Why do we do what we do?

The original 4 initiative members of this group were formed for very compelling reasons, as explained in the Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda (1997) - a time of serious reflection that represented a sea-change in humanitarian strategy and practice. The processes that gave rise to each initiative have, for the most part, been extraordinarily collaborative, involving hundreds of agencies and many thousands of individuals across the humanitarian sector. Hundreds of agencies spanning bilateral and multilateral donors, the UN system, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, NGOs and inter-agency umbrella organisations have participated in, or are members of, one or more of the initiatives.

Although the debates about the appropriateness and value of these initiatives are ongoing, the need for learning, standards and codes of best practice is not in doubt. Indeed, the current experiences from all ALNAP Reviews of Humanitarian Action suggest that poor human resource practices, a lack of lesson learning, weak accountability to intended beneficiaries and patchy application of technical standards are still all too common in humanitarian action.