Putting crisis affected people first: launch of a stronger CHS

21 March 2024

In today’s increasingly precarious humanitarian environment, the need for a Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) centred on the expectations of the people and communities has never been more urgent. As demands escalate amidst tightening financial constraints, it is vital that the aid provided meets the needs and priorities of people affected by crisis.

Launched today, the strengthened CHS renews the commitments that aid actors are making to people in crisis. Written to be more inclusive and accessible, it has the potential to lead to an even wider adoption of the CHS across the entire aid system for greater impact in the lives of millions.

For the past decade, the CHS has served as the guiding framework for aid actors to safeguard the dignity and rights of those affected by crises. At the same time, the global context has changed significantly; the world is in a climate emergency; and the number and intensity of complex crises and protracted conflicts have increased. There is also a greater awareness of the need to address protection and safeguarding concerns and unequal power dynamics in the aid sector.

In response to these challenges, the CHS has been revisited by those it exists to serve-the people directly impacted by crises. More than 4,000 voices from crisis-affected communities and response organisations across 90 countries contributed to refining the CHS, emphasising the fundamental rights of those whose lives are upended by emergencies.

As a result of these voices, the updated CHS is now more people-centred, with a simplified structure and clearer language, promoting accessibility to a diverse range of actors supporting people in crisis situations.

While the structure of the Standard has changed, its core elements remain consistent, with a clearer focus on putting people at the centre of all we do, reinforcing the leading role of people and communities in shaping and influencing actions and decisions that affect them.

Speakers at the launch shared their excitement for the updates:

“The revised CHS is simpler, we need to use this standard to enable agents of change.”called Shama Mall, Community World Service Asia.

Christian Modino Hok, Caritas International said: “The revised CHS focuses on people not just knowing their rights, but exercising them!”

“The revised CHS is much closer to humanity.”Reflected Zeina Mohanna, Amel Association International.

Speakers at the CHS hybird launch event on 21 March 2024. Moderator: Christine Knudsen, Director of Humanitarian Policy, InterAction. Speakers from left to right: Christian Modino Hok, Humanitarian Director, Caritas Internationalis; Elizabeth Tan, Director for International Protection, UNHCR; Unni Krishnan, Global Humanitarian Director, Plan International; Gloria Soma, Executive Director, Titi Foundation; Shama Mall, Deputy Regional Director, Programs & Organizational Development, Community World Service Asia; Zeina Mohanna, PhD, Member of Board of Directors, Amel Association International; Mervat Shelbaya, Head, Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

The Executive Directors of the copyright holders welcomed today’s launch. Tanya Wood, CHS Alliance, William Anderson, Sphere and Véronique de Geoffroy, Groupe URD said, “A more people-centred and simplified CHS heralds broader acceptance of the need to shift the power in the aid system. We anticipate more organisations adopting the standard, enabling more individuals and communities affected by crises to demand principled and transparent aid, which is rightfully theirs.”

Learn more about the updated CHS.

After publication of the updated CHS on 21 March, there will be a transition period allowing organisations to gradually change to the updated CHS. Learn more here.

With the launch of the stronger CHS, it is now time for aid organisations everywhere to commit to the CHS, so that more crisis-affected people can expect principled and accountable aid that respects their rights and dignity.

CHS Alliance is calling for all organisations that place people affected by crisis or vulnerability at the centre of their work, to sign on to a Statement of Commitment to the CHS. This statement serves as a call to action and a public sign of an organisation’s commitment to accountability.

Sign on now to show your commitment to the rights and dignity of people affected by crisis.