Part three: Delivering Better

Gongulong, Nigeria

Two UN humanitarian workers during a mission to Maiduguri state. OCHA/Damilola Onafuwa

Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) outline how humanitarian agencies will coordinate action to meet the priority needs of an affected population in a country over a defined period of time. The estimated financial amount required to achieve a HRP’s objective is called the financial ask.

The most recent guidance on how field teams should establish the HRP financial ask dates back to 2017. At the time, the IASC Principals decided that HCTs should choose the most appropriate costing method, whether unit/activity based, project based or a combination of the two, as the basis for estimating a HRP’s financial requirements. In the absence of operational guidance, HCTs select the costing methodology based on context, capacity and preferences.

Recognizing that the different methodologies offer advantages and disadvantages, OCHA, with partners, initiated an independent two-year HRP Costing Review in 2020. The review’s ambitious process includes a multitude of stakeholders at HQ and field level, from HQ donor representatives to field-level national NGOs, by means of a comprehensive online survey in French and English, and interviews. The review includes:

  • A stock take of methodologies used by HCTs (current and past).

  • Identification of the advantages and disadvantages of these methodologies.

  • Documentation of the wider impact of using different costing methodologies from one country to another in terms of inter-agency humanitarian coordination, monitoring and financial tracking.

  • Identification of the success factors, problems and gaps in applying costing approaches and ways to overcome these problems.

The review is expected to contribute to strengthening sound and transparent HRP monetary forecasting procedures in the long term that can explain a HRP’s financial ask in a transparent manner. Preliminary results are being compiled, with recommendations for inter-agency and cluster review expected in early 2022.