Despite the distance from where developments in the sector often take shape, the Australian humanitarian community has an important voice and have contributed to a number of important policies and standards, including the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) did an excellent job in collating its members’ views during the process of developing the CHS, and attended the Advisory Working Group which approved the final version.

Jonathan Potter of People In Aid visited Australia in March 2015 and presented the CHS to a variety of audiences at a number of events with participants from various NGOs and government representatives. Save the Children Australia hosted a meeting for humanitarians in Melbourne, the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) brought its humanitarian section together, ACFID’s HR Directors’ Working Group looked closely at the staff-related elements of the CHS, and ACFID’s senior staff spent time thinking through the implications of the CHS.

Discussions at events were engaging and feedback on the CHS was positive, showing that the CHS is likely to fulfil its objectives. The CHS was described by one participant as ‘a new game-changer for the sector’. Participants found that the content of the CHS is familiar to them and so is ‘not another process’. Additionally it has the potential to reduce reporting burdens by being the accepted standard for monitoring, self-evaluation and evaluation.

Discussions also took place on topics such as certification, how the UN will use the CHS, how it can be used in development, the support available from the CHS Alliance, and how national partners will work with the CHS.

The Australian humanitarian community is closely linked and the existence of the CHS will now stimulate discussion between ACFID, DFAT and the humanitarian NGOs about how (or, as a first consideration, whether) the CHS can add value to existing relationships as well as to field practices. 

The CHS is available to donwload in English, French and Spanish. If you have questions on the CHS please consult the FAQs or email info@corehumanitarianstandard.org