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Glossary of humanitarian terms and definitions and their common usage, especially within the context of the DPRK.

Introduction and Acknowledgments

The first version of this glossary contained terms and definitions with a focus on their particular usage and understanding within the humanitarian context of the DPRK. Many of those original entries were new and created specially for this purpose.

The glossary has now grown to become a comprehensive resource containing terms and definitions and their common usage within the wider humanitarian context. These additional terms and definitions have been compiled from existing glossaries and other reference material that is in the public domain (with one exception noted in the next paragraph). In April 2015 a large number of entries were included from a draft ReliefWeb glossary PDF file. These entries apply to all countries and their definitions focus on their common usage particularly in relation to natural disasters, complex emergencies and disaster risk reduction. They are attributed in this glossary as being “via #ReliefWeb” and their original source, as identified by ReliefWeb, is included at the front of the attribution. ReliefWeb neither created nor modified any of their entries; they were all copied from public sources. As such, ReliefWeb entries do not necessarily reflect the position of the United Nations or its Member States.

The editors are particularly grateful to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the international development agency of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), for access to some of its own glossaries that are no longer online. These were last updated in 2009. Entries included from this source are quoted in their entirety and attributed to “[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]”. These entries are important because Switzerland remains a major humanitarian actor in the DPRK. Moreover, in the area of development policies, Switzerland, as a neutral country, is a reliable source of relevant information with a high degree of credibility.

An useful new publication made available online by the Swiss FDFA is the free booklet, The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law which can be downloaded as a PDF. The FDFA web site describes it as “essentially a glossary of terms explaining the key concepts of international humanitarian law, which is also known as the law of armed conflict. The revised second edition of the brochure offers, beside the glossary, a short introduction on the development and area of application of this special field of international law”.


The editors of the NKhumanitarian glossary remain solely responsible for apparent errors, omissions or misstatements of fact in all material presented here, whatever its source or attribution. The material as presented in this glossary is neither endorsed nor approved by any organisation or individual cited as a source in the text below. No such endorsement or approval is implied nor should it be inferred. Likewise, the opinions expressed in this glossary and in the blog are solely those of its editors and contributors.

Comments and suggested corrections/additions to this glossary are welcome and can be posted as comments to the blog in the usual way.

Last updated February 6, 2019, at 1930 GMT (V08)

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See Academy of Agriculture Sciences.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Academy of Agriculture Sciences, DPRK

The Academy of Agriculture Sciences (AAS) is one of the many minor academies in the DPRK that carry out research in a specialist field. It is based in Pyongyang and is the main local collaborator with whom INGOs work on any agriculture related projects.

Almost all research (science and humanities) in the DPRK is carried out through specialist institutions whose original structure and purpose were based on the old Soviet-style structure of one major academy (State Academy of Sciences in the case of the DPRK) and a number of minor academies. AAS is one such minor academy.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A change in velocity with time; in seismology and in earthquake engineering, it is expressed as a fraction of gravity (g), with reference to vibrations of the ground or of a structure.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Acceptable Risk

The level of loss a society or community considers acceptable given existing social, economic, political, cultural and technical conditions.

Comment: In engineering terms, acceptable risk is also used to assess and define the structural and non-structural measures that are needed in order to reduce possible harm to people and property to some minor level, according to codes or “accepted practice” which are based on known probabilities of hazard and other factors.

[Source: UN ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


Accountability is the means by which individuals and organisations report to a recognised authority, or authorities, and are held responsible for their actions (Edwards and Hume, 1995).

[Source: ALNAP via #ReliefWeb]


See Action by Churches Together.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Action by Churches Together (ACT)

Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance “is a grouping of 111 churches and church-related organizations that work together in humanitarian assistance and development. The alliance members work in 140 countries and mobilize US$1.6 billion annually in their work for a just world”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


See Agro-climatic Zone.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

Comment: This definition is sourced from the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Adaptation can occur in automatic fashion, for example through market changes, or as a result of formal adaptation policies and plans. Many disaster risk reduction measures can directly contribute to better adaptation.

[Source: UN ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


Advocacy refers in a broad sense to efforts to promote, in the domain of humanitarian aid, respect for humanitarian principles and law with a view to influencing the relevant political authorities, whether recognised governments, insurgent groups or other non-state actors. One could add ‘international, national and local assistance agencies’.

[Source: ALNAP via #ReliefWeb]


See Agro-ecological Zone.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A smaller earthquake that follows the main shock and originates close to its focus. Aftershocks generally decrease in number and magnitude over time.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Agenda for Protection

A programme of action comprising six specific goals to improve the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers around the world, agreed by UNHCR and States as part of the Global Consultations process, endorsed by the Executive Committee in October 2002, and welcomed by the General Assembly.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Agro-climatic Zone (ACZ)

An agro-climatic zone is a land unit uniform in respect of climate and length of growing period (LGP) which is climatically suitable for a certain range of crops and cultivars. ACZs are related to agro-ecological zones (AEZ).

[Source: FAO]

Agro-ecological Zone (AEZ)

An ecological region is characterized by distinct ecological responses to macroclimate as expressed in vegetation and reflected in soils, fauna and aquatic systems. Therefore, an agro-ecological zone is the land unit on the earth’s surface carved out of an agro-climatic zone when superimposed on different landform and soil conditions that act as modifiers of climate and length of growing period (LGP).

[Source: The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)]

Aktion Deutschland Hilft

Aktion Deutschland Hilft “is a union of German relief organizations that can provide rapid and effective aid in the case of major catastrophes and emergency situations abroad. By uniting their know-how and abilities, member organizations aim to avoid overlap and gaps in aid provision”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


Advisory that hazard is approaching but is less imminent than implied by warning message. See also “warning”.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Alliance2015 is a secular strategic partnership of seven European development NGOs founded in 2000. The founding members were Hivos (The Netherlands), Welthungerhilfe (Germany), Concern Worldwide (Ireland) and IBIS (Denmark) – the latter formally left Alliance2015 on 1 January 2016.

Two of its founding NGOs, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, operate in the DPRK.

[Source: Alliance2015]


A legal guarantee that exempts a person or group of persons from liability for criminal or political offences. It is contrary to international law for perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to be granted amnesty from criminal prosecution. (See Crimes against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes)

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Anchor Countries

Countries, which, when viewed in the relevant regional context, enjoy prominent economic and political significance, are known as anchor countries. Anchor countries maintain good commercial ties with other countries and are active participants in regional integration processes. A number of anchor countries are becoming increasingly self-confident and active in international economic and political affairs. These populous countries also play a key role in efforts to solve global issues such as climate change, food security and water shortages.

Alongside China, India and Brazil, other anchor countries include medium-sized states such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Applicability of International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law applies to both international and non-international armed conflict. It takes effect from the beginning of an armed conflict and remains in force until the general close of military operations or end of occupation. Certain provisions remain in force for as long as de facto situation continues. Thus, for example, the Third Geneva Convention protects prisoners of war even after hostilities end.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]


Traditional method of dispute settlement whereby the conflicting parties voluntarily seek out a single arbiter or arbitration court to arrive at a final judgement. The arbiter is an authoritative and legitimate third party, superior in strength to the parties to the dispute. The recommendation reached by a (neutral) arbiter is considered binding (Hamzeh, n.d.:18-19; Kleiboer, 1997:9).

“…Arbitration may be…’non-binding’ (where [the parties] agree only to consider it, sometimes as an aid to negotiation)… The arbitrating role of the third party is different from third-party facilitation… The essential difference [with negotiation] is that in arbitration the parties’ main or only communication is with the third-party arbitrator, on whose authority they rely.” (International Alert, 1996, III:53-54).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Armed Conflict

A dispute involving the use of armed force between two or more parties. International humanitarian law distinguishes between international or non-international armed conflicts.

  • International armed conflict: A war involving two or more States, regardless of whether declaration of war has been made or whether the parties recognize that there is a state of war.
  • Non-international armed conflict: A conflict in which government forces are fighting with armed insurgents, or armed groups are fighting amongst themselves.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: International humanitarian law applies to all armed conflicts. Although none of the relevant conventions contains a definition of armed conflict, it has been described as follows in jurisprudence: “an armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed forces between States or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organised armed groups or between such groups within a State.”

Thus armed conflicts can be international or non-international. To qualify as such a non-international armed conflict must reach a certain intensity and the armed group(s) must be organised to a certain degree. Internal tensions, internal disturbances such as riots, isolated or sporadic acts of violence and similar events are not covered by international humanitarian law.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]

Armed Group

An armed non-state actor engaged in conflict and distinct from a governmental force, whose structure may range from that of a militia to rebel bandits.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Arms Control

Any plan, arrangement, or process, resting upon explicit or implicit international agreement, governing the numbers, types, and characteristics of weapon systems or the numerical strength, organization, equipment, deployment, or employment of armed forces.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Arms Embargo

A bilateral or multilateral policy prohibiting the movement of weapons into or out of a country.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Assessing effectiveness (the Swiss perspective)

The effectiveness of development cooperation cannot be assessed solely on the basis of what is done, but rather (and more importantly) on what is achieved. As such, greater attention is now being paid to the outcomes of development cooperation expenditure. Three different levels are used to assess the effectiveness of development programmes and projects.

  • Outputs (i.e. individual results)
  • Outcomes (i.e. overall results)
  • Impact (i.e. effectiveness)

Assessing the effectiveness of development programmes and projects is quite an ambitious undertaking. The effects within social processes are not always easy to ascertain. In some cases, it may not be possible to irrefutably prove that observed changes are directly the result of the support provided. Development cooperation takes place within a dynamic setting and involves a large number of players and influencing factors. Nevertheless, the effects of development cooperation can clearly be seen in certain sectors such as: education, health, water, food security.

Swiss development policy is intended to achieve results and make an impact. When planning their programmes and projects, the SDC and SECO decide what effectiveness criteria, what indicators and what monitoring mechanisms should be used to determine whether ongoing projects are actually making progress towards established objectives. At regular intervals, the SDC and SECO produce impact reports on the effectiveness of their activities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Assessment (and Re-Assessment)

The set of activities necessary to understand a given situation, entails the collection, up-dating and analysis of data pertaining to the population of concern (needs, capacities, resources, etc.), as well as the state of infrastructure and general socio-economic conditions in a given location/area.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


Aid provided to address the physical, material and legal needs of persons of concern. This may include food items, medical supplies, clothing, shelter, seeds and tools, as well as the provision of infrastructure, such as schools and roads. “Humanitarian assistance” refers to assistance provided by humanitarian organization for humanitarian purposes (i.e., non-political, non-commercial, and non-military purposes). In UNHCR practice, assistance supports and complements the achievement of protection objectives.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The granting, by a State, of protection on its territory to persons from another State who are fleeing persecution or serious danger. A person who is granted asylum may be a refugee. A person who has left her country of origin and has applied for recognition as a refugee in another country and whose request or application for refugee-status has not been finally decided by a prospective country of refuge is formally known as an asylum-seeker. Asylum-seekers are normally entitled to remain on the territory of the country of asylum until their claims have been decided upon and should be treated in accordance with basic human rights standards.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


An asylum-seeker is an individual who is seeking international protection. In countries with individualized procedures, an asylum-seeker is someone whose claim has not yet been finally decided on by the country in which he or she has submitted it. Not every asylum-seeker will ultimately be recognized as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum-seeker.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


A mass of snow sliding, tumbling, or flowing down an inclined surface. Technically, a mass of loosened snow, ice, and/or earth suddenly and swiftly sliding down a mountain. In practice, assumed to be a snow avalanche unless another term such as ice, rock, mud, etc. is used.

[Source: Avalanche-center.org, ISDR via #ReliefWeb]



A safety net of services, usually entrusted to external consultants, of advisory services, supervision, support and a guarantee of a certain continuity in the knowledge level with regard to an action or organizational unit.

