The IASC Principals have agreed that major sudden-onset humanitarian crises triggered by natural disasters or conflict which require system-wide mobilization to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of affected populations.
When disaster strikes, empowered and accountable leadership is a prerequisite to an effective humanitarian response. Following the adoption of the IASC Transformative Agenda, Humanitarian Coordinators (HC)2 will be empowered to lead the response to any Level 3 (L3) crisis for an initial period of three months.3 Speed in decision-making is essential.
The cluster approach was adopted in 2005, following an independent Humanitarian Response Review, toaddress gaps and to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian response by building partnerships.
In international responses to humanitarian crises, some sectors have in the past benefited from having clearly mandated lead agencies, while others have not. This has repeatedly led to ad hoc, unpredictable humanitarian responses, with inevitable capacity and response gaps in some areas.