Humanitarian leaders and decision-makers highlighted the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) as a way to improve humanitarian effectiveness during the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), May 23-24 in Istanbul.

This was captured in the Chair’s Summary report: “Participants at the Summit recognized the need to ensure people affected by crises are not only informed and consulted, but put at the centre of the decision-making processes. People affected by crisis should be treated as partners, not beneficiaries. Numerous commitments were made towards addressing this shift by donors, UN agencies and NGOs including the adoption of the Core Humanitarian Standard.”

Commitments made at the summit:

United Nations Industrial Development Organization: “UNIDO commits to comply with the Core Humanitarian Standard and International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard.”

Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kristian Jensen: “Improved response is not only about increasing funding, it’s also about efficientness, quality and accountability. Denmark will in close cooperation with its humanitarian partners support the implementation of the Core Humanitarian Standard.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Director for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephan Schønemann: With the attempt to raise the bar and setting the standard, a new quality and accountability tool - the Core Humanitarian Standard - was launched one and half years ago in Copenhagen. The Standard places people affected by crisis at the centre of humanitarian action, and it sets out nine commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.

With the recent adoption of the Core Humanitarian Standard by the Global Clusters to complement existing international technical standards, and with the support this common standard has garnered as a baseline for organisational accountability from NGOs to actors such as the European Commission, we have a real opportunity to strengthen a framework which puts people at the center of humanitarian action. When response plans, common priorities and collective goals are informed by evidence and analysis against internationally recognised standards – significant shifts in practice can be seen. To make this happen requires strong leadership at country level.

World Vision International, President and CEO, Kevin Jenkins: “As a member of the CHS Alliance, we call on others to adopt the CHS. We will carry out our own self-assessment against this standard by the end of next year”.

Oxfam International, Executive Director, Winne Byanyima: “We commit to the Core Humanitarian Standard to make humanitarian assistance more responsive to the needs of people and communities we are serving. It’s time for us to trust first responders and people affected by crisis with their own future.”

Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN), Chair, Manu Gupta: “Putting people in centre is central to the strategy of ADRRN, the civil society network of Asia I currently chair. Friends, our idea of localisation is centred around local leadership, regional partnership and international support. It is an approach that helps get to the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. ADRRN’s commitments in this regard reiterate … the Core Humanitarian Standard.”

The CHS Alliance: “The members of the CHS Alliance - over 240 national and international organisations working in more than 160 countries - commit to adopting, using and monitoring the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), with the objective of making humanitarian action more appropriate, effective, and responsive to the needs of people and communities affected by crises”.

UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Lise Grande: Because of the efforts of many organisations and members states and people, the accountability agenda is moving. One of the best examples of this are the nine commitments which make up the Core Humanitarian Standard. These commitments are a manifesto of how we should be working, and it’s great it features in the Grand Bargain.

The Standard is a very clear statement that humanitarians must see accountability to the people we serve as our fundamental responsibility – something all of us are obliged to do. The Standard is a way of concretising our ethical commitment and putting it literally at the centre of everything we try to do.

Groupe URD, Executive Director, François Grünewald, Executive Director: The good thing about the Core Humanitarian Standard is that is is not a technical solution, it’s about asking questions. At Groupe URD, we like being confrontational and asking (the right) questions. At the end of the day, we need to avoid just coming with a recipe book and using standards as such. Accounting for context is not an easy task and it requires more than a book. It requires engagement with local actors if you don’t want to end up doing by the book things that are totally stupid.

A full summary of statements and endorsements on the CHS made at the summit is available for download here.

We look forward to continuing to receive commitments to adopt the CHS in order to improve humanitarian effectiveness and put affected people at the centre of humanitarian action.