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The ongoing debate about issues of quality in humanitarian aid

Following the previous discussions about the SCHR’s Certification project and the Core Humanitarian Standard, particularly following the workshop of 20 September 2013 in Paris, Groupe URD and Coordination Sud organized a new meeting to allow French organizations to continue to collectively look at these proposals in detail and produce critical analysis and recommendations for HAP, People in Aid and the SCHR.

Following the consultation process for the SCHR’s Certification project, which has now come to an end, even though the majority of the comments which were made in September 2013 and sent to the SCHR have been taken into account, the general feeling amongst the participants was still that the project in its current form would not contribute to a significant improvement in the quality of aid. At the same time, the project brings a certain number of risks:

  • Increased pressure on NGOs, and increased competition between them;
  • Resources redirected from M&E to procedures to establish norms and certification.

Due to the withdrawal of Sphere, the status of the CHS needs to be clarified in relation to existing tools. If it only involves HAP and People in Aid, it will only have consequences for their members. On the other hand, if there is greater ambition for the project, it is essential to think about the consequences that the arrival of a new reference framework will have on those that are already used by many organizations.

Beyond the SCHR and CHS projects, the participants restated their desire to continue working together to discuss and prioritise the needs of their organizations in terms of improving the quality of aid. With this objective in mind, they will look into the possibility of implementing new processes in 2014, which will be open to other organizations and other national and international actors in order to move collectively in this direction.