Assessing and reporting on system-wide humanitarian performance has always been a key concern for the ALNAP network. Since it was formed, ALNAP has presented one of the few continuous assessments of performance related issues, articulated in seven successive editions of the Review of Humanitarian Action (RHA). And after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004, ALNAP played a central role in the formation and facilitation of the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition (TEC), which was the first system-wide evaluation of performance since the Rwanda report.
Since the publication of the tsunami evaluation findings, ALNAP has conducted a series of explorations and discussions on the feasibility, value and scope of an improved mechanism for assessing system-wide performance. At the heart of this effort were a series of network-wide consultations, bringing in the collective ideas and wisdom of the ALNAP membership. In doing so, ALNAP made the most of its unique position as a sector-wide network comprising most of the key actors in the international humanitrian system.
This work was reflected in the ALNAP Strategy 2008–13, which states that ALNAP will develop a ‘structured commentary on system-wide performance-related issues and… make a judgement on the progress the system has made in trying to improve performance’.
Over the past two years, as part of this work, ALNAP has developed several parallel and complementary streams of work which aim to monitor, assess and report on performance and also to identify and promote improved ways of working which will result in better performance. The outputs of this work – for example, on impact and innovation – have proved of value in their own right but also as part of a larger vision for assessing and improving system-wide performance.
The State of the Humanitarian System Report represents an early manifestation of this vision. Bringing together much of the work done by ALNAP since the tsunami, this first pilot report provides a baseline and working methodology which will be built upon and improved in subsequent iterations.
An undertaking of this scale and ambition has to rely on genuine collective action and active participation of many different stakeholders and we would like to acknowledge and thank all ALNAP members and others for their inputs, advice and constructive criticism throughout the design and development of this process. The level and quality of support we have received says a lot about the desire of the system to improve its work. Our hope is that this kind of collective action can become a defining characteristic of the way that the sector as whole goes about its business.
Head of Programme Performance & Accountability,
Oxfam GB. ALNAP Chair
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