Letter from Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to the members of the South Sudan NGO Forum (Feb. 2015)
NGOs are widely recognized as key actors in an effective, efficient and accountable emergency response because they are frontline implementers for the majority of humanitarian operations. As such, the appropriate engagement of NGOs within humanitarian leadership is a critical component for success. Despite numerous evaluations of the cluster approach noting the value of NGO engagement, there is lack of qualitative data on the NGO role within humanitarian leadership structures. This research attempts to fill that gap. Through this study, InterAction examined the perceived and expected value of NGO engagement on and contributions to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs). Additionally, the research explored how NGOs leverage and lend their experience to the HCTs to improve the efficiency of humanitarian action. InterAction plans a second phase of research to examine other aspects of the architecture, notably clusters. The report also includes findings on challenges faced by all HCT members –for example, the extent to which a staff member of an independent operational organization can represent his/her peers. The recommendations within this report aim to strengthen a common understanding of the role that NGOs can fulfill on HCTs, as well as to reiterate expectations of the HCTs themselves.