations.
The NATF commissioned this guidance to help realize the goal of better quality and more timely assessments through coordinated processes. This Operational Guidance for Coordinated Assessments was not developed due to a lack of assessment guidelines and tools, but rather to provide guidance for those seeking to make informed decisions on aspects of coordinated assessments (harmonized or joint). The Guidance has been developed based primarily on experiences during early phases of large-scale quick-onset natural disasters, but is also applicable to other types of crises. It provides guidance to coordinate assessments. Technical tools and guidance can be found in the annexes.
The NATF developed this guidance through a collaborative and consultative process, including consultations with UN agencies, other international organizations, NGOs and donors, at the global, regional and national levels. The guidance has been developed within the accountability framework generated by the humanitarian reform, and is fully in line with the coordination structures introduced through the cluster approach.