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Humanitarian Aid on the move # 15, special issue: The Quality of Aid

Contrasting views – including ‘Neutrality’ in the CHS
Anne de Riedmatten & Nigel Timmins

Key word: Point of view /

 Any other comments about the CHS?


Anne de Riedmatten: Switzerland is engaged in promoting initiatives and approaches that put affected people in the center. Beneficiaries must be empowered to influence the type and the effectiveness of the humanitarian assistance they receive. In this regard, we believe that accountability towards affected people goes hand in hand with the promotion of standards. The CHS is a valuable contribution to the empowerment of affected people and can help in achieving progress on that challenging – but yet essential – issue. For instance, the fact that the Commitments are articulated around what the communities are entitled to receive and expect, is new and very valuable. The simplification of language is also an added value, since it makes the document accessible to a wider audience, including the beneficiaries themselves.

We very much look forward to the guidance tools that are currently being produced, as we fear that without them, it is still currently difficult for humanitarian organizations and personnel to assess how far they reached the standard or what is still left to achieve, and ultimately, how to design a valuable program.

Lastly, the fact that URD joined HAP, SPHERE and People in Aid in this initiative is a very positive development according to us.


Nigel Timmins: Ultimately a quality standard tool such as the CHS is not going to address some of the fundamental questions around humanitarianism. A single core standard that actors can rally around will hopefully drive up performance on the ground, but the acid test will be whether the communities we serve notice any improvement.