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Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR)

Created in 1972, the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) is an alliance for voluntary action of ACT Alliance, Care International, Caritas Internationalis, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam International, Save the Children and World Vision International

» Mission

SCHRs mission is to bring together major international humanitarian actors with common values and shared principles. We work in a number of ways, including:

  • Sharing relevant information among member agencies and fostering cooperation at all levels;  
  • Highlighting issues of humanitarian concern and, where possible, adopting common positions;
  • Establishing working groups to study in depth relevant humanitarian issues and policies, especially on standards, accountability, security and protection;  
  • Engaging, where possible, in joint advocacy on humanitarian issues and situations;  
  • Engaging with the UN humanitarian system, and actively participating in the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC);  
  • Playing a leading role in ongoing debates about humanitarian standards;  
  • Conducting peer reviews to learn from one another and improve our humanitarian response;  
  • Regularly bringing the principals of our members together to build trust leading to further synergies at all levels of our work.

» Developing Humanitarian Policy

Sponsor of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief and a founding member of the Sphere project, SCHR supports humanitarian policy development and aims at closing the policy - practice gap. It learns from experience by following up on studies arising out of SCHR member work as practitioners in humanitarian action and disaster management, forms positions around humanitarian issues of concern, shares information and knowledge and fosters cooperation at all levels.

» Peer Review

The Peer Review Process is a recent example of collaboration on learning and accountability. Based on the West Africa scandal of sexual exploitation in humanitarian operations in 2002 and the following IASC process to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation, SCHR decided to embark on a peer review process on this particular issue, using OECD-DAC peer review methodology. The first round of reviews was finalised early 2007. A review showed that the peer review process can enhance learning both within and between organisations. SCHR is now conducting a second peer review on Accountability to Affected Population, which in addition to SCHR organizations includes a United Nations agency, UNHCR. The purpose of the peer review is to strengthen and deepen efforts that demonstrate accountability to disaster-affected populations. This has two dimensions: firstly, organisational policies and processes: and secondly, staff thinking, conduct and practice. Ultimately, it is hoped that the peer review will help bring about important and lasting changes – within organisations (in terms of ‘culture’ and capacities) and within individuals (in terms of their attitudes and capabilities). In its aim to support increased quality, accountability and learning within the humanitarian sector, SCHR has also decided on a third peer review topic, Working with Partners.

» Work Focus

SCHR focuses its work on three segments, a field program-led agenda, a proactive quality and accountability agenda and an agenda focused on interaction with the United Nations, mainly through IASC. 

The field program-led agenda looks at "current action" and neglected humanitarian contexts and comprises sharing program information and fostering co-operation, and proposing and taking joint SCHR (or "some of SCHR") action on issues of common humanitarian concern. 

The standards and accountability agenda focuses on the peer review process as well as promotion of the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards, the Code of Conduct in Disaster Relief and other quality and accountability initiatives. 

The third segment focuses on strategic UN humanitarian issues, currently largely encapsulated in the humanitarian reform vehicle and relating to humanitarian coordination and NGO-UN relationships and responsibilities, capacity issues and clusters, benchmarking, standards and indicators and humanitarian financing, including the new CERF.

» Fora

Drawing strength from its diversity, SCHR will continue to debate issues in its bi-annual CEO meetings, inviting other actors to be part of the discussion as appropriate, looking at neutral and independent humanitarian action, civil-military relations, the future of different standards and accountability initiatives, a changing hazardscape or other issues on the frontline of humanitarian action, and supported by its main "mini-think tank", the Policy Working Group, consisting of emergency directors and policy heads. 

Since 2006 SCHR is an active contributor to the Global Humanitarian Platform, a forum for exchange between the IASC Principals and major global NGOs. 

SCHR has its office in Geneva under the leadership of 
Mr. Charles-Antoine Hofmann, its Executive Secretary.

Contact Info

Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response 
c/o IFRC
17, chemin des Crêts 
C.P. 372 
1211 Geneva 
Switzerland

Phone: +41 22 730 4500
Mobile: +41 79 217 33 39
Fax: +41 22 733 0395
Email: schr@ifrc.org