The Humanitarian Assistance Coordinating Committee is the central forum for discussion and coordination between the German Government, humanitarian NGOs and other institutions active in the sphere of humanitarian assistance. Since its foundation in 1994, it has met regularly, with its meetings taking place alternately in the Federal Foreign Office, the German Government’s lead ministry for humanitarian assistance, and the offices of one of the other members. It also convenes on an ad hoc basis in order to respond to crises. The Coordinating Committee is a unique body within Europe in that it facilitates close dialogue based on trust between Government and civil society on all humanitarian assistance issues.
The members of the Coordinating Committee provide or promote humanitarian assistance, paying due regard to the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. In a bid to lend substance to these principles, they agreed on the Twelve Basic Rules of Humanitarian Assistance Abroad. Furthermore, they abide by the European Consensus on Humanitarian Assistance adopted in 2007 and advocate effective coordination mechanisms, particularly in the United Nations framework.
2. Aims and tasks
The prime goal of the Coordinating Committee is to optimise the humanitarian assistance provided or promoted by its members, paying due regard to the aforementioned principles in order to maximise the benefit to those in need. This includes coordinating aid measures in specific crisis situations, regular exchange on overarching issues such as strengthening the capacities of local actors (localisation), improving the inclusion of those concerned in assessing humanitarian needs and deciding what form aid will take (participation), meeting the specific humanitarian needs of women, men, girls, boys and people with disabilities of all ages (inclusion), organising humanitarian cash aid, and addressing questions concerning humanitarian disaster prevention, the international coordination of humanitarian aid, quality assurance, accountability and the integrity of the actions of humanitarian aid workers and organisations.
The Committee serves as a forum for debate on key questions concerning humanitarian assistance and is an expert body for exchange between humanitarian organisations and the German Government on these issues.
3. Working methods
The Coordinating Committee convenes once a quarter for its regular meetings, once a year for a special meeting focused on a particular topic and ad hoc for special meetings in the event of major humanitarian crises. The meetings are co‑chaired by the Federal Foreign Office and the Association of German Development NGOs.
The members of the Coordinating Committee include humanitarian organisations that are based or represented in Germany, various federal ministries, subordinate authorities and academic institutions.