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How change happens in the humanitarian sector: Humanitarian accountability report edition 2018

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Introduction

This edition of the Humanitarian Accountability Report (HAR 2018) focuses on the topic of change: change within humanitarian organisations, and change in the humanitarian system as a whole. Change has always been a central concern for the HAR. The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) – which produced this report from 2005 until 2013, was established to support change. It aimed to help member agencies, and the system as a whole, to become more accountable. The main purpose of the HAR was to assess and monitor changes and improvements in accountability and point out the challenges which remained. HAP’s successor, the CHS Alliance (see Box 1.1), also exists to support the sector as it changes and evolves to improve its quality, accountability and effectiveness. Still promoting this evolution in humanitarian thinking and practice, the CHS Alliance continues to publish the HAR, most recently with the HAR 20151 and this current version. The CHS Alliance came into being at a time when there was a broad consensus that major change was required in humanitarian action. The process leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016 led to calls for change across the board. There was talk of the humanitarian system being ‘broken’, and a desire for ‘transformational change’. Two years later, these changes are far from being achieved, but there is much work being done – around the so-called Grand Bargain, and in other areas – to try to deliver on the hopes and declarations made at the WHS. At the same time, scandals around safeguarding in a number of humanitarian organisations are a potent reminder that, in some areas, there is still a long way to go.