London launch of the CHS Alliance highlights sector engagement around how to improve aid effectiveness

22 September 2015

The London launch of the CHS Alliance took place yesterday, 21 September 2015, with nearly 60 key humanitarian and development players in attendance. The event explored ways to deliver effective aid responses in relation to the 2015 Humanitarian Accountability Report: On the Road to Istanbul, the World Humanitarian Summit, and the Alliance’s mandate to improve quality, accountability and people management.

The Alliance’s Chair Robert Glasser drew attention to increasing challenges the sector faces in terms of climate change, inadequate funding and conflict.

“To address these challenges, we need to improve the impact and effectiveness of our work. We can do this by being accountable and practising good people management,” he said.

Robert highlighted that the CHS Alliance has been set-up to support the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) and provide services to members who are applying the Standard. He also reminded the audience that People In Aid and HAP International chose to merge because they believed they could better fulfil their missions by working together.

A panel discussion then took place on sector challenges and the opportunities presented by the Alliance. Panellists included:

  • Jacquie Heany, Head of People and Performance, CAFOD, and CHS Alliance Trustee
  • David Loquercio, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Learning, CHS Alliance
  • Alex Jacobs, Director of Programme Quality, Plan International

Jacquie highlighted the importance of people management in a context where agencies are asking more of their people.

“There is a need for organisations to be truly accountable to their own staff. Staff care is essential not a nice to have.”

David shared five areas the Alliance sees as ways to improve humanitarian response:

  • Localising aid
  • Embedding accountability at cluster level
  • Measuring progress on organisational development
  • Harmonising donor reporting
  • Making the use of community voice a non-negotiable part of programming.

He also suggested: “Perhaps we need less innovation and more action. Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the World Humanitarian Summit to make things happen.”

Alex Jacobs recognised the importance of the CHS and the CHS Alliance for the sector. He also highlighted the importance of working together as a sector and making the most of the World Humanitarian Summit.

“The opportunity now is to work with others to bring operational agencies and donors together around a shared agenda for reform; build support along with practical solutions; and be ready to announce concrete commitments in May, “ said Alex.

The panellists all emphasised the increased importance of measuring and reporting on the impact of programmes in order to improve their quality and be accountable to beneficiaries and donors.

“If we don’t measure then we’re not going to be able to know where we should focus innovation,” said David.
Alex closed the discussion by commenting: “How can we create incentives for better performance on the ground? If we can find a way to use the CHS to assess and report on project performance then that’s a result.”

Read Alex Jacobs’ full blog on the London launch of the CHS Alliance and the 2015 Humanitarian Accountability Report here.