From the editor

A key thematic focus of this issue of Field Exchange is Humanitarian Reform. There have been many reviews and evaluations concerning the level of progress made since the reform process was officially launched some five years ago. The detailed and systematic ‘state of the system’ review by ALNAP (see research section) found that the ‘formal’ international humanitarian system (United Nations (UN), international non-governmental organisations and Red Cross) has grown significantly in financial and human resource terms in recent years. Progress was found in areas such as sector coordination (since the advent of the Cluster Approach – see below), in the mechanisms that provide more reliable and predictable funding and in tools for assessment. Significant gaps in areas such as overall leadership for coordination (non-sectoral) at the country level, in accountability to those affected by emergencies and in investment in national capacity development were identified. In fact, the “top-down orientation of the [humanitarian] system” was found to risk undermining local capacities.

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Issue 39 (September 2010)

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