In development cooperation the term backstopping is used in connection with the implementation of programs and projects. It refers to advisory services, supervision, support and a guarantee of a certain continuity in the knowledge level with regard to an action or organizational unit.

Backstopping mandates are usually entrusted to external consultants (organization developers, economists, engineers, etc.) who can manage a program for several years as a neutral authority.

[Source: Swiss FDFA]

Base Health

The concept of base health comprises all the measures and prerequisites which ensure that people in a country have access to elementary health care.

It aims to solve the most important health problems by guaranteeing the necessary information and preventive measures. The fostering of base health ensures the first direct contact of an individual, a family or municipality with the national health service. At the same time, health-care services should be located as closely as possible to where people live and work.

Base health is adapted to the economic conditions of a country as precisely as it is to the socio-cultural and political characteristics of that country. According to the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO), it includes a minimum of schooling in health problems and prevention methods; the promotion of healthy nutrition; the supply of sufficient drinking water; maternity and child welfare, including family planning; vaccinations against the most widely spread infectious diseases; protection from epidemics; protection against the most frequent illnesses as well as the supply of the most necessary medicines.

[Source: Swiss FDFA]

Bilateral Aid/Assistance

Aid that is controlled and spent by donor countries at their own discretion. It may include staff, supplies, equipment, funding to receipt governments and funding to NGOs. It also includes assistance channeled as earmarked funding through international and UN organisations.

[Source: DI via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: Bilateral transactions are those undertaken by a donor country directly with an aid recipient. They also include transactions with national and international non-government organizations (NGOs/INGOs) active in development as well as other internal (to the donor country) development-related transactions such as interest subsidies, spending on promotion of development awareness and administrative costs.

The term bilateral aid most commonly refers to a subset of those transactions called bilateral official development assistance or bilateral ODA for short. The subset of bilateral transactions that can be classified by the donor country as being bilateral ODA (and therefore included in the international statistics used to compare levels of aid provided by donor countries) is precisely defined and monitored by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD.

ODA is broadly divided into bilateral aid and multilateral aid. A defining feature of multilateral aid is that it cannot be controlled or earmarked by the donor country. It is pooled with contributions from other donor countries and distributed by a third-party agency or organisation. Bilateral aid, on the other hand, is controlled by the donor country who determines how that aid is disposed. For this reason, bilateral aid is usually the largest share of a country’s aid and it is often influenced by economic and trade driven concerns or directed according to strategic political considerations as much as humanitarian ones. By way of example, World Vision Australia notes that in 2006-7 Australia gave almost 51% of its bilateral aid to its Pacific neighbours and only 3% to relieve the poverty in Africa. The total of bilateral aid committed to developing countries by Australia during that period was $3 billion.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Bilateral Development Cooperation

Bilateral development cooperation is intended to help countries to address poverty and development issues. Development cooperation partners include national, regional or local authorities, civil society and the private sector. Bilateral development cooperation is not solely confined to specific projects (project-based aid). Some programmes focus on structural changes needed to sustainably improve the living conditions of the poor (programme-based aid). These programmes seek to improve local healthcare services by introducing reforms to the national healthcare system.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Biological Disaster

Disaster caused by the exposure of living organisms to germs and toxic substances.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Biological Hazard

Processes of organic origin or those conveyed by biological vectors, including exposure to pathogenic micro-organisms, toxins and bioactive substances, which may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Examples of biological hazards include outbreaks of epidemic diseases, plant or animal contagion, insect or other animal plagues and extensive infestations.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Biological Weapons

A weapon of mass destruction based on pathogenic biological agents. It may include ammunition loaded with biological agents (e.g. missile warheads, bombs, tube or rocket artillery ammunition) and their delivery systems.

Biological warfare is the intentional use of disease-causing micro-organisms or other entities that can replicate themselves (e.g. viruses, infectious nucleic acids and prions) against humans, animals or plants for hostile purposes. It may also involve the use of toxins: poisonous substances produced by living organisms, including micro-organisms (e.g. botulinum toxin), plants (e.g. ricin derived from castor beans) and animals (e.g. snake venom). If they are utilized for warfare purpose, the synthetically manufactured counterparts of these toxins are biological weapons.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Bottom-up Approach

“Bottom-up” literally means working from the bottom to the top. In development cooperation, the term refers to an approach that starts by addressing the needs of the people on the ground. By improving their living conditions, development is stimulated from the bottom up. It is particularly important for local stakeholders to be involved in the search for suitable solutions. The “top-down” approach involves the use of government policy measures to set development processes in motion. Depending on the context, either approach may achieve the desired results. In some cases, both may be implemented in conjunction with one another.

Comment: Switzerland’s strong federal tradition, coupled with a well-developed system of direct democracy, explains why the bottom-up approach plays such a prominent role in Swiss development aid. This is illustrated by the importance that Switzerland gives to strengthening local communities, improving rural development and providing assistance to small and medium enterprises.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Bretton Woods-Institutions

In 1944, the ministers of finance of the countries that would later achieve victory in World War II gathered at the Bretton Woods Conference in the United States. Decisions were taken regarding reconstruction as well as the financial and economic policies to be adopted in the post-war period. In order to implement the policies agreed at Bretton Woods, international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were established.

Though their role has since evolved, these same institutions still play an important role in development cooperation and development finance. The World Bank extends long-term loans to developing countries at preferential rates. In times of emergency, the IMF helps stabilise national economies by providing cash injections. Its activities focus on developing and emerging countries. In 2010, the IMF was also involved in measures to contain the debt crises in Greece and Ireland.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Budgetary Aid

When providing budgetary aid, the donor does not channel funding to individual projects, but rather contributes funding to state coffers instead. There are two forms of budgetary aid: unalocated budgetary aid, where funding helps to sustain the overall budget of the partner country, and allocated budgetary aid, where funding may be used only for specific development sectors (such as education or health).

The advantage of budgetary aid over project-based aid is that it strengthens state institutions and reduces the costs associated with the provision of aid. The recipient country is free to develop more suitable, and often more cost-effective, solutions. Budgetary aid is most successful when funding is tied to specific conditions and verification. According to estimates made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), experiences with budgetary aid have been positive in most recipient countries. Despite this, budgetary aid still accounts for only 10% of all development aid flows. This percentage is expected to increase since it enables donor countries to pool their contributions together into a single large-scale contribution, thereby reducing the amount of planning required.

Comment: Switzerland currently devotes around 3% of its total development expenditure to budgetary aid.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]



See Conservation Agriculture.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Cabinet of North Korea

In 1998 amendments to the Constitution of the DPRK, the Central People’s Committee (CPC) and the State Administration were abolished, and the Cabinet was re-created. The Cabinet is now not only the highest executive enforcement organ of the State but was also expanded to become the general State management organ.

The Cabinet is appointed and accountable to the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), the North Korean unicameral parliament. The SPA chooses the Premier of North Korea who appoints three vice premiers and the Cabinet’s ministers. All members of the cabinet are members of the Workers’ Party of Korea which has ruled the country since its establishment in 1948.

The Cabinet, as the executive branch of the North Korean state, is responsible for implementing the state’s economic policies, as guided by the Workers’ Party. The cabinet is not responsible for defense and security issues, as those are handled by the National Defense Commission (NDC).

As of April 2014 there were 30 technical, economic, justice and civil affairs ministries whose heads are members of the Cabinet. In addition to these, the heads of other Offices of State such as the State Planning Commission and the Central Bank of the DPRK are also members of the Cabinet. The 30 ministries represented in the Cabinet are:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Public Health
  • Ministry of Post and Telecommunications
  • Ministry of Land and Marine Transportation
  • Ministry of Railways
  • Ministry of Mining Industry
  • Ministry of National Resource Development
  • Ministry of Electric Power Industry
  • Ministry of Coal Industry
  • Ministry of Food and Consumer Goods
  • Ministry of Trade
  • Ministry of Foreign Trade
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Ministry of Culture
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Higher Education (concurrent president of Kim Il-sung University)
  • Ministry of City Management
  • Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry
  • Ministry of Metal Industry
  • Ministry of Construction and Building-Materials Industries
  • Ministry of Electronics Industries
  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ministry of Forestry
  • Ministry of Fisheries
  • Ministry of Oil Industry
  • Ministry of Land and Environment Protection
  • Ministry of State Construction Control
  • Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports
  • Ministry of State Inspection

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Wikipedia]

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was a government organization that administered foreign aid programs in developing countries and operated in partnership with other Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors as well as other international organizations.

It was established in 1968 by the Liberal government under Pierre Trudeau to administer the bulk of Canada’s Official Development Assistance program and to better assist people living in poverty.

In March 2013, the Conservative government announced that CIDA would be folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the organizations renamed as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

Recent actions by CIDA in the DPRK are:

  • 2011 – Food Assistance in partnership with the WFP. The primary objective of this operation is to restore and rebuild food and nutritional security in the DPRK through the provision of food and nutritional support for women and children and through food-for-community development programs.
  • 2008 – Emergency food aid in partnership with the WFP.
  • 2007 – Emergency food aid to 37 flood-affected counties, benefiting around 215,000 people.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

CAP ‐ Definition 1

In Europe, CAP, usually spelt out as the letters C-A-P, refers to the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

CAP ‐ Definition 2

In the international humanitarian field, CAP refers to OCHA’s Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) which was replaced at the end of 2013 with the Humanitarian Programme Cycle.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A combination of all the strengths and resources available within a community, society or organization that can reduce the level of risk, or the effects of a disaster.

Comment: Capacity may include physical means, institutional abilities, societal infrastructure as well as human skills or collective attributes such as leadership and management. Capacity also may be described as capability.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Capacity Building

A process by which individuals, institutions and societies develop abilities, individually and collectively, to perform functions, solve problems and set and achieve their goals.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


CARE “is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. The organization serves individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world by strengthening capacity for self-help, providing economic opportunity, delivering relief in emergencies, influencing policy decisions at all levels and addressing discrimination in all its forms”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

Caritas Internationalis

Caritas Internationalis “is a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. It is one of the largest networks dedicated to reducing poverty and injustice throughout the world”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


See Confidence Building Measure.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Community-Based Urban Nutrition and Food Security.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a trust fund with a grant element of up to US$450 million and loan facility of US$50 million. It was officially launched in New York on 9 March 2006 by the United Nations Secretary-General. In December 2005 the General Assembly decided to upgrade the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (a loan facility of US$50 million established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1991 under resolution 46/182) by adding the grant element thereby establishing the current CERF.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator manages up to US$500 million, including a loan facility of US$50 million and the newly created grant facility of up to US$450 million.

The grant facility of CERF has two components:

  • Rapid response grants to promote early action and response to reduce loss of life and to enhance response to time-critical requirements; and
  • Underfunded emergency grants to strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises.

CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from around the world and intended to complement existing humanitarian funding mechanisms. CERF provides seed funds to jumpstart critical operations and life-saving programmes not yet funded through other sources.

[Source: CERF via #ReliefWeb]


See Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Chemical Accident

Accidental release occurring during the production, transportation or handling of hazardous chemical substances.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Chemical Weapons

As defined by Article II of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction:

“Chemical Weapons” means the following, together or separately:

  1. Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes;
  2. Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (1), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices;
  3. Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in subparagraph (2).

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Child Soldier

For the purposes of prevention, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR(R)) programmes, a child soldier is any person under 18 years of age who is compulsorily, forcibly, or voluntarily recruited or used in hostilities by any kind of armed forces or groups in any capacity, including but not limited to soldiers, cooks, porters, messengers, and those accompanying such groups. It includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and forced marriage. It does not, therefore, refer exclusively to a child who is carrying or has carried arms. See Recruitment of children below the age of 15.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: It is estimated that there are around 250,000 child soldiers in the world today. Some are recruited by force, while others are volunteers, in some cases for ideological reasons and in others just as a way to obtain food. The Optional Protocol of 2000 to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for measures to ensure reintegration in society of children who have served as combatants.

