About HELID Collaborating Agencies
" WHO's ultimate goal is to increase the self-reliance
of its member countries. WHO wants them to be more resilient during a crisis,
capable of absorbing humanitarian assistance without being overwhelmed by it
and then, once the crisis, is over to move towards a recovery that takes full
advantage of lessons learnt".
(Gro Harlem. Brundtland: Director General WHO)
WHO applies the public health model to disaster reduction and humanitarian
assistance. By action at country, regional and global levels, WHO works to reduce
avoidable loss of life, illness and disability due to natural and human-induced
disasters, to mitigate the impact of disasters on health and health-related
structures and systems, and to ensure that health development does not stop
in situations of crisis, but continues through relief and recovery.
Disaster reduction is recognized as a core function of WHO. The Organization
updates and disseminates knowledge and develops tools to support national and
international agencies working for mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation.
A specific concern of WHO is that public health efforts are coordinated for
the best possible outcomes in the long-term, while also helping local partners
and systems immediately. The key to this strategy is to facilitate dialogue
on the basis of public health concerns and internationally-accepted best public
health practices. WHO believes that health data and public health guidelines
are the best lubricants for coordination and that this applies also to disaster
That is why, thanks to the generous support of the UK Department for International
Development, WHO has produced this CD-ROM containing a collection of current
best public health practices for disaster reduction provided by major actors
in the humanitarian field.
The materials included in this CDROM are judged to have a universal technical
For more information about how WHO functions, mobilizes, co-ordinates and administers
its core resources in emergencies, please visit http://www.who.int/eha/disasters/
or contact email@example.com or write to the postal
World Health Organization
Health Action in Crises
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Genève 27, Switzerland
About PAHO's Disaster Program
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health
agency with almost 100 years of experience working to improve health and living
standards of the people of the Americas. It enjoys international recognition
as part of the United Nations system, serving as the Regional Office for the
Americas of the World Health Organization, and as the health organization of
the Inter-American System.
In 1976, PAHO established the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Coordination
Program in response to the request from the countries of Latin America and the
Caribbean to create a program to help the health sector develop disaster preparedness,
response and mitigation programs.
Since its creation, one of the Program's main objectives has been to support
the Region's ministries of health in creating and strengthening the health sector's
national programs for disaster reduction. Three principal areas have been strengthened
through this support: disaster preparedness; disaster mitigation; and (support
in) disaster response.
The Program has also invested in a number of special technical projects such
as: Natural Disaster Mitigation in Drinking Water and Sewerage Systems; Humanitarian
Supply Management Systems; The Use of Internet for Disasters and Emergencies;
and the Regional Disaster Information Center.
One of the cornerstones of PAHO's efforts has been the production and publication
of technical information and disaster training material (books, slides, videos),
and the dissemination and distribution of this information to all the countries
of the Region at the lowest possible cost. The creation of this Virtual Disaster
Library is one more step in this long journey.
For more information about PAHO's disaster preparedness, mitigation and response
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or
write to the postal address.
Pan American Health Organization
Emergency Preparedness Program
525 23rd Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.
(202) 775-4578 (Fax)
For more technical information about disaster reduction, we recommend to use
the Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID), located en San Jose, Costa
Rica. CRID is the main source of information on disasters for and on Latin America
and the Caribbean. Now you can consult on-line from the Internet, the DISASTERS
bibliographical database with more than 13,000 documents.
Visit http://www.crid.or.cr or send an
email to email@example.com
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides protection
and assistance to the world's refugees. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR
was created by the United Nations General Assembly and began work in 1951 aiding
more than one million European refugees in the aftermath of World War II.
Its founding mandate defines refugees as those who have fled their countries
because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of their race, religion,
nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group and
who cannot or do not want to return.
Since its creation, UNHCR has helped around 50 million refugees, earning two
Nobel Peace Prizes in the process. But the refugee problem continues to grow,
escalating from around two million in the early 1970s to more than 27 million
in 1995. In 2000, the number of refugees and others of concern to UNHCR reached
more than 22 million worldwide. In addition, there are between 20 and 25 million
people who are displaced within their own countries, bringing the worldwide
total of uprooted people to nearly 50 million - or one in every 120 people
The current High Commissioner for Refugees is Ruud Lubbers, a former Dutch
prime minister who assumed his post on January 1st, 2001. He was appointed to
a three-year term. He is the organization's 9th High Commissioner.The High
Commissioner reports annually to the U.N. General Assembly through the Economic
and Social Council. The High Commissioner's programs are approved and supervised
by UNHCR's Executive Committee, currently composed of 57 member countries.
UNHCR's most important responsibility, known as "international protection",
is to ensure respect for refugees' basic human rights, including their
ability to seek asylum and to ensure that no one is returned involuntarily to
a country where he or she has reason to fear persecution. The organization promotes
international refugee agreements, monitors government compliance with international
law and provides material assistance such as food, water, shelter and medical
care to fleeing civilians.
