The multi cluster/sector initial rapid assessment (MIRA) approach - process, methodologies and tools

Manual and Guideline
Originally published
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Provisional Version as of 11 January 2012

Produced by the Needs Assessment Task Force


Rationale and Purpose

For the past several years, the humanitarian and donor communities have agreed that the absence of a coordinated approach to needs assessment hindered evidence-based decisionmaking and effective response. While actors involved in humanitarian crises1 have all developed various approaches to collecting and analysing data on humanitarian needs, they have dedicated little effort to ensuring the synergies necessary for a comprehensive and robust identification of humanitarian priorities.

In 2009, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) created the Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF) to address this gap. The aim of the NATF is to promote cross-sectoral needs assessments for the identification of key strategic priorities in complex emergencies and natural disasters. To support the holistic, consistent, reliable and timely collection and analysis of data on humanitarian needs, the NATF developed the present Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) approach.

The MIRA is a multi-sector assessment carried out by key stakeholders during the first two weeks following a sudden-onset disaster. It aims to provide fundamental information on the needs of affected populations and the priorities for international support. The MIRA enables all humanitarian actors to reach, from the outset, a common understanding of the situation and its likely evolution and to agree on immediate strategies.

The development of the MIRA approach benefited from a wealth of experience and knowledge gathered from United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), donor and academic institutions, and other technical bodies. It builds upon decades of field practice, as well as on lessons learnt exercises and existing tools and methodologies.

It reflects a common vision of what is both methodologically sound and realistically feasible in the highly challenging environment in which humanitarian needs assessments take place.