Humanitarian Practice

InterAction members respond to numerous natural disasters and complex emergencies around the globe, providing direct relief and support to affected populations. InterAction serves as a hub for its members by assisting them to educate the public, coordinate with one another, and engage with and do advocacy work on the issue, including to the US Government and the United Nations.

At the outset of a crisis, InterAction, through the Humanitarian Policy and Practice Team, disseminates information, issues a crisis list of members who are responding to the emergency, and holds regular meetings and phone calls for members to share information and find solutions to tricky problems.

Between emergencies, InterAction seeks to improve member response to crises and assists members to better prepare the communities they serve to withstand future disasters. InterAction also strives to enhance transparency, accountability and professionalism in the field by encouraging its members to adhere to InterAction’s Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) Standards and standards set forth by the Sphere Project (need link to sphere page) and similar initiatives. InterAction also represents members as a standing invitee to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). 

Humanitarian actors constantly strive for improvements to the timeliness and accountability of a collective response to disasters.  Over the years, this pursuit has taken the form of clearer standards, stronger leadership and more effective coordination structures.   In 2010 the responses to the Pakistan floods and the Haiti earthquake exposed additional weaknesses and inefficiencies.  In answer to these operational challenges, the IASC—which brings together UN agencies, the World Bank, and NGOs—developed a set of concrete actions, known as the ‘transformative agenda.'  As we now shift from policy to practice, the key to success will be translating new policy into practices that result in improved outcomes for affected populations.