Coordination Tools: Needs Assessment
Experience has shown that coordinating needs assessments is an important element in saving lives and restoring people's livelihoods. Along with emergency preparedness, the timeliness and quality of assessments help determine an effective humanitarian response.
A coordinated assessment is an assessment planned and carried out in partnership by humanitarian actors, in order to document the impact of a particular crisis and to identify the needs of affected populations. Credible and accurate assessment results form the basis for needs-based strategic planning and system-wide monitoring.
In July 2009, the IASC Working Group created the time-limited IASC Needs Assessment Task Force (NATF) to develop a package of tools and products aimed at harmonizing and promoting cross-sector needs assessment initiatives. The core elements of this package include the:
Operational Guidance on Coordinated Assessments in Humanitarian Crises which promotes a shared vision on how to plan and carry out coordinated assessments, and use the results to support humanitarian decision-making
Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) Manual which outlines an approach to undertaking a joint multi-sector assessment in the earliest days of a crisis or change in the context, and guides subsequent in-depth sectoral assessments
- Humanitarian Dashboard which is designed to facilitate the consolidation of needs assessment and response information, provide a structured format for the collection of data, and present a shared analysis of a humanitarian situation
This package is being implemented by operational agencies working in humanitarian contexts including NGOs, UN agencies and governments. Having developed a vision of what constitutes a coordinated approach to needs assessment in humanitarian crises, the NATF is now focused on supporting the development of in-country and global capacity to implement the approach in both protracted and new emergencies.
The NATF is co-chaired by OCHA and WFP with the Secretariat based out of OCHA. The IASC Working Group has extended the mandate of the NATF until the end of 2012. Members include NGOs, UN agencies, other international organizations, and cluster/sector representatives. Experts, donors and academics are invited as observers to provide technical input.