- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981.
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and refugee children
- Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (1967)
- World Food Programme (WFP): Its work with refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and its “cluster approach” in responding to humanitarian crises.
- World Refugee Day (20 June)
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee
- The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) - brings together all major humanitarian agencies, both within and outside the UN system. It develops humanitarian policies, agrees on the clear division of responsibilities, and identifies and addresses gaps in response.
- The IASC is chaired by the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator.
- OCHA’s Humanitarian Reform Support Unit (HRSU).
- OCHA’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) - launched in March 2006 as an improved financing mechanism to facilitate an immediate response to humanitarian emergencies.
- ReliefWeb. The world’s foremost humanitarian website, it provides the latest information on emergencies worldwide (managed by OCHA).
- IRIN. A news service that offers accurate and impartial reporting and analysis about sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia for the humanitarian community (hosted by OCHA).
- The humanitarian early warning system (HEWS)
- Comprehensive list of OCHA websites.
IASC’s “cluster approach” to humanitarian assistance
The “cluster approach” to humanitarian assistance aims to strengthen humanitarian response by ensuring high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership. Any major new or ongoing emergency is addressed in terms of the following clusters, each with its own lead agency or agencies, and a range of UN and non-UN partners:
- Agriculture - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- Camp coordination and management - For conflict-induced displacement, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- For natural disaster migrations, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Crisis Prevention and Recovery - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Education - United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
and the International Save the Children Alliance
- Emergency shelter - For conflict-generated internal displacements, the UNHCR
- For disaster situations, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- Health - WHO
- Logistics - World Food Programme (WFP)
- Nutrition - UNICEF
- Protection - UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Water, sanitation and hygiene - UNICEF
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is also part of the IASC.
In a given country, upon the occurrence of a complex emergency or when an already existing humanitarian situation worsens in degree or complexity, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, on behalf of the Secretary-General and after consultation with the IASC, designates a Humanitarian Coordinator for that country.
OCHA also helps its IASC partners and the humanitarian coordinator to mobilize resources by launching consolidated inter-agency appeals.