Closely related to its role in international protection, UNHCR seeks long-term
solutions for refugees in three main areas: voluntary repatration to their original
homes, integration in countries where they first sought asylum or resettlement
in a third country. Though voluntary repatriation is the preferred solution
for the bulk of the world's refugees, this is not always possible, and
in those cases UNHCR helps people to try to rebuild their lives elsewhere-either
in the asylum country or in a third country willing to accept these uprooted
UNHCR has been asked periodically by the U.N. Secretary-General to help civilians
internally displaced within their own countries, so-called IDPs. Since the end
of the Cold War, the number of ethnic and civil wars around the world increased
dramatically as did the number of the internally displaced, to a total of between
20-25 million today. These people have not crossed international frontiers and
are not protected by the same international conventions as bona fide refugees,
but the plight of the two groups often overlap and UNHCR has participated in
more than 30 operations to help the internally displaced since the 1970s including,
recently, Timor and Kosovo.
UNHCR's programs are financed by voluntary contributions, mainly from
governments, but also from other groups including private citizens and organizations.
It receives a limited subsidy-less than two percent of the total-from
the United Nations regular budget which is used exclusively for administrative
In 2000, UNHCR's budget was $954.4 million and among the major contributors
were the United States $245 million, Japan $100 million and the Netherlands
$48 million. The 2001 budget totalled $954 million.
In January 2001, a total of 5,196 staff members were disbursed among 275 offices
in 121 countries, 83 percent of them in the field, often in remote and dangerous
locations. Among UNHCR's major assistance programs in the first year of
the new millennium were projects in South-Eastern Europe, East and Horn of Africa,
Africa's Great Lakes and West and Central Africa, and South-West Asia.
For more information, contact:
UNHCR Public Information
PO Box 2500
1211 Geneva 2 - Switzerland
Telephone: (41 22) 739-8502
Fax: (41 22) 739-7315
UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the
protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand
their opportunities to reach their full potential.
UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to
establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international
standards of behaviour towards children.
UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are
universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.
UNICEF mobilises political will and material resources to help countries, particularly
developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build
their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children
and their families.
UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged
children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence
and exploitation and those with disabilities.
UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In co-ordination
with United Nations partners and humanitarian agencies, UNICEF makes its unique
facilities for rapid response available to its partners to relieve the suffering
of children and those who provide their care.
UNICEF is non-partisan and its co-operation is free of discrimination. In everything
it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need
UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of
women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social,
and economic development of their communities.
UNICEF works with all its partners towards the attainment of the sustainable
human development goals adopted by the world community and the realisation of
the vision of peace and social progress enshrined in the Charter of the United
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction was launched by the General
Assembly of the United Nations to provide a global framework for action with
the objective of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses due
to natural hazards and related technological and environmental phenomena. The
ISDR aims at building disaster resilient communities by promoting increased
awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as an integral component of
sustainable development. In January 2000, through its resolution 54/219, the
General Assembly established two mechanisms for the implementation of the ISDR,
the Inter-Agency Secretariat and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction.
This was reconfirmed in resolution 56/195 in December 2001. ISDR builds on the
learning from IDNDR, the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action and the Geneva
Mandate of 1999.
The General Assembly also calls upon governments to establish national platforms
or focal points for disaster reduction, and to strengthen them where they already
exist, with a "multisectoral" and inter-disciplinary approach.
The ISDR promotes four objectives as tools towards reaching disaster reduction
- Increase public awareness to understand risk, vulnerability and disaster reduction
- Obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster reduction
policies and actions
- Stimulate interdisciplinary and "intersectoral" partnerships, including
the expansion of risk reduction networks
- Improve scientific knowledge about disaster reduction
ISDR Secretariat, United Nations
Office at Geneva
Palais des Nations CH 1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland
Tel (4122) 917-2762 Fax (4122) 917-0563
Estrategia Internacional para la Reducción de Desastres
Unidad Regional para América Latina y el Caribe
Apartado postal 3745-1000, San José, Costa Rica
Tel (506) 224-1186/224-6941 Fax (506) 224-7758
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.
Founded in 1919, the International Federation comprises 178 member Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, a Secretariat in Geneva and more than 60 delegations strategically located to support activities around the world. There are more societies in formation. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Islamic countries.
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. Vulnerable people are those who are at greatest risk from situations that threaten their survival, or their capacity to live with an acceptable level of social and economic security and human dignity. Often, these are victims of natural disasters, poverty brought about by socio-economic crises, refugees, and victims of health emergencies.
The Federation carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, and combines this with development work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies. The Federation's work focuses on four core areas: promoting humanitarian values, disaster response,
disaster preparedness, and health and community care.
