Accountability to affected people

Publication language
Date published
30 Aug 2023
Accountability and Participation, Humanitarian Principles, Organisational

Humanitarian agencies provide services to some of the world's most marginalised people. Under normal circumstances, service providers can be held to account by citizens, the government and, critically, by the end-users. But in conflict settings – like those in which the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works – the power dynamics between humanitarian organizations, local bodies and community members are mostly unbalanced, hampering trust and collaboration.

Since its foundation, the ICRC has put people at the centre of its humanitarian work, underpinned by the Fundamental Principles and the "do no harm" principle. The ICRC's people-centric approach was formalised in 2018 with the adoption of an institutional framework. This framework sets out a common understanding of what accountability to affected people means across the organization and defines key elements of accountability to which the ICRC is committed.