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  • Leadership in humanitarian action: Handbook for the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
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Leadership in humanitarian action: Handbook for the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator

Source(s):  Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

In this handbook detailed approaches to strengthening national readiness and addressing the underlying drivers of risk are discussed. Being prepared to respond quickly, appropriately and effectively to an emergency is a core responsibility of humanitarian leadership. The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) plays a key role in coordinating inter-agency readiness to respond to potential crises in support of national preparedness efforts. The aim, ultimately, is to anticipate – not wait for – humanitarian crises.

The paper identifies key roles of the UN Resident Coordinator (RC) and Humanitarian Coordinator (HC). These include:

  • Provide strategic leadership on emergency preparedness across all relevant agencies.
  • Ensure agency heads are committed to providing staff and resources to support the processes for preparedness and anticipatory humanitarian action.
  • Ensure the Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP) approach is participatory from the outset, and that its application is practical, flexible and adapted to the context and available capacities.
  • Lead country teams (UNCT/HCT) in identifying gaps in preparedness.
  • For country teams with limited capacity, prioritize which actions they will implement with their existing resources, and communicate gaps to regional and global levels for additional follow-up and support.
  • Ensure risk analysis and monitoring are key to dynamic and responsive preparedness and anticipatory approaches.



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  • Leadership in humanitarian action: Handbook for the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
  • Publication date 2021
  • Number of pages 209 p.

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