Core Humanitarian Standard

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) 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. It facilitates greater accountability to communities and people affected by crisis: knowing what humanitarian organisations have committed to will enable them to hold those organisations to account.

The CHS describes the essential elements of principled, accountable and high-quality humanitarian action. Humanitarian organisations may use it as a voluntary code with which to align their own internal procedures. It can also be used as a basis for verification of performance.

We encourage to watch our short four-minute video animation below that gives an introduction to the CHS and its Nine Commitments, as well as the importance of accountability to affected populations. The animation is also available in ArabicFrench and Spanish.

Why do we have a standard?

The evaluations of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and other major responses called for greater effectiveness, impact, accountability and quality in humanitarian action. Standards on quality and accountability help organisations deliver these. Between 2011 and 2014 there was a call for greater coherence among existing standards as a single, coherent and easy-to-use standard is more likely to be put into practice by all.

The CHS is a collaboration between HAP International, People In Aid, the Sphere Project and, later, Groupe URD that brings together and replaced the core standards these organisations separately developed. The CHS launched in December 2014 and is the result of a sector-wide collaborative process.

Who is the standard for?

  • Communities affected by disasters, conflict or poverty. The CHS informs these communities about their rights, including their right to participate in the development of project, and allows them to hold organisations to account.
  • Aid workers. The CHS details what staff need to do, and makes the application of standards simpler and easier.
  • Organisations. The CHS details what policies, processes and systems need to be in place to allow aid workers to do their job effectively, and for communities to know and exercise their rights. The CHS will support development organisations as well as those responding to crises.

What does the CHS Alliance do for the CHS?

The CHS Alliance leads and facilitates the development, promotion and maintenance of the CHS, including by providing training and other events on the Standard. We also manage the development, promotion and maintenance of the CHS monitoring, reporting and verification scheme. Other organisations, including the Sphere Project and Groupe URD, are promoting the CHS and will jointly support its revision process.

CHS Guidance Notes and Indicators

The CHS Guidance Notes and Indicators help programme staff and partners understand the intention and meaning of each CHS commitment, key action and organisational responsibility. The tool supports users to implement, monitor and evaluate the CHS in particular programmes and contexts at any stage of the project cycle.

What users say

  • “DANIDA will, in close cooperation with its Danish humanitarian partners, support the implementation of the CHS in their organisational framework. (Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Denmark)
  • “Deep in our heart we do believe that CHS will be able to make a qualitative change in establishing a long lasting but easy to operate system of accountability in humanitarian and development initiatives.” (Foundation for Disaster Forum, Bangladesh)
  • Watch a short documentary about organisations applying the CHS in Latin America