The protocol completes and strengthens provisions of the two Additional Protocols, prohibiting compulsory recruitment and direct participation in hostilities before the age of 18. Furthermore, it calls on the states parties to adopt measures to prevent armed groups from recruiting persons below the age of 18 and from deploying them in combat operations. Recruitment of children below the age of 15 in armed forces or other armed groups is regarded as a war crime.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]


See Canadian International Development Agency.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Civil Military Coordination (CMCoord)

The dialogue and interaction between civilian and military actors in humanitarian emergencies that is necessary to protect and promote humanitarian principles, avoid competition, minimize inconsistency, and when appropriate pursue common goals. Basic strategies range from coexistence to cooperation. Coordination is a shared responsibility facilitated by liaison and common training.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Civil Society

Civil society refers to the structures independent from governments such as non governmental organizations and human rights groups, independent activists and human rights defenders, religious congregations, charities, universities, trade unions, legal associations, families and clans – see Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Domestic civil society represents one of the most critical sources of humanitarian assistance and civilian protection during humanitarian emergencies.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: The concept of civil society originated within the dissident movements in Eastern Europe. Through their own organisations, dissidents attempted to broaden their range of action so as to achieve greater freedom for society. In the period following 1989, the term found currency in international politics.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)

In the field of development cooperation, there are three main participants with overlapping roles: state institutions, private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs). CSOs include non-governmental organisations and other non-profit organisations that represent the interests of citizens. CSOs include: consumer groups, trade unions, human rights groups, grassroots movements, non state-run media and environmental organisations. Strengthening civil society is an important priority in development cooperation activities. CSOs encourage citizens to take responsibility and proactively address issues associated with poverty and development.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]

Civil War

A non-international armed conflict. A civil war takes place between state and rebel armed forces or between non-state armed groups involved in on-going and coordinated combat. Internal disturbances and tensions are not considered armed conflict.

Civil wars can be triggered by external factors (proxy wars). Most often they are the result of intra-elite conflicts. Most civil wars involve more than one element of the following:

  1. Secessionist civil war;
  2. Revolutionary guerrilla war;
  3. Conflicts between military and civilian authorities (including police vs. military);
  4. Criminal gang wars, among themselves and against the state;
  5. Terrorist campaigns;
  6. Religious sects and fundamentalist movements;
  7. Genocidal campaigns against, and ethnic cleansing of, minorities;
  8. Conflict between the state and (sectors of) society;
  9. Conflicts between two peoples or nations for control of one territory;
  10. Conflicts between factions of parties or armed forces (warlordism);
  11. Conflicts between religious groups, ethnic communal groups, linguistic groups, tribes or clans;
  12. Wars between nomadic peoples and sedentary people;
  13. Clashes between immigrants and natives.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, FEWER and Swiss FDFA]

Civilian Personnel

UN non-military staff members who form part of a peacekeeping operation and perform duties, among other things, relating to the human rights, humanitarian or political situation on the ground, and the financial and administrative management of a mission.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Civilian Populations

Groups of unarmed people, including women, children, the sick and elderly, refugees and internally displaced persons, who are not directly engaged in the armed conflict.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Climate Change

(a) The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate change as “a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use”.

(b) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines climate change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”.

Comment: For disaster reduction purposes, either of these definitions may be suitable, depending on the particular context. The UNFCCC definition is the more restricted one as it excludes climate changes attributable to natural causes. The IPCC definition can be paraphrased for popular communications as “A change in the climate that persists for decades, arising from either natural causes or human activity.”

$1p style=”text-align:left;”>[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Climate Protection

Droughts and floods caused by climate change have the power to considerably worsen poverty. Climate protection is therefore one of the most pressing concerns of development cooperation. Two main strategies have been adopted:

  • Adaptation. With this strategy, countries are able to face the unavoidable consequences of climate change by taking appropriate adaptation measures, e.g. irrigating fields, building protective dams or developing drought-resistant seeds.
  • Mitigation. This strategy addresses one of the main causes of climate change by reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases. Current measures include the introduction of energy- and resource-efficient processes in the manufacture of building materials as well as targeted reforestation. Mitigation measures are particularly critical in emerging countries, where rapid growth is coupled with sharply rising emissions of greenhouse gases.

The transfer of know-how and climate protection techniques can potentially become the driving force for a sustainable development model. In the development field, greater emphasis is placed on innovation as well as on scientific and technological cooperation.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Closed Camp

A camp, which is no longer receiving new refugees.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Cluster Approach

When emergencies occur coordination is necessary. Good coordination means less gaps and overlaps in the assistance delivered by humanitarian organizations. The Cluster Approach is one of the elements of the reforms to humanitarian coordination that can enhance predictability, accountability and partnership in emergency relief.

Clusters are groups of humanitarian organizations, both UN and non-UN, in each of the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. water, health and logistics. They are designated by the UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and have clear responsibilities for coordination.

The Cluster Approach aims to strengthen humanitarian response capacity and effectiveness in five key ways:

  1. ensuring sufficient global capacity is built up and maintained in key gap sectors/areas of response;
  2. identifying predictable leadership in the gap sectors/areas of response (see cluster leads;
  3. facilitating partnerships and improved inter-agency complementarity by maximizing resources;
  4. strengthening accountability; and
  5. improving strategic field-level coordination and prioritization in specific sectors/areas of response by placing responsibility for leadership and coordination of these issues with the competent operational agency.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and the IASC]

Comment: The Cluster Approach operates at two levels. At the global level, the aim is to strengthen system-wide preparedness and technical capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies by designating global Cluster Leads and ensuring that there is predictable leadership and accountability in all the main sectors or areas of activity.

At the country level, the aim is to ensure a more coherent and effective response by mobilizing groups of agencies, organizations and NGOs to respond in a strategic manner across all key sectors or areas of activity, each sector having a clearly designated lead – see who does what in the cluster approach.

[Source: www.who.int]

Cluster Leads

In the cluster approach to providing emergency humanitrian aid a cluster lead is an agency/organization that formally commits to take on a leadership role within the international humanitarian community in a particular sector/area of activity (e.g. health, water, logistics, etc), to ensure adequate response and high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership.

[Source: IASC via #ReliefWeb]

Cluster Munitions

Cluster munitions are an explosive weapon that consist of a casing containing from a dozen to many hundreds of sub-munitions (small explosive devices/bomblets) that are released over a wide area. The weapons are air-dropped or ground-launched. Depending on the type, the sub-munitions are activated by an internal fuse and can detonate above ground, on impact, or in a delayed mode.

Cluster munitions can have grave humanitarian effects since their impact is indiscriminate. Moreover, the failure rate for cluster munitions has been placed between 5%-30%. Failed munitions remain on the ground and may explode with the slightest touch, when picked up, stepped on or kicked. These munitions become less stable and therefore more dangerous with each passing year. They are thus a long-term threat to the civilian population.

Cluster munitions were used regularly and on a large scale by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. The British made BL755 cluster bomb was used by the United Kingdom in the 1982 Falklands War and the 1991 Iraq War. Cluster munitions have been used in many other other armed conflicts.

An international convention was adopted in May 2008 in Dublin prohibiting manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and deployment of cluster munitions. The convention also provides for obligations on stockpile destruction, clearance and victim assistance. Just before the end of the Dublin conference, the United Kingdom declared that it would withdraw all of its considerable stockpile of 190,828 cluster weapons from service. The UK ratified the convention on 4 May 2010 and in December 2013 announced that it had finished destroying its entire stockpile of cluster munitions. Switzerland ratified the convention on 17 July 2012.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and the Swiss FDFA]

CNN Factor

Alleged emotional influence of massive and direct television coverage and consequent mass public pressure on governmental decision-making in humanitarian emergency situations (“CNN got us into Somalia, and CNN got us out”). Informed observers tend to challenge this view and hold that media follow government policy steps rather than the other way round (Leitenberg, 1997:16).

CNN (Cable News Network) is a long-established and internationally recognised American cable and satellite television channel noted for its fearless reporting from crisis points around the world. However the term “CNN Factor” might equally be called the “Al Jazeera Factor” or the “BBC Factor” for the same reasons.

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Code of Conduct

A common set of principles or standards that a group of agencies or organizations have agreed to abide by while providing assistance in response to Complex Emergencies or Natural Disasters. For example, the Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations in Disaster Response Programmes, and the IASC Core Principles of a Code of Conduct for Protection from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A situation of general tolerance between communities after the cessation of hostilities and before reconciliation. Initiatives related to the co-existence approach include peace education, sustainable community development, the socio-economic empowerment of refugees, the reintegration of child soldiers and partnership development.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The use of force, or the threat of force, to persuade an opponent to adopt a certain pattern of behaviour that is against their wishes.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Co-financing refers to a situation in which a donor country, alone or in partnership with other countries, finances a specific project or programme that is part of a development bank. The institution retains responsibility for the project in such cases.

[Source: Swiss FDFA]


Coherence refers to a situation where various policy areas within a country are coordinated so as to ensure that they do not run counter to one another. Development policy is regarded as coherent if foreign policy, trade policy, financial policy, economic policy, agricultural policy, research policy, labour market policy, refugee policy and migration policy have all been aligned so as not to undermine the country’s development policy objectives. A state is regarded as acting inconsistently, for example, if it provides development aid while at the same time pursuing a foreign trade policy that defeats its own development policy objectives. Since conflicting objectives are unavoidable, development policy coherence remains an ongoing challenge for all donor countries.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: The OECD reminds us that every year, huge sums of money are transferred out of developing countries illegally. Their Better Policies for Development 2014 report shows that coherent policies in OECD countries in areas such as tax evasion, anti-bribery and money laundering can contribute to reducing illicit financial flows from developing countries.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Cold Wave

Marked cooling of the air, or the invasion of very warm air, over a large area; it usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. This is a drop of atmospheric average temperature well above the averages of a region, with effects on human populations, crops, properties and services.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]


A person who takes an active part in hostilities, who can kill, and who, in turn, is a lawful military target. S/he can be a member of the armed forces, other than medical personnel and chaplains, or of an organized group. Under international humanitarian law, armed forces are subject to an internal disciplinary system, which, inter alia, must enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable to armed conflict.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

The Common Agricultural Policy, more commonly referred to as the CAP, is the agricultural policy of the European Union. It implements a system of agricultural subsidies and other programmes. It was introduced in 1962 and has undergone several changes since then.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Common Country Assessment (CCA)

The CCA is the common instrument of the United Nations to analyze the development situation in a certain country and identify key national development issues in the context of both the Millennium Development Goals and other commitments, goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration, international conferences, summits, conventions and human rights instruments.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP)

See Consolidated Appeals Process.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Community-Based Approach

Community-based approach motivates women, girls, boys and men in the community to participate in a process which allows them to express their needs and to decide their own future with a view to their empowerment. It requires recognition that they are active participants in decision-making. It also seeks to understand the community’s concerns and priorities, mobilizing community members and engaging them in protection and programming. The focus is on helping refugees organize themselves to solve their own problems.

The role of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) in this is to support the building, rebuilding and strengthening of communities’ capacities to respond to protection risks and to make decisions over access to and use of resources. Participatory assessment is carried out in the spirit of shared responsibility for enhancing protection of all members of the community and is an essential component of community-based work.

[Source: UNHCR Technical Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Community-Based Urban Nutrition and Food Security (CBUNFS)

Without food and nutrition security, other humanitarian aid programmes in a country have less impact. This has been an ongoing concern for aid organisations operating in the DPRK.

