Accountability to Affected Populations and Cost-Effectiveness in Humanitarian Outcomes

21st April 2020
Author: Kelbesa Megersa

Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) seeks to ensure that the rights, dignity, perspectives and security of all groups of an affected population are protected, and that gender, age, disability and diversity identify their particular needs. This rapid review summarizes the available evidence on how/if Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) is leading to cost-effective humanitarian outcomes as well as if certain AAP mechanisms are more effective than others (although the evidence on the latter is very limited). Overall, AAP has been a well-recognised principle of humanitarian action for two decades. The humanitarian sector has made commitments on five ‘pillars’ of AAP through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and other related forums, namely: leadership and governance; transparency; feedback and complaints; participation; and project design, monitoring and evaluation. Nevertheless, a comprehensive review on the ‘state of the humanitarian system’ by ALNAP discovered that there was ‘no progress in engaging local participation’ and ‘little evidence of affected populations’ input into project design or approach’. Further, much of the available evidence confirms that the humanitarian sector has had a ‘poor record’ in fulfilling its pledge to use power responsibly by taking into account, transparency and accountability of the people it aims to support.

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Suggested Citation

Megersa, K. (2020). Accountability to Affected Populations and Cost-Effectiveness in Humanitarian Outcomes. K4D Helpdesk Report 789. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


21st April 2020


Continent: Global