Humanitarian aid (also called succour) is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It may therefore be distinguished from development aid, which seeks to address the underlying socioeconomic factors which may have led to a crisis or emergency.
Working with its partners, disaster survivors and others, HAP-International produced the HAP 2007 Standard in Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management. This certification scheme aims to provide assurance that certified agencies are managing the quality of their humanitarian actions in accordance with the HAP standard. In practical terms, a HAP certification (which is valid for three years) means providing external auditors with access to the organization’s mission statement, accounts and control systems, providing for greater transparency in operations and overall accountability.
As described by HAP-International, the HAP 2007 Standard in Humanitarian Accountability and Quality Management is a quality assurance tool for humanitarian organizations. By comparing an organization's processes, policies and products to the Standard's six benchmarks, it is possible to measure how well the organization assures quality and accountability in its humanitarian work. Agencies that comply with the Standard:
The Sphere Project handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, which was produced by a coalition of leading non governmental humanitarian agencies, lists the following principles of humanitarian action:
The Quality Project, based on the Quality Compass, is an alternative project to Sphere, taking into account the side effects of standardization and those of an appraoch based on "minima" rather than the pursuit of quality. This project is leaded by Groupe URD
Every organization participating of humanitarian aid operations, has its own particular rules, regulations and preventive plans of action for keeping their aid workers as safe as possible. Nevertheless, the dangers and threats inherent to these kind of operations have always existed and are not easy to minimize as each field of operation is unique. Even in areas with relative calm and tranquility, violence can suddenly appear.