For this reason, Concern Worldwide (EUPS Unit 3), a resident INGOs in the DPRK, will focus in 2014 on:

  1. Rural food production and nutrition (cooperative farms and household plots)
  2. Urban food production and nutrition (particularly vulnerable social groups such as young children, the chronically ill, lactating mothers and the elderly are food insecure)

The sort of actions that INGOs like Concern can carry out in the DPRK are limited and can only ever cover a small part of the country. So, for example, an INGO might aim to to increase sustainable food production in just one or two counties. Concern plans to do just this in 2014 by establishing urban greenhouses, irrigation systems and goat milk processing facilities. It will also work with locals to increase their technical and management skills. This is an example of a CBUNFS project in action.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Complex Emergency

A multifaceted humanitarian crisis in a country, region or society where there is a total or considerable breakdown of authority resulting from internal or external conflict and which requires a multi-sectoral, international response that goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single agency and/or the ongoing UN country programme. Such emergencies have, in particular, a devastating effect on children and women, and call for a complex range of responses.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Concern (also known as Concern Worldwide)

Concern is an international NGO (INGO) based in Ireland. It describes itself as being dedicated to reducing suffering and fighting hunger and poverty by working in partnership with communities, combining its expertise with their local knowledge. It was established in 1968 as Africa Concern in response to charity appeals from missionaries working in war torn Biafra. When Africa Concern subsequently responded to appeals for help following the huge cyclone that devastated East Pakistan (now Bengladesh) in 1970, it changed its name to Concern.

Concern is one of the resident INGOs in the DPRK and is designated by the North Korean government as EUPS Unit 3 (see EU+DPRK). It has been active in the DPRK since 2007 and describes its “charity work” there as mainly focused on water and sanitation, forestry and agriculture. It works closely in these areas with a partner resident INGO, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, EUPS Unit 4.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A process or method of helping the parties to a conflict to reach agreement.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A donor country may attach specific conditions to the development cooperation it provides. Political conditions would require compliance with certain ground rules relating to development cooperation (such as good governance, respect for human rights, a willingness to implement reforms, etc.). Economic conditions, on the other hand, might link the provision of aid to certain financial and economic policies of the recipient country. Imposing political and especially economic conditions as a standard practice is a contentious matter. Nowadays, more attention is devoted to linkages between pragmatic conditions and political and economic reform processes.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Confidence Building Measure (CBM)

Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are broadly defined as “measures that address, prevent, or resolve uncertainties among states. Designed to prevent wanted and especially unwanted escalations of hostilities and build mutual trust, CBMs can be formal or informal, unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral, military or political, and can be state-to-state or non-governmental. They are particularly pertinent in addressing and working towards the resolution of long-term political stalemates.

“First conceived of in the context of European conflict management in the 1970s, the concept of CBMs includes military, cultural, and social exchange, and has been applied to conflicts throughout the world, particularly in Asia.”

[Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)]


“A social factual situation in which at least two parties (individuals, groups, states) are involved, and who: i) strive for goals which are incompatible to begin with or strive for the same goal, which, can only be reached by one party; and/or ii) want to employ incompatible means to achieve a certain goal.” (Wasmuth, 1996:180- 181).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Conflict Analysis

Identification and comparison of positions, values, aims, issues, interests, and needs of conflict parties. (International Alert, 1996, III:16).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Conflict Prevention

Measures to avert violent conflict and put in place the means to resolve future disputes non-violently. Strategies for prevention fall into two categories: operational prevention, which refers to measures applicable in the face of immediate crisis, and structural prevention, which consists of longer term measures to ensure that crises do not arise in the first place or, if they do, that they do not recur. These activities are generally conducted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, and include preventative deployments of forces, fact-finding missions, consultations, warnings, inspections and monitoring. See also Peacebuilding.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Conflict Resolution

[Stub entry]: The resolution of conflict usually by conciliation.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Conflict Transformation

Conflict transformation can take the following forms (Väyrynen,1991:4-6; cit Spencer & Spencer, 1995: 163-164):

  1. Actor transformation: internal changes in major conflict parties, or the emergence and recognition of new actors;
  2. Issue transformation: a change in the political agenda of the conflict, downplaying the importance of original conflict issues and emphasising shared concern for new issues;
  3. Rule transformation: a redefinition of the norms actors are expected to observe when dealing with each other;
  4. Structural transformation: profound changes relating to the entire structure of inter-actor relations.

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Conservation Agriculture (CA)

Conservation Agriculture can be defined as “a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment” (FAO 2007).

Conservation Agriculture aims to achieve this through the application of the three CA principles:

  1. minimal soil disturbance
  2. permanent soil cover
  3. crop rotations

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Consolidated Appeal

A reference document on the humanitarian strategy, programme and funding requirements in response to a major or Complex Emergency. See Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP)

Important Note: The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) as used up until September 2013, and described below, has been discontinued in line with the IASC Transformative Agenda. From that date appeals for funding are now organised by way of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). Please refer to the http://www.humanitarianresponse.info/programme-cycle/space web site for information about the HPC and all documents relating to the 2015 Strategic Response Planning cycle and onwards.

The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is a tool used by aid organisations to plan, coordinate, fund, implement and monitor their activities, in major sudden onset and/or complex emergencies that require a system wide humanitarian response.

As a planning and programming tool, the CAP contributes significantly to developing a more thoughtful approach to humanitarian action. As a coordination mechanism, the CAP fosters closer cooperation between host governments, donors, and aid agencies such as NGOs, the Red Cross movement, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN agencies. Working together in the world’s crisis regions, they produce a Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) and an appeal for funds.

The CHAP outlines humanitarian action in a given country or region. It provides:

  • Analysis of the context in which humanitarian takes place;
  • Best, worst, and most likely scenarios;
  • Analysis of need and a statement of priorities;
  • Roles and responsibilities, i.e. who does what and where; and
  • A clear link to longer-term objectives and goals;

Together the provide a framework for monitoring the strategy and revising it if necessary.

The CHAP is the foundation for developing a Consolidated Appeal. Consolidated Appeals present a snapshot of situations, response plans, resource requirements, and monitoring arrangements. If the situation or people’s needs change, any part of an appeal can be revised at any time.

Whenever crises break or natural disasters occur, humanitarian partners develop a Flash Appeal to address people’s most urgent needs. This can later become a Consolidated Appeal.

Humanitarian Coordinators are responsible for preparing the Consolidated Appeals, launched globally by the UN Secretary-General before the beginning of each calendar year. Mid-Year Reviews are presented to donors in July of each year.

Who benefits from the CAP?

  • People struck by disasters and emergencies count on coordinated and effective assistance and protection, on time.
  • Humanitarian agencies reinforce their ability to plan and respond jointly, efficiently, and holistically, thereby enhancing the credibility of humanitarian response.
  • Governments rely on Appeals for a “one-stop” overview of humanitarian action, and help ensure that funds are spent strategically and efficiently.

How is funding managed?

  • Donors provide resources directly to appealing agencies in response to projects in appeals. Listing NGO and UN projects in an appeal enables the aid community to present a more complete picture of need and the financial requirements to address them.
  • The Financial Tracking Service (FTS), managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), shows humanitarian funding needs and contributions in a continually updated on-line database see Financial Tracking Service (OCHA).
  • Since 1992, about one hundred donor countries have provided US$29 billion for 240 appeals to address the needs of people in more than fifty countries and regions, such as Angola, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Former Yugoslavia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, and West Africa.

Who manages the CAP?

  • The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator is responsible for the CAP at headquarters and Humanitarian Coordinators lead the process in the field.
  • To support them, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee established a Sub-working Group on the CAP, which each month brings together aid agencies to further issues such as needs analysis and prioritisation, training and workshops in the field, and resource mobilisation.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has a specific team, which each day works on the CAP with NGOs, the Red Cross Movement, IOM, UN agencies, and governments.

In sum, the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) aims to get people in need the best available protection and assistance, on time.

[Source: CAP FAQ at http://www.humanitarianappeal.net and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, quoted in full]

Contingency Planning

A management tool used to ensure that adequate arrangements are made in anticipation of a crisis. This is achieved primarily through engagement in a planning process leading to a plan of action, together with follow-up actions.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Formal international agreements among nations (to which states become party), which create binding legal obligations. Such agreements may have different names: treaty, convention, covenant, or pact. Conventions are one of two main types of UN human rights instruments, the other being UN standards.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Cooperation Offices, Swiss

Swiss development cooperation is based on maintaining a strong local presence, pursuing outcome-oriented dialogue with local authorities and civil society, and carefully monitoring programmes. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation therefore runs its own cooperation offices in various priority countries in the southern hemisphere as well as in Eastern Europe and the CIS. Each cooperation office has its own team of Swiss experts. This team then works with locally hired staff in the partner country to implement programmes and projects.

The proximity to the places where programmes and projects are being implemented enables Swiss cooperation offices to observe first hand whether the programmes and projects, which represent a cost of between CHF 5 million and CHF 25 million per country per year, actually address local needs. It also enables cooperation offices to determine whether resources are being used effectively.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Coping Capacity

The ability of people or organizations, using available resources and skills, to face and manage adverse conditions that potentially could lead to a disaster.

Comment: In general, this ability involves awareness, resources and good management both in normal times as well as during crises or adverse conditions. The strengthening of coping capacities is a means to build resilience to the effects of natural and human-induced hazards.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


Corruption generally refers to the abuse of power for personal gain. Not only does corruption take place at state level, it also has a negative impact on everyday business and corporate life in many countries. Corruption may give rise to a situation where individuals cannot gain access to public services unless they pay a bribe. In aid work, the healthcare and education sectors are two areas in which this is most often seen.

“[But] in most cases, what we refer to as corruption is the reality of how many political and economic systems work. Patronage-based politics and economics is a resilient form of governance that has persisted for centuries. It refers to a blurring of the lines between private and public, whereby people gain access to economic opportunities or state resources through personal connections with those in positions of relative power. This is not a “third world” characteristic; recent research from Italy, for example, shows that politically connected firms are rewarded with better terms and rates in local credit markets.” [Richard Mallet writing in the Guardian newspaper.]

Transparency International, who produce the annual Corruption Perceptions Index that ranks more than 170 countries around the world, underlines the role of development assistance as a vital tool in reducing poverty. Development assistance aims to increase the sharing between the rich and the poor and supports equitable development processes. Thus it is of critical importance to ensure that development resources are used for this intended purpose and not diverted through corruption. Coherence in development policy can be a help towards that goal.

Stopping corruption is a complex matter and may never be completely successful. The Swiss FDFA observes that “tackling corruption is a constant challenge, both within development cooperation programmes as well as within politics and public life. Experience shows that although stringent legislation and clear rules may reduce incidences of corruption in the awarding of public contracts, it is not possible to entirely halt corrupt practices in this manner. The approach nevertheless instills an awareness that corrupt practices are wrong.”

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Corruption and North Korea

Corruption in North Korea is all-pervading. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 [discussed in this Guardian newspaper article], North Korea was in 2011 officially considered the world’s most corrupt country, along with Somalia. Not much has changed in succeeding years. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 still ranks North Korea and Somalia jointly as the most corrupt countries in the world.

Corruption in North Korea may even have an impact on the awareness of human rights in that country. In a July 2013 paper Relations between Corruption and Human Rights in North Korea, published by the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), the authors argue that, while corruption is well known as a negative factor in establishing good governance and the rule of law, “there is also a need to focus on how corruption impacts the perception[s] of the North Korean people. With a malfunctioning planned economy and the control mechanism in place, they seek their own means of survival, and perceive corruption not as a negative act but as something natural. In terms of the correlation between the public perception of bribery and human rights, bribery negatively affects the establishment of human rights awareness [because when] people believe that the pursuit of private gains through bribery is natural, it is hard to realize the human rights principles of equity and nondiscrimination. Although corruption acts as a factor promoting individualism, this trend is less likely to have a positive impact on North Koreans’ awareness of human rights.”

