While there is a consensus on the importance of accountability to affected population in humanitarian response, country teams often raise the question “how do we actually do it”? This document is an attempt to illustrate more concretely what accountability to affected population means in terms of Early Recovery (ER) assistance and coordination.
The document gives a gist of some of the guiding principles and commitments the humanitarian community has made to improve accountability. It also provides a few examples of good practices on how Accountability to the Affected Populations (AAP) is exercised in Early Recovery response vis-à-vis the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). They are meant to assist Early Recovery practitioners, including Cluster Coordinators for Early Recovery (CCfER) and other staff. This is not a technical guide. Instead, in view of the abundance of existing theories and guides, this package is meant to inspire early recovery clusters in the field with a few stories and tips to a practical approach. It is a living document and more stories can be added if people are interested in sharing.
What is AAP?
There are many dimensions to accountability, but in summary, Accountability to Affected Populations is an active commitment for aid workers and organizations to use the power and resource entrusted to them ethically and responsibly, combined with effective and quality programming that recognizes the community’s dignity, capacity and rights to participate in decisions that affect them. Being accountable means taking account of the views of affected people in the design and implementation of aid activities and collecting and acting upon feedback from them, giving account by transparently and effectively sharing information with communities, and being held to account for the quality, fairness and effectiveness of their actions.
Individual aid organizations are ultimately responsible to manage resources, engage communities and be accountable to the population they assist. Moreover, the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) has committed itself to strengthening AAP and the Global Cluster for Early Recovery established a Technical Working Group (TWG) on AAP1 in 2015 to follow through the commitments. Clusters are an important space for actors to discuss and promote a consistent and harmonized approach to accountability in operations. Cluster Coordinators should play an active role in ensuring that accountability is considered in operations, such as promoting consistent use of recognized technical and quality standards, the use of context and culturally appropriate mechanisms for collecting community feedback to inform and guide cluster decision-making, or identifying and addressing gaps in the response. Leadership at the cluster level to encourage and promote application of good practices around accountability helps ensure that clusters can more consistently and effectively meet affected people’s needs, priorities and concerns.