2024: A stronger CHS driven by crisis-affected people and communities

26 January 2024
Tanya Wood

by Tanya Wood

Executive Director, CHS Alliance

The CHS Alliance movement has entered a pivotal year. People and communities affected by crises have led the way with the global aid community to successfully strengthen Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). An even more people-centred and simplified CHS will now be paving the way for broader uptake so that more crisis-affected people can expect principled and accountable aid that respects their rights and dignity.

As complex crises continue to unfold and humanitarian needs are growing globally, the CHS Alliance network is approaching its work with strong impetus to push for system change through our collective efforts and the updated CHS.

Reflecting community-driven discussions and feedback from over 4,000 contributors across 90 countries, the Standard has been strengthened, making it more people-centred, with a simplified structure and clearer language, promoting accessibility to a diverse range of actors supporting people in crisis situations.

Being people-driven and people-centred, the updated CHS reinforces the leading role of people and communities in shaping and influencing actions and decisions that affect them, helping address power imbalances.

People supported by CHS Alliance member Concern Worldwide telling us how to make the CHS work better for them, in Dabnou, Niger. Credit: CHS Alliance

CHS update – what is important to know

  1. The CHS more clearly reflects what people experiencing crisis want and expect. It makes stronger commitments to support people and communities affected by crises, while upholding rights and dignity.
  2. The CHS has been simplified. It uses clearer language and consists of nine commitments with a reduced number of requirements for organisations.
  3. The CHS is now more accessible and inclusive, able to be used by any people or organisations providing support during crises.

“The Standard acknowledges the diversity of actors intervening in humanitarian contexts. Thank you for the effort to reinforce the wider applicability of the Standard to different types and sizes of organisations, especially local actors.” Participant at the Amman CHS Revision Regional Workshop.

I share my gratitude with everyone who contributed to the effort of strengthening the CHS. You can preview the updated Standard here in English I French I Spanish I Arabic ahead of its public launch on 21 March 2024 16h-17h CET.

Registrations are open! I hope you will join us – and our fellow CHS custodians Groupe URD and Sphere – in celebrating this collective achievement at the global launch event, the first in a series of events at local, national and regional levels to promote the updated CHS around the world.

It’s important to note that organisations interested in working with the CHS can do so at any moment. Currently, this is the 2014 version. After publication of the updated CHS, there will be a transition period allowing organisations to gradually change to the updated CHS.

CHS 2024 edition: verification timeline

  • 21 March 2024 – Public launch of CHS 2024 edition. Updated CHS verification framework will be published.
  • End June 2024 – Publication of the updated CHS verification guide.
  • End November 2024 – Updated Self-Assessment tools based on the CHS 2024 edition will be available.
  • April 2025 – HQAI’s initial and renewal audits for Independent Verification and Certification will be available for the CHS 2024 edition.

CHS revision and Self-Assessment:

While the structure of the updated CHS has changed, the core elements remain with a renewed emphasis on putting people at the centre of all we do. Conducting your verification against the current CHS provides an important learning and improvement tool.

By the end of November 2024, the self-assessment survey and tools will have been transitioned to the CHS 2024 edition. Organisations currently in self-assessment or starting the process before then will continue using the current CHS until their next renewal.

CHS revision and Independently Verified or Certified organisations:

CHS Alliance has been working closely with HQAI to manage a smooth transition for the organisations they audit. To ensure enough time is given to all partners for adjusting to the updated standard, and to upgrade all HQAI processes, both initial and renewal audits undertaken before end of March 2025 will continue using the current CHS.

After April 2025, HQAI will be auditing against the CHS 2024 edition.  If you have any questions on your situation, please contact us or reach out directly to HQAI.

These updates to the Standard lay a powerful foundation for our work, as we harness the power of our global network of CHS champions and drive widespread adoption of the CHS to bring profound changes in the aid system: greater accountability, transparency and a sector that works more meaningfully with people affected by crises.

Here’s what we’ll focus on in 2024 to drive change:

I eagerly anticipate working closely with all our members and partners on these priorities to fundamentally shift the way aid is funded, designed, delivered, evaluated, and adapted.

Collectively, we are a powerful force for accountability to people and communities affected by crisis, challenging the aid system to place the dignity and agency of people at the heart of everything we do.

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