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Crimes Against Humanity

Acts intended to cause major suffering or serious impairment of physical or mental health qualify as crimes against humanity when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population. In particular this includes murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, deprivation of freedom in violation of the basic principles of international law, torture, rape, sexual enslavement, enforced prostitution, enforced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation and similar forms of serious sexual violence, persecution on political, racial, nationalist, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender-specific grounds, apartheid as well as enforced disappearance of persons.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]

Comment: The Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court holds that acts including, murder, rape, torture, enslavement, enforced disappearances and other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health, when committed as part of a widespread or systemic attack directed against any civilian population are crimes against against humanity. These crimes are reinforced by treaties and customary international law.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Crimes of Genocide

Actions which aim at complete or partial annihilation of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group qualify as genocide. These actions include notably:

  • Killing members of a particular group,
  • Inflicting serious physical or mental injuries,
  • Measures designed to prevent births, or physically eliminate a particular group,
  • Enforced transfer of children to another group.

The United Nations adopted a convention in 1948 to prevent and punish genocide.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]

Critical Facilities

The major physical structures or facilities which are socially, economically or operationally essential to a society’s functioning, both in general as well as in the extreme circumstances of an emergency.

Comment: Critical facilities include such things as roads, railways, bridges, air and sea ports, electricity and water supplies, communications systems, hospitals, public administration centres, and police stations.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Crop Failure

Abnormal reduction in crop yield such that it is insufficient to meet the nutritional or economic needs of the community.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Civil Society Organisations.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Customary International Law

International norms derived from a general and consistent practice of States followed by them out of a sense of legal obligation (opinio juris), rather than from formal expression in a treaty or legal text. Despite not being written, such norms are legally binding on all States with the exception of States who are ‘persistent objectors’.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: Along with international treaties, custom is one of two main sources of the rights and obligations of states. Customary international law is referred to when states adopt certain attitudes, believing that they are acting in conformity with an obligation. For customary law to develop, two elements are required: systematic recurrence of the same pattern of behaviour of states and the conviction of these states that they are acting in conformity with a rule of international law. Most of the provisions of international humanitarian law and in particular those concerning conduct of hostilities are now also covered by customary international law and are thus binding on both state and non-state actors.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]


A large-scale closed circulation system in the atmosphere with low barometric pressure and strong winds that rotate counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. The system is referred to as a cyclone in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, hurricane in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific and typhoon in the western Pacific.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Damage Classification

Evaluation and recording of damage to structures, facilities, or objects according to three (or more) categories:

  1. “severe damage” which precludes further use of the structure, facility, or object for its intended purpose.
  2. “moderate damage” or the degree of damage to principal members, which precludes effective use of the structure, facility, or object for its intended purpose, unless major repairs are made short of complete reconstruction.
  3. “light damage” such as broken windows, slight damage to roofing and siding, interior partitions blown down, and cracked walls; the damage is not severe enough to preclude use of the installation for the purpose for which was intended.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Development Assistance for Refugees.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Days of Immunization

A specified period of ceasefire agreed upon by parties to an armed conflict during which humanitarian agencies are granted access to immunize civilian populations.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Days of Tranquillity

A specified period of ceasefire agreed upon by parties to an armed conflict during which humanitarian agencies are granted access to assess the needs of and provide life-saving assistance to civilian populations.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate Ex-Combatants, Programmes to.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


In many developing countries, political power and economic growth are concentrated in a small number of major cities, while rural areas scarcely benefit from any progress at all. Highly centralised political systems also serve to perpetuate this situation. The consequences of uneven development include a rural exodus to urban areas, the emergence of slums and high levels of unemployment.

Decentralisation and the transfer of resources (decision-making powers, financial resources) from the central government to regional and local authorities is one way to reduce disparity. Municipalities and regions should be involved in decision-making processes. They should also be given the authority to improve services (education, health, water etc.) at a local level. Finally, the role of local authorities needs to be strengthened so that they plan and implement projects in close cooperation with localcommunities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: Switzerland works with local authorities and institutions to facilitate decentralisation processes in the Western Balkans, Africa, Latin America and Asia. As a federal country with a decentralised structure, Switzerland sees itself as having both experience and credibility when it comes to decentralisation.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Declaration of Disaster

Official issuance of a state of emergency upon the occurrence of a large-scale calamity, in order to activate measures aimed at the reduction of the disaster’s impact.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Democracy Without Borders

Democracy Without Borders is a Swiss initiative that associates nationally and internationally renowned Swiss personalities with development projects aimed at strengthening democracy, peace and human rights.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

See Welthungerhilfe.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Developing Country

This is the term usually used to refer to poor countries. The UN uses the Human Development Index (HDI) as a means of determining poverty levels. In addition to considering such things as per capita income, the HDI also takes education levels and life expectancy into account. Many developing countries suffer from widespread poverty (poverty reduction), high levels of unemployment and limited access to healthcare and education.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Development Assistance Committee of the OECD (DAC)

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The DAC website describes its overarching objective for 2011-2015 as promoting “development co-operation and other policies so as to contribute to sustainable development, including pro-poor economic growth, poverty reduction, improvement of living standards in developing countries, and to a future in which no country will depend on aid.”

In order to achieve this overarching objective, an important function of the Committee is to audit and assess the development aid performance of industrialised countries and to establish key development policy parameters.

Comment: DAC’s assessment of Switzerland in 2009 is illustrative of this. Switzerland is a member of the OECD and Swiss development cooperation activities are assessed [by DAC] on a regular basis. The DAC’s report for 2009 gave Switzerland positive reviews. Swiss aid was seen to be reliable and innovative, especially its humanitarian aid. The report also highlighted the constructive role that Switzerland plays in the context of multilateral aid. One of the strengths noted by the DAC was the bottom-up approach. On a more negative note, the DAC felt that the overall level of Swiss official development assistance (ODA) was insufficient, since it corresponded to only 0.47% of Switzerland’s gross national income (GNI) (2009). They pointed out that Switzerland’s ODA/GNI ratio is significantly lower than the 0.7% of ODA/GNI target recommended by the United Nations and also lower than the ODA/GNI of comparable industrialised countries.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Swiss FDFA]

Development Aid/Development Cooperation

Nowadays, development practitioners tend to use the term “development cooperation” rather than “development aid”. This is because development cooperation emphasises the partnership approach needed to solve problems relating to poverty and development. The purpose of development cooperation is to reduce global poverty and help countries to overcome local, regional and global factors that inhibit development.

Development cooperation includes both bilateral cooperation with partner countries and the co-drafting of international regulations and agreements that encourage development. Unlike humanitarian aid, which is generally emergency relief provided in response to natural disasters or armed conflict, development cooperation seeks to bring about long-term, structural changes.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: Development cooperation is meant to foster economic self-reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Development Assistance for Refugees (DAR)

A programming approach which aims to promote the inclusion of refugees and host communities in development agendas through additional development assistance to improve burden-sharing with countries hosting a large number of refugees and to promote a better quality of life and self-reliance for refugees pending durable solutions and an improved standard of living for refugee-hosting communities.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Development Cooperation

See Development Aid/Development Cooperation.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Development Funding

Development funding comes from a variety of sources. In addition to official development assistance (ODA) from industrialised countries, funding also comes from international financial institutions, the United Nations and non-governmental organisations. An important development funding milestone was the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in Monterrey (Mexico) in 2002. The Monterrey Consensus requires developed countries to devote at least 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) for ODA to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Monterrey Consensus also called for regulations to be established to ensure that the movement of goods between industrialised and developing countries would favour development objectives (fair trade).

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Development Partner

Development Partner (DP) is a generic term that refers to the members (“partners”) in multi-stakeholder partnerships/groupings involved in development cooperation. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are voluntary associations between different stakeholders such as civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector, philanthropic organizations, NGOs, donor countries and international organizations.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Development Policy

Development policy refers to all political, economic and social measures taken by a donor country to achieve sustainable improvements in living conditions in developing and transition countries. Development policy is not a clearly defined field in its own right, however, since trade policy and agricultural policy also include development policy-related aspects. One of the main development policy challenges is how to coordinate all sub-policy areas into a coherent whole (coherence).

A donor country might chose as the basis for its development policy objectives the set of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established by the United Nations, which aim at eliminating extreme poverty. In addition to reducing poverty and inequality, a further goal of development policy might be to support the longterm goal of freeing developing countries from their dependency on aid, through strengthening their own resources.

Comment: In Switzerland, development policy is determined by statutory guidelines established by the Swiss Parliament. The legal basis for development policy is the Federal Act of 19 March 1976 on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (SR 974.0). Budget requests are submitted to the Swiss Parliament in four- to five-year cycles in the form of a Federal Council Dispatch. When allocating budget funding, the Swiss Parliament sets specific development policy objectives as well as thematic and geographical priorities.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Swiss FDFA]

Development Through Local Integration (DLI)

A programming approach applied in protracted refugee situations where the state opts to provide opportunities for the gradual integration of refugees. It is based on the understanding that those refugees who are unable to repatriate and are willing to integrate locally will find a solution to their plight in their country of asylum. DLI is achieved through the inclusion of refugees in development plans.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


“The conduct of international relations by negotiation rather than by force, propaganda, or recourse to law, and by other peaceful means (such as gathering information or engendering goodwill) which are either directly or indirectly designed to promote negotiation… Diplomacy is an activity which is regulated by custom and by law, though flexibility remains one of its vital features” (Berridge, 1995:1).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate Ex-Combatants, Programmes to (DDR(R))

In a peacekeeping context, programmes to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate ex-combatants (DDR(R)) are a crucial part of the peace process. Such a programme will usually include the following components:

  • Disarmament: The collection, control and disposal of small arms, ammunition, explosives and light and heavy weapons of combatants and often also of the civilian population. It includes the development of responsible arms management programmes.
  • Demobilization: The process by which armed forces (government and/or opposition or factional forces) either downsize or completely disband, as part of a broader transformation from war to peace. Typically, demobilization involves the assembly, quartering, disarmament, administration and discharge of former combatants, who may receive some form of compensation and other assistance to encourage their transition to civilian life.
  • Reintegration: Assistance measures provided to former combatants that would increase the potential for their and their families’, economic and social reintegration into civil society. Reintegration programmes could include cash assistance or compensation in kind, as well as vocational training and income-generating activities.
  • Resettlement: The settlement of ex-combatants in locations within their country of origin or to a third country.
  • Repatriation: The return of ex-combatants to their country of origin.
  • Rehabilitation: The treatment through psychosocial counselling and other programs of ex-combatants, most typically ex-child soldiers, who have been traumatized by war to assist them in resuming a more normal life.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

Comment: Disasters are often described as a result of the combination of a natural hazard, the conditions of vulnerability, and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce or cope with the potential negative consequences. A disaster also may be seen as an outcome of the “risk process”, the interactions of the above three factors over time that lead to the development of disaster risks and the expression of that risk through disaster events.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Legislation

The body of laws and regulations that govern and designate responsibility for disaster management concerning the various phases of disaster.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Management

Comprehensive approach and activities to reduce the adverse impacts of disasters.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Mitigation

A set of measures to reduce or neutralize the impact of natural hazards by reducing social, functional, or physical vulnerability.

[Source: CRID via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Preparedness

The organization, education, and training of the population and all relevant institutions to facilitate effective control, early warning, evacuation, rescue, relief and assistance operations in the event of a disaster or emergency.

[Source: CRID via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Prevention

The elimination or reduction of the likelihood that natural events may endanger human beings, their goods, their social assets, or their environment.

[Source: CRID via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Response

A sum of decisions and actions taken during and after disaster, including immediate relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Risk

The magnitude of potential disaster losses, in lives, livelihoods and assets, which could occur to a particular community or group, arising from their exposure to possible future hazard events and their vulnerability to these hazards.

Comment: The concept of disaster risk shifts the viewpoint from disasters as events randomly affecting places, to that of negative potential conditions continuously affecting all areas. Disaster risk encompasses several different types of potential losses ‐ in lives, livelihoods and financial and other assets ‐ and is often difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, with knowledge of the prevailing hazards and the patterns of population and socio-economic development, it can be assessed and mapped, in broad terms at least, and the factors contributing to the risks can be made subject to public and private risk-reducing actions.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Risk Management

The systematic process of using administrative decisions, organization, operational skills and capacities to implement policies, strategies and coping capacities of the society and communities to lessen the impacts of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters. This comprises all forms of activities, including structural and non-structural measures to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) adverse effects of hazards.

