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Humanitarian Leadership and Coordination

Leadership and Coordination are vital elements in humanitarian operations.

Good leadership can lead to more effective humanitarian response while poor leadership can create delays, confusion, and missed opportunities. And in a sector where needs are endemically outpaced by resources, coordination is a key cornerstone for effective humanitarian action.

For ALNAP, leadership involves three distinct functions: creation of a vision, design of a strategy and implementation of this strategy. Yet at a policy level, humanitarian thinking around leadership assumes these three functions as conducted by a single individual: the leader.

There is a growing recognition this highly individualised model of leadership may not be effective in humanitarian contexts. The views are currently evolving to seeing leadership as a function not just of the individual, but of the organisation, the team and the individual working together.

This "working together" entails coordination. When a multitude of humanitarian actors are responding to a crisis, this is an essential part of successful humanitarian response. Take sector-based humanitarian clusters, for example. They are tasked with a multitude of activities, but what does ‘effective coordination’ mean for them? And how do they achieve this success?

ALNAP's new study addresses these questions and looks at what is the right level of coordination for clusters. It examines many factors that can contribute to achieving this level; from clear information management procedures, to trusting relationships and the role of the Cluster Lead Agency.







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