06/06/2015
lisa monaghan

Niland et al, 'Independent Whole of System Review of Protection in the Context of Humanitarian Action,' 2015

This report focuses on protection in the context of humanitarian action. It examines the current humanitarian response system for protection to understand how it is intended to work, how it is working on practice and what changes are needed to make it more effective in delivering protection outcomes. As per the Terms of Reference (ToR) this report identifies the issues and circumstances that can facilitate or undermine effective protective initiatives. The core purpose of the Review is to assess the effectiveness of the current humanitarian system to meet declared life-saving objectives, from a protection perspective, across the diverse range of situations of humanitarian concern including disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence.

This Review was generated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Principals’ decision to focus on protection in humanitarian action as a strategic priority for 2014-16.2 This focus on protection is motivated in part by the findings and recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel (IRP) report on United Nations actions in Sri Lanka and the subsequent UN Human Rights Up Front (HRUF) initiative. The latter seeks to promote a cultural shift in the UN so that human rights are part of its “lifeblood” thereby prompting early and effective action in crisis settings. Further details on the objectives and scope of the review are outlined in the ToR (Annex A).

Two key issues must be clear at the outset; as specified in the ToR, this is not an evaluation in the sense that it does not attempt to build a case for judgement based on established criteria and an agreed baseline. The Methodology section outlines the research team’s systematic approach to data collection and analysis. This Review is also independent in the sense that the research team was not beholden to any particular institutional allegiance. As a result it felt empowered to take the discussion beyond a narrow interpretation of its findings. It will be for the reader to judge the value of this work. The team’s hope is that this report will trigger debate among diverse stakeholders, and lead to much needed reform, improved protection for at-risk populations, and an enhanced ability to measure outcomes at the system level in the future.

Category: Human Rights and Protection, International Assistance and Interventions