Comment: This comprises all forms of activities, including structural and non-structural measures to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) adverse effects of hazards.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Risk Reduction

Action taken to reduce the risk of disasters and the adverse impacts of natural hazards, through systematic efforts to analyse and manage the causes of disasters, including through avoidance of hazards, reduced social and economic vulnerability to hazards, and improved preparedness for adverse events.

Comment: A comprehensive approach to reduce the risks of disasters is set out in the United Nations-endorsed Hyogo Framework for Action. Its five priorities for action cover the following elements:

  1. the necessary institutional basis for implementing disaster risk reduction,
  2. risk assessment and early warning,
  3. knowledge, innovation and education, reduction of the underlying risk factors,
  4. preparedness for response.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction system provides a vehicle for cooperation by Governments, organisations and civil society actors toward achieving the Hyogo Framework for Action’s expected outcome, namely “The substantial reduction of disaster losses, in lives and the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries.”

Note that while the term “disaster reduction” is often used, the term “disaster risk reduction” provides a better recognition of the ongoing risk of adverse events and the ongoing potential to reduce these risks.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Risk Reduction Plans

Formal documents that set out authorities’ goals for objectives towards these goals.

Comment: The development of such plans should be guided by the Hyogo Framework and should be considered and coordinated within respective development plans, resource allocations and activities. Disaster risk reduction plans need to be specific to each level of government responsibility, and to the different geographical circumstances.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Disaster Team

Multidisciplinary, multisectoral group of persons qualified to evaluate adisaster and to bring the necessary relief.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Disease Control

All policies, precautions and measures taken to prevent the outbreak or spread of communicable diseases.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Displaced Persons

Internally displaced persons differ from refugees in that they are displaced within their own country. They are entitled to the protection accorded to all civilians. International humanitarian law expressly prohibits forcible transfer of civilians in both international and non-international conflicts, defining it as a war crime.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]


Forcible or voluntary uprooting of persons from their homes by violent conflicts, gross violations of human rights and other traumatic events, or threats thereof. Persons who remain within the borders of their own country are known as internally displaced persons. Persons who are forced to flee outside the borders of their state of nationality or residence for reasons based on a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds identified in the 1951 Refugee Convention or to flee conflict in the case of States Parties to the 1969 OAU Convention or 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees are known as refugees.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Development through Local Integration.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Do no harm

Do no harm refers to a set of principles intended to ensure conflict-sensitive planning of aid measures, especially in conflict zones. This approach, which was developed by the American economist Mary B. Anderson, has also proved its worth in the context of Swiss development cooperation.

The do no harm approach acknowledges that development projects and the supply of material aid can have both intended and unintended consequences. A less than cautious approach may do harm, for example, if the aid provided strengthens a warring party. In order to avoid negative consequences, it is therefore essential to investigate the context and the parties involved before any material aid is distributed or any development projects are implemented. In the case of violent conflicts, certain parties involved may fuel tensions between the warring parties (“dividers”), while others may manage to ease tensions (“connectors”). All external support measures should be consciously intended to strengthen the position of the “connectors”. This can be particularly difficult to achieve in a situation of war.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Donor Committees

Donor committees are groups of donor countries that coordinate their development policy with one another. By working together in this fashion, donor committees are able to align international aid according to shared objectives and standards. The pooling of resources also lends more weight to policy discussions with the government of the recipient country. Donor committees play a particularly important role in coordinating budgetary aid.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


See Development Partner.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Pronounced absence or marked deficiency of precipitation [i.e. rain – NKhumnitarian Editors].

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]


Dried skim milk (DSM) is an important component of Super Cereals, a blended food produced in the DPRK and distributed to children and pregnant and lactating women through the distribution systems of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of the DPRK. Switzerland has been the main supplier of milk powder to the WFP in North Korea since 1995.

Dry Spell

Period of abnormally dry weather. Use of the term should be confined to conditions less severe than those of a drought.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Dust Storm (Sand Storm)

Dust (sand) energetically lifted to great heights by strong and turbulent winds.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Early Action

Often used in conjunction with ‘early warning’, the term refers to either ‘preventive action’ or ‘early response action’.

“Processes of consultation, policy making, planning, and action to reduce or avoid armed conflict. These processes include:

  1. diplomatic/political;
  2. military/security;
  3. humanitarian; and
  4. development/economic activity.”

      (Diller, 1997:7)

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Early Warning

The provision of timely and effective information, through identified institutions, that allows individuals exposed to a hazard to take action to avoid or reduce their risk and prepare for effective response.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Early Warning System

The set of capacities needed to provide timely and meaningful information to enable individuals and communities threatened by hazards to act in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner to reduce the possibility of personal injury, loss of life and livelihoods, damage to property and the environment, and to prepare for effective response.

Comment: This definition encompasses the factors that lead to effective response. A people-centred early warning system necessarily comprises four key elements:

  • knowledge of the risks,
  • monitoring and analysis of the hazards,
  • communication or dissemination of alerts and warnings, and
  • local capabilities to respond to the warnings received.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Earth Flow

A mass movement characterized by down slope translation of loose material.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


A shaking or trembling of the earth that is volcanic or tectonic in origin causing any type of damage or negative effect on communities or properties.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Earthquake Swarm

A series of minor earth tremors (none of which may be identified as the main shock) that occurs within a limited area and time.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


European Commission (EC).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Executive Committee on Humanitarian Assistance.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The ECHO in Pyongyang closed in 2008. The EU now have a more structured, long-term approach, to humanitarian aid in the DPRK – see EU+DPRK.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Eidgenössisches Departement für wärtige Angelegenheiten. (EDA). These are the initials of the German name for Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs(FDFA).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Education (the Swiss perspective)

Education opens the door to better prospects. Educated people more easily find gainful employment and can better provide for their own material needs. Those who lack an education often remain trapped in poverty. It is for this reason that development cooperation places considerable value on education. Switzerland works to help girls, women and ethnic minorities to gain access to basic education. Switzerland also encourages the development of upper-secondary level vocational education and training (VET). Local languages are used as the language of instruction, thereby making it easier for students to acquire the skills needed on the local labour market. Generally speaking, development cooperation in the field of education has been successful: globally, illiteracy rates are falling and the number of people admitted to school is increasing. In addition, fewer girls and women are being excluded from education.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


European Economic Area.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

El Niño

An anomalous warming of ocean water resulting from the oscillation of a current in the South Pacific (the El Niño Southern Oscillation, commonly called ENSO), usually accompanied by heavy rainfall in the coastal region of Peru and Chile, and reduction of rainfall in equatorial Africa and Australia.

El Niño occurs every seven to eight years. The 2015 El Niño event began peaking in December and is one of the strongest on record, leading to record temperatures, rainfall and weather extremes. Scientists said the December flooding in Britain, record US temperatures and Australian wildfires are linked to El Niño making the effects of man-made climate change worse.

Developing countries dependent upon agriculture and fishing, particularly those bordering the Pacific Ocean, are the most affected.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb and NKhumanitarian Editors]

El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, including off the Pacific coast of South America. El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature (SST), of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Niña” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall. Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study.

Measurements and simulations suggest that climate change has created a tendency toward more extreme El Niños in recent years.

[Source: Wikipedia and NKhumanitarian Editors]


A sudden and usually unforeseen event that calls for immediate measures to minimize its adverse consequences.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Emergency Management

The organization and management of resources and responsibilities for addressing all aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and rehabilitation.

Comment: Emergency management involves plans and institutional arrangements to engage and guide the efforts of government, voluntary and private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to respond to the whole spectrum of emergency needs. This is also known as disaster management.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Emergency Relief

The immediate survival assistance to the victims of crisis and violent conflict. Most relief operations are initiated on short notice and have a short implementation period (project objectives are generally completed within a year). The main purpose of emergency relief is to save lives.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC)

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs also carries the title of Emergency Relief Coordinator. In this role, the ERC coordinates the international response to humanitarian emergencies and disasters.

The Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) is responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance. S/he also acts as the central focal point for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental relief activities.

The ERC also leads the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian partners.

In a country affected by a disaster or conflict, the ERC may appoint a Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) to ensure response efforts are well organized. The HC works with government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and affected communities. An OCHA office will be established to support the HC.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Emergency Response Fund (ERF)

An ERF is an OCHA-managed fund usually set up with contributions from more than one government donor. ERFs aim to provide rapid and flexible funding to in-country actors to address urgent and unforeseen humanitarian needs, i.e., they tend to fund projects that are not in the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) or its equivalent because they respond to needs that could not have been predicted in advance. However, projects are expected to be in line with the objectives of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) or its equivalent. They mainly fund NGOs though some ERFs have financed UN agencies as well. The mechanism has been in use since 1997, when one was first established in Angola. (OCHA/DI)

[Source: OCHA/DI via #ReliefWeb]

Emergency Services

Emergency services are the set of specialized agencies that have specific responsibilities and objectives in serving and protecting people and property in emergency situations.

Comment: Emergency services include agencies such as the Police, Fire Service, medical and ambulance units, Red Cross and Red Crescent, and relevant voluntary organizations.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Emerging Countries

Emerging countries are countries that are well on their way to becoming industrialised nations, but have not yet joined the club of the wealthy industrialised countries. The term “newly industrialised countries” expresses the idea that emerging countries differ from developing countries both in terms of extent of industrialisation and economic strength. In emerging countries, social development often lags behind economic development.

As economic powers, emerging countries can play an important role in the development of entire regions. One example of this is the fact that the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is causing shifts in the balance of global political power. Populous and rapidly expanding emerging countries are therefore in a position to influence international climate policy and find solutions to global problems. As a result, emerging countries are now demanding stronger representation in multilateral institutions. Power and prosperity are being redistributed in this multi-polar world that is now taking shape. In view of the fact that resources are becoming increasingly scarce, competition on world markets will only intensify.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


A process/phenomenon that allows people to take greater control over the decisions, assets, policies, processes and institutions that affect their lives.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Empowerment refers to efforts to reduce poverty by strengthening the position of disadvantaged groups within the population. Literally speaking, the verb “to empower” means to “authorise” and “give power”. In the context of development aid empowerment means enabling disadvantaged people to proactively shape and improve their living conditions. Poverty is always an expression of limited social, economic and political prospects and power. These must be overcome so that people are able to identify their own needs and develop adequate solutions thus enabling them to exert greater influence over local and national poverty reduction policies.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Enclosed Camp

A refugee camp which is physically surrounded by a fence.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


El Niño Southern Oscillation. See also El_Niño.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Entry into Force

When the treaty or convention becomes a functioning and enforceable legal document. A convention only “enters into force” after the required number of ratifications (by states) has been received.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Environmental Degradation

The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives and needs.

Comment: Degradation of the environment can alter the frequency and intensity of natural hazards and increase vulnerability of communities. The sources of degradation are varied, and include land misuse, soil loss, desertification, wildland fires, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, mangrove destruction, land, water and air pollution, climate change, sea level rise and ozone depletion.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Environmental Impact Assessment

Process by which the environmental consequences of a proposed project or programme are evaluated and alternatives are analyzed, undertaken as an integral part of planning and decision-making processes.

Comment: Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a policy tool that provides evidence and analysis of environmental impacts of activities from conception to decision-making. It is utilized extensively in national programming and for international development assistance projects. An EIA must include a detailed risk assessment and provide alternatives, solutions or options to deal with identified problems.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


That point on the earth’s surface directly above the place of origin (i.e., focus or hypocenter) of an earthquake.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time. Non-pandemic disease attacking many individuals in a same community during short terms (days, weeks, months maximum), such as cholera, typhoid, bubonic plague, etc.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]


See Emergency Relief Coordinator.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Emergency Response Fund.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Explosive Remnants of War.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Ethnic Cleansing

Refers to the practice of an ethnic group in military control of a territory seeking to remove members of other ethnic groups through tactics intended to instil a sense of fear, including random or selective killings, sexual assaults, confiscation or destruction of property in order to create ethnically pure enclaves for members of their group.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


European Union (EU).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

EU and the DPRK

The EU established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and most EU countries have bilateral diplomatic relations with North Korea. The EU countries’ embassies in Pyongyang take it in turns to serve as the EU representative office.