The unique network of National Societies - which cover almost every country in the world - is the Federation's principal strength. Cooperation between National Societies gives the Federation greater potential to develop capacities and assist those most in need. At a local level, the
network enables the Federation to reach individual communities.
The role of the Secretariat in Geneva is to coordinate and mobilize relief assistance for international emergencies, promote cooperation between National Societies and represent these National Societies in the international field.
The role of the field delegations is to assist and advise National Societies with relief operations and development programmes, and encourage regional cooperation.
The Federation, together with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
The ICRC's mission: is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose
exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims
of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs
and coordinates the international relief activities conducted by the Movement
in situations of conflict. It also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting
and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. Established
in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent
firstname.lastname@example.org for questions
on the site or other available information
email@example.com to write to the
International Review of the Red Cross
firstname.lastname@example.org for more press or
on how to help the ICRC (make a donation or a request)
Postal address :
International Committee of the Red Cross
Public Information Centre
19 avenue de la Paix
CH 1202 Genève
++ 41 (22) 733 20 57 ICRC general ;
++ 41 (22) 730 20 82 Public Information Centre
++ 41 (22) 734 60 01
Order of ICRC publications, films and photos:
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
19 avenue de la Paix CH 1202 Geneva
E-mail : email@example.com;
Fax : ++ 41 22 730 20 82
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children works to improve the lives and defend the rights of refugee and internally displaced women, children and adolescents.
- We advocate for their inclusion and participation in programs of humanitarian assistance and protection.
- We provide technical expertise and policy advice to donors and organizations that work with refugees and the displaced.
- We make recommendations to policy makers based on rigorous research and information gathered on fact-finding missions.
- We join with refugee women, children and adolescents to ensure that their voices are heard from the community level to the highest councils of governments and international organizations.
- We do this in the conviction that their empowerment is the surest route to the greater well-being of all forcibly displaced people.
- The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children is an independent affiliate of the International Rescue Committee. The Commission was founded in 1989.
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
122 East 42nd, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10168
tel: 212.551.3088 or 3111
The Sphere Project
Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
Sphere Project Management Committee:
- Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response an alliance for voluntary action of: Care International, Caritas Internationalis, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Save the Children Alliance, The Lutheran World Federation, Medecins sans Frontieres International, Oxfam International and World Council of Churches
- InterAction, a coalition of over 150 US-based non-profits working to promote human dignity and development in 165 countries around the world.
- VOICE, Voluntary Organisations in Co-operation in Emergencies
- International Committee of the Red Cross
- International Council of Voluntary Agencies
In July 1997, the Sphere Project was launched by a group of humanitarian agencies.
This project sought to develop a set of universal minimum standards in core
areas (water supply & sanitation, nutrition, food aid, shelter & site
planning and health services) of humanitarian assistance. The aim of the Project
is to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters,
and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response.
From 1997 - 1998, a far-ranging network of experts for each sector reviewed
existing protocols and norms developed by agencies - UN, NGOs and others - throughout
the world. The Sphere Project did not set out to write new standards, rather
it sought to consolidate and reach agreement on existing ideas. The preliminary
edition, which is the first formally printed result of this collaborative effort,
therefore reflects the depth of experience, knowledge and practices from an
unprecedented number of countries, organisations and individuals.
In November 1998, the Sphere Project Management Committee, with the participation
of over 700 individuals from over 228 organisations in over 60 countries, completed
the preliminary edition of the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards
in Disaster Response. (available at http://www.sphereproject.org)
A rights-based charter, the Humanitarian Charter represents the recognition
of the basic right to assistance of persons affected by calamity and conflict
based on existing treaties and conventions. The documents underpinning the Humanitarian
Charter include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian
Law (the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977), and
refugee law. The Minimum Standards describe and define the levels of assistance
which are to be provided in fulfilment of that right to humanitarian assistance.
The right to life with dignity
The distinction between combatants and non-combatants
The principle of non-refoulment
International law recognises that those affected by conflict and calamity are
entitled to protection and assistance. It defines the legal obligations of states
or warring parties to provide such assistance or to allow it to be provided.
Humanitarian agencies define their role in relation to these primary roles and
The Minimum Standards
The Minimum Standards specify the minimum acceptable levels to be attained
in each area. They provide a description of what people have the right to expect
from humanitarian assistance. The intention is to provide a tool to help create
the conditions for effective interventions. Though the achievement of the Minimum
Standards depends on a range of factors, many of which are beyond the control
of humanitarian agencies, agencies adopting the Minimum Standards would thereby
commit to attempt consistently to achieve them and be held accountable accordingly.
To contact the The Sphere Project:
P.O. Box 372 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland
Tel. +41 22 730 45 01
Fax: +41 22 730 49 05
17, chemin des Crêts
Building B, room 304