Political dialogue: The EU has annual political talks with North Korea, and the European Parliament has a regular exchange with parliamentarians from here. The EU is committed to a policy of critical engagement with North Korea around:

  • peace and security in the Korean Peninsula
  • non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
  • human rights.

Since 1995, over €366m in aid has been provided in the form of food aid, medical, water and sanitation assistance and agricultural support. In 2011 the EU provided €10m in emergency aid following a severe food crisis.

The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) in Pyongyang closed in 2008. Since then the EU has adapted its aid to long-term, more structured humanitarian assistance – see EUPS below.

[Source: European External Action Service of the EU and NKhumanitarian Editors]

EU Enlargement, Swiss Contribution to

Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement helps to preserve security and prosperity in Europe. Based on the criteria established by the OECD/DAC, this contribution is not considered as official development assistance (ODA). The enlargement of the EU into Eastern Europe has stimulated the economy and has improved security in Europe. Both outcomes have been of benefit to Switzerland, which is why efforts are also being made to reduce prosperity gaps between the original EU-15 member states and the 12 new EU member states. As part of its contribution to EU enlargement, Switzerland implements projects in four development-related areas:

  • Security, stability and reforms
  • Environment and infrastructure
  • Promotion of the private sector
  • Human and social development

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Cyprus have received support since 2007. Rumania and Bulgaria became recipient countries in 2010. Funding is jointly used by the SDC and SECO in remote regions that have derived little benefit from previous growth. Specific examples of the use of funding include: modernisation of hospitals in Estonia, boosting small and medium enterprises in Poland and awarding fellowship grants for young scientists. Around one-third of the projects are carried out with the involvement of Swiss companies.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


European Union Programme Support. An umbrella name for EU funding and support initiatives. Covers a wide range of areas as varied as Small and Medium Size Enterprises in the EU to Health and Nutrition in the DPRK. In the case of the latter, there is a very specific structure, called a European Union Programme Support Unit, for each resident EU INGO. These units are designated by KECCA, the Korean Europe Cooperation Coordination Agency of the government of North Korea. In 2014 there were six of these units resident in the DPRK. By the end of 2018, with the withdrawal of Save The Children, it became five:

  • EUPS Unit 1 (Première Urgence – Aide Médicale Internationale)
  • EUPS Unit 3 (Concern Worldwide)
  • EUPS Unit 4 (Deutsche Welthungerhilfe)
  • EUPS Unit 5 (Triangle Génération Humanitaire)
  • EUPS Unit 7 (Handicap International/Humanity & Inclusion)

In January 2018, EUPS 7, the global Handicap International network rebranded as Humanity & Inclusion. However it continues to run programs under the old operating name “Handicap International” in the DPRK.

In April 2018, EUPS Unit 2, Save the Children International, began scaling back its operations citing difficulties in receiving deliveries of supplies and transferring/transporting cash into the country as the result of sanctions (UN and EU). It is no longer resident in the DPRK.

There is considerable overlap in some areas of action between EUPS Units, due in part to some of them extending their operations into new sectors. Save the Children, for example, opened its office in the DPRK in August 2003 and implemented a small project rehabilitating thirty-one nurseries and kindergartens. Since then, as EUPS Unit 2, it has been implementing Integrated Environmental Health (IEH) Projects and Food Security (FS) Projects in South Hamgyong Province.

On the other hand, EUPS Units 3 and 4 (Concern Worldwide and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe) are two resident EU INGOs in the DPRK that have always operated in many of the same sectors (Food, Agriculture, Water and Sanitation) and now work in close collaboration.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A European Union Programme Support Office. In some parts of the world the EU funds and supports initiatives itself. There is, for example, an EU Programme Support Office in North Nicosia to help the Turkish Cypriots prepare for reunification.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A systematic and objective analysis and assessment of the organization’s policies, programmes, practices, partnerships and procedures, focused on planning, design, implementation and impacts.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Executive Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (ECHA)

One of the four Committees created by the Secretary-General in 1997 in the framework of the UN reform with the aim of enhancing the coordination between UN agencies in various fields. Chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs / Emergency Relief Coordinator and composed of executives at the highest level, ECHA meets on a monthly basis in New York.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)

A collective term for explosive devices left after a period of conflict. ERW have been divided into four major threat areas:

  1. mines and unexploded ordnance contamination on the ground
  2. abandoned armoured fighting vehicles
  3. small arms and light weapons, including limited ammunition and explosives in the possession of civilians and non-State actors, and/or
  4. abandoned and/or damaged/disrupted stockpiles of ammunition and explosives

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Extra-Tropical Cyclone

Low-pressure system which develops in latitudes outside the tropics.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]


Fair Trade

International trade is a strong driver of development and is an important source of foreign currency. Trade can also contribute to sustainable development (sustainability) if producers receive a suitable share of the profits and are able to earn a viable income for their work. Fairtrade products are produced in a socially justifiable and environmentally friendly manner and are therefore slightly more expensive than competing products. Fair trade mainly flourishes whenever access to markets in industrialised countries is not subject to excessively high trade barriers.

The market share of fair-trade products is constantly growing in Switzerland [and other countries like the UK] and the main supermarket chains have included fair-trade products in their product range for many years now.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Family Reunification

The process of bringing together families, particularly children and elderly dependents with previous care-providers for the purpose of establishing or re-establishing long-term care. Separation of families occurs most often during armed conflicts or massive displacements of people.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A catastrophic food shortage affecting large numbers of people due to climatic, environmental and socio-economic reasons.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It is thus a a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

Among its 37 members are many EU countries as well as the European Commission, China, U.S., Australia, Argentina, Switzerland and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland. For German speakers it is known as EDA. It is the home of Switzerland’s international cooperation and development agency SDC.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Food, Income and Markets programmes (FIM).

Concern is one of the resident INGOs in the DPRK and is designated by the North Korean government as EUPS Unit 3 (see EU+DPRK and EUPS). One of its main contributions to that country is a Food, Incomes and Markets (FIM) programme.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Financial Tracking Service (FTS)

A web-based, searchable contributions tracking system which reflects all humanitarian funding reported to OCHA. Includes contributions to Consolidated Appeals, natural disasters, and all other humanitarian aid as reported to OCHA. In-kind contributions, with a dollar value reported by the donor or recipient entity, are also recorded.

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]


A destructive burning (as of a building). Include in this category urban, industrial or rural fires, but not including wild (forest) fires. Limited to those induced or highly connected to natural phenomena, such as electrical storms, earthquakes, droughts, etc.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

First Aid

The immediate but temporary care given on site to the victims of an accident or sudden illness in order to avert complications, lessen suffering, and sustain life until competent services or a physician can be obtained.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Flash Appeal

The Flash Appeal is a tool for structuring a coordinated humanitarian response for the first three to six months of an emergency. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator triggers it in consultation with all stakeholders. The Flash Appeal is issued within one week of an emergency. It provides a concise overview of urgent life saving needs, and may include recovery projects that can be implemented within the timeframe of the Appeal.

[Source: CAP FAQ http://www.humanitarianappeal.net]

Flash Flood

Flooding that develops very quickly on streams and river tributaries with a relatively high peak discharge; usually as a result of thunderstorms. Sometimes the onset of flash flooding comes before the end of heavy rains. There is little time between the detection of flood conditions and the arrival of the flood crest. Swift action is essential to the protection of life and property.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]


The overflowing of water of the normal confines of a stream or other body of water, or the accumulation of water by drainage over areas, which are not normally submerged. Excludes Tidal flooding in coastal zones will be reported as “Storm Surge”.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Food Insecurity

A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. It may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution, or inadequate use of food at the household level. Food insecurity, poor conditions of health and sanitation, and inappropriate care and feeding practices are the major causes of poor nutritional status. Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal or transitory.

[Source: FIVIMS via #ReliefWeb]

Food Security

A situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

[Source: FIVIMS via #ReliefWeb]

Despite the continual expansion of arable land, the number of people suffering from malnutrition exceeded one billion in 2009. Improving food security is therefore an urgent requirement. Food security is achieved when a sufficient quantity of good and healthy food is available to everyone. However, not only must sufficient food be available, the poor must also be able to afford it.

Comment: For many decades now, Switzerland has focussed mainly on the production and distribution of agricultural products as a means of fighting hunger. It also invests in applied agricultural research and provides smallholder farmers with access to high-quality, drought-resistant seed.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


Statement or statistical estimate of the occurrence of a future event. This term is used with different meanings in different disciplines, as well as “prediction”.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Foreign Policy

Foreign policy determines the relations that a state maintains with other states and with international organisations. It includes a number of different policy areas such as trade, environment, security, development and culture. Foreign policy is intended to safeguard the interests of a state abroad. Forward-looking foreign policy sets out to solve global problems such as famine, climate change, migration, scarcity of resources, etc.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]


Earthquake which is often part of a distinctive sequence which precedes and originates close to the focus of a large earthquake (main shock).

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Forest/Grassland Fire

Fires in forest or brush grasslands that cover extensive areas and usually do extensive damage. They may start by natural causes such as volcanic eruptions or lighting, or they may be caused by arsonists or careless smokers, by those burning wood or by clearing a forest area.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Framework Agreement

A Framework Agreement is a negotiated agenda for ‘Agreement in Principle’ negotiations. It should identify the subjects for and objectives of the negotiations, and establish a timetable and the procedural arrangements for the negotiations. In the humanitarian context, a framework agreement often forms an important component of peace negotiations. For instance, a framework agreement was used by the UN to establish a political and humanitarian context for negotiation in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Funding Commitment

Creation of a contractual obligation regarding funding between the donor and appealing agency. Almost always takes the form of a signed contract. This is the crucial stage of humanitarian funding: agencies cannot spend money and implement before a funding commitment is made; once it is made, they can begin spending against it, using cash reserves.

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]



German Agro Action, now known as Welthungerhilfe.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis reveals the quantifiable difference between a measured indicator and a standard. For example, if the standard is for each refugee to have 20 litres of water per day and each person only has 12 litres of water per day, then there is a gap of 8 litres of water per day per person.

[Source: UNHCR Technical Glossary via #ReliefWeb]


Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. The Alliance’s members are:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • World Health Organisation
  • The World Bank

See the GAVI website for more details.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Gender/Gender Equality

Gender refers to the gender-specific role that a person plays, as opposed to his/her biological sex. One’s social gender is a function of the roles, resources, rights and obligations attributed to men and women in society. As mothers, nurturers and caregivers, women shoulder a great deal of responsibility, but often find themselves in disadvantaged situations. A large part of the work they do is unpaid, which narrows women’s development potential and prevents them from enjoying equal rights. A sustainable development strategy must therefore attempt to eliminate gender-specific disadvantages so that men and women may receive an equal share of the development process (gender equality).

Gender mainstreaming seeks to ensure that women hold an equal position at all levels within society, e.g. in the training and healthcare sector, rural development and economic life.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Gender-Based Violence

Violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender or sex. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental, or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion, or other deprivations of liberty. While women, men, boys and girls can be victims of gender-based violence, because of their subordinate status, women and girls are the primary victims.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols

The four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977 relating to the protection of victims in armed conflict are the principal instruments of international humanitarian law. Together, these instruments seek to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities, including wounded or sick military and naval personnel, prisoners of war, and civilian populations, and to restrict the means and methods of warfare. The four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I apply during international armed conflicts between two or more States, whereas only Article 3 common to the four Conventions and Protocol II apply during non-international or internal conflicts. As of March 2003, 190 States are party to the Geneva Conventions, 161 States are party to Additional Protocol I and 156 States are party to Additional Protocol II. These instruments are monitored principally by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


As defined by Article II of the 1948 Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: “Genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Geological Hazard

Geological processes or phenomena that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Geological hazards include internal earth processes, such as earthquakes, geological fault activity, volcanic activity and emissions, and related processes such as mass movements, landslides, rockslides, avalanches, surfaces collapses, debris or mud flows and tsunamis.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

An organized collection of tools (computer hardware and software), of information and of professional/technical knowledge which is used to input, store, retrieve, utilize, analyse and output geographically referenced data. A GIS uses geography as its organizing principle. A GIS is particularly useful in situations with a spatial dimension, such as knowing the locations of refugees, where water taps are and how far refugees need to walk to school.

[Source: UNHCR Technical Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping

The use of a geographic information system, a computer-based tool, for risk or hazard mapping. GIS technology integrates database operations with the geographic analysis benefits offered by maps.

The benefits of the technique are the increase in productivity of hazard-mapping technicians, it can give higher quality results than can be obtained manually and it can facilitate decisionmaking and improve coordination among agencies when efficiency is at a premium.

The limitations of the technique include the lack of trained personnel; difficulties in exchanging data between different systems; difficulties in including social, economic and environmental variables; variability in access to computers and the quality and detail of the data required by GIS analysis.

[Source: UN HABITAT via #ReliefWeb]


Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

Wikipedia also provides an accessible and detailed description of the work and history of the GFATM here.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Gravity-fed Schemes for supplying drinking water. Also called Gravity Flow Schemes. Hence reference to GFS taps, often as communal standpipes supplying clean drinking water.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and WaterAid]


See Global Humanitarian Assistance.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Good Humanitarian Donorship.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The Global Health Observatory is WHO’S gateway to health-related statistics from around the world. The aim of the GHO portal is to provide easy access to:

  • country data and statistics with a focus on comparable estimates;
  • WHO’s analyses to monitor global, regional and country situation and trends.

Users are able to display data for selected indicators, health topics, countries and regions, and download the customized tables in Excel format.

The GHO country data includes all country statistics and health profiles that are available within WHO.

[Source: www.who.int/gho/about/en/]


See Global Humanitarian Platform.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Geographic Information Systems.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

GLIDE Number

A unique identifier number for an emergency (Global Unique Disaster Identifier Number). The system that generates the numbers is managed by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM)

An indicator to assess the severity of malnutrition that provides the percentage of children wasted (GAM), generally among children between 6 to 59 months. It is measured using a weight-for-height index.

[Source: UNHCR Technical Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Global Compact

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.By doing so, the idea is that business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. The initiative was officially launched in 1999 by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

[Source: www.unglobalcompact.org and NKhumanitarian Editors]

Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA)

GHA is an independent project, established by Development Initiatives in 1999 to monitor funding for humanitarian action.

[Source: DI via #ReliefWeb]

Global Humanitarian Platform (GHP)

A forum launched in July 2006 to bring together on an equal footing the three main families of the wider humanitarian community: nongovernmental organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the United Nations and related international organizations in order to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian action.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Global Public Goods (GPGs)

Within the space of only a few years, the concept of global public goods (GPGs) has become a new reference framework for global environmental and development policy. The term global public goods was first coined in the UNDP publication Global Public Goods; International Cooperation in the 21st Century (1999). GPGs are goods, whose usefulness extends beyond national borders and regions, generations and groups within society. This broad definition includes such items as peace and security, health, an intact environment, cultural heritage, financial stability, knowledge and information as well as fairness and equity.

As a concept, Global Public Goods is shaped by two characteristics. First of all, no-one should be excluded from using a GPG (non-excludability) and secondly, it should be possible for a GPG to be used by various people at the same time (non-rivalry).

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD)

The GHD initiative was created by donor governments at a meeting in Stockholm in 2003 with the idea of working towards achieving efficient and principled humanitarian assistance. The initiative provides a forum for donors to discuss good practice in funding humanitarian assistance and other shared concerns. By defining principles and standards it provides both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a mechanism for encouraging greater donor accountability.

[Source: DI via #ReliefWeb]

Good Practice

An innovative, interesting and inspiring practice that has the potential to be transferred in whole or in part to other national contexts.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The concept of governance, or rather, good governance, is based on the premise that development cooperation will never be able to achieve satisfactory outcomes without legal certainty, the rule of law and the ability to hold those in government accountable for their actions. Governance refers to the functioning of a state or political authority (political governance) or of the private sector (economic governance). The concept of governance relates to the decision-making processes in various areas within society as well as at various levels of responsibility.

The essential prerequisites for good governance include transparent decision-making as well as reliable and efficient implementation of business and policy decisions. In order to monitor governance, a state must have independent institutions, an impartial judiciary and a strong civil society. Promoting good governance is one of the core concerns of development cooperation, both at the level of the centralised state as well as at the level of individual provinces and municipalities.

Governance is a cross-cutting theme in Swiss development cooperation activities. Capacity building within municipal governments, decentralisation of political structures and the development of an independent judiciary are three prominent examples of governance-related activities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


See Global Public Goods.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

GRM International

GRM International Pty Ltd, a global development management firm with headquarters in Brisbane, Australia.

GRM International can trace its roots back to 1965, when Australian pioneer Sir William Gunn established Gunn Development Pty Ltd. The company managed agricultural investments, with a focus on developing the cattle and farming industry of northern Australia. Gunn Rural Managment (GRM) was formed the same year as the consulting arm of Gunn Development Pty Ltd. By 1968, the company had expanded, consulting on projects in rural development in Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia.

In 1977, Gunn Rural Management was bought from Sir William Gunn by three partners and renamed GRM International Pty Ltd. GRM International “has been bringing expertise in managing large-scale projects, and sourcing and managing high quality experts covering all disciplinary skills required to implement development projects”. GRM International has worked over the past 45 years in more than 120 countries and claims to have successfully implemented more than 700 complex and innovative projects on behalf of clients and partners around the world.

GRM International has two sister companies: Futures Group and the Effective Development Group.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Gross Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

While no agreed definition exists of the term “gross violations of human rights”, it can be concluded that, at a minimum, these violations include genocide; slavery and slavery-like practices; summary or arbitrary executions; torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; enforced disappearance; arbitrary and prolonged detention; deportation or forcible transfer of population; and systematic discrimination, in particular based on race or gender.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

A series of principles that articulate standards for protection, assistance and solutions for internally displaced persons. The Guiding Principles were presented to the Commission on Human Rights by the Representative of the Secretary General for Internally Displaced Persons in April 1998. They reflect and are consistent with human rights law, humanitarian law and refugee law, and provide guidance to States, other authorities, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations faced with issues of internal displacement.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]



Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International. HAP International, established in 2003, was the humanitarian sector’s first international self-regulatory body. A multi-agency initiative working to improve the accountability of humanitarian action to people affected by disasters and other crises, HAP members ranged from organisations working in emergency relief, development activities, as well as other quality and accountability organisations and institutional donors. The organisation aimed to strengthen accountability towards those affected by crisis situations and to facilitate improved performance within the humanitarian sector. The ultimate goal of the organisation was to uphold the rights and the dignity of crisis-affected populations across the world.

HAP International merged with People In Aid on 9 June 2015 to form the CHS Alliance. HAP International and People In Aid no longer exist.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Natural processes or phenomena or human activities that can cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Hazards have varied origins, and can arise from natural processes (geological, hydro meteorological and biological) and from human activities (environmental degradation and technological hazards). The term is used for both immediate hazard events as well as the latent hazard conditions that may cause future events. Actual hazard events can be characterized by magnitude or intensity, speed of onset, duration, and area of extent. For example, earthquakes occur rapidly and affect a relatively small area, whereas droughts are usually slow to develop and fade away but may affect large regions. In some cases hazards may be coupled, as in the flood that follows a hurricane or the tsunami that is created by an earthquake. Hazard risks may be described by the likely frequency of occurrence of different intensities for different areas, as determined from historical data or scientific analysis.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Hazard Mapping

The process of mapping hazard information within a study area of varying scale, coverage, and detail.

Mapping can be of a single hazard such as fault maps and flood plain maps or several hazard maps can be combined in a single map to give a composite picture of natural hazards.

The benefit of the individual mapping technique is a visual form of information for decision makers and planners, which is easily understood. Multiple hazard maps provide the possibility of common mitigation technique recommendations; sub-areas requiring more information, additional assessments, or specific hazard-reduction techniques can be identified; and land-use decisions can be based on all hazard considerations simultaneously.

The limitations of the technique are that the volume of information needed for natural hazards management, particularly in the context of integrated development planning, often exceeds the capacity of manual methods and thus drives the use of computer assisted techniques.

[Source: UN HABIAT via #ReliefWeb]


See Humanitarian Coordinator (HC).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Humanitarian Country Team (HCT).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Human Development Index (HDI).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Health (the Swiss perspective)

Access to reliable, basic healthcare is one of the most important requirements for human development. The promotion of health is also among the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition to access to healthcare, a person’s basic health also depends on good food, access to clean water, family planning, prevention and vaccination campaigns, etc. Basic health also requires a minimum level of education as well as information about the healthcare system. This is especially important for girls. The development of basic health is therefore associated with aspects such as gender and education.

Promoting health is an important concern for Swiss development cooperation. For one thing, activities are focussed on improving access to basic healthcare for poor and disadvantaged groups within society. At the same time, efforts are made to reform state healthcare systems so that they are more effective and better able to satisfy the needs of the population. The widespread fall in infant mortality, increased life expectancy and the decreasing rate of infection with life-threatening diseases show that health promotion activities in developing countries have been successful.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Heat Wave

Marked warming of the air, or the invasion of very warm air, over a large area; it usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. This is a rise of atmospheric average temperature well above the averages of a region, with effects on human populations, crops, properties and services.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV attacks and slowly destroys the immune system by entering and destroying the cells that control and support the immune response system. After a long period of infection, usually 3-7 years, enough of the immune system cells have been destroyed to lead to immune deficiency. The virus can therefore be present in the body for several years before symptoms appear. When a person is immuno deficient, the body has difficulty defending itself against many infections and certain cancers, known as “opportunistic infections”.

It is possible to monitor the development and degree of immuno deficiency, and while the impacts of the disease can be mitigated with proper treatment, there is no cure for AIDS once a person is infected with HIV.

There are three main ways in which HIV is transmitted among people:

  1. By sexual contact
  2. When infected blood is passed into the body (e.g., through blood transfusion or use of non-sterilized material)
  3. From an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding

[Source: World Bank via #ReliefWeb]

Host Communities

Communities that host large populations of refugees or internally displaced persons, typically in camps or integrated into households directly.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Humanitarian Programme Cycle.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Human Resources Development (HRD).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Human Development Index (HDI)

The Human Development Index (HDI) measures the quality of life and the level of development in a given country. Developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1990, the HDI takes three main factors into account: life expectancy, education and [adjusted real] income. Since it also includes social indicators, the HDI also provides a more accurate picture of a country’s state of development than what would normally be possible using the per capita income figure.

Swiss development cooperation focuses on developing countries whose HDI is particularly low. The index for 2009, which encompasses 182 countries, includes several countries at the lower end of the scale that are currently working with Switzerland: Chad (175), Burkina Faso (177), Mali (178) and Niger (182). Switzerland held the 13th position in 2010, while Norway held the 1st position.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Human Rights

Human rights are those to which all human beings are entitled, irrespective of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. The State may not grant or deny those rights, nor may an individual forgo them, either voluntarily or under duress. Human rights acknowledge the value and dignity of human personality. Development cooperation itself is also based on human rights.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

According to the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), all States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting consent of States which creates legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights norms enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations.

Human rights are inalienable. That is, they should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

Human rights are interdependent and indivisible. The idea of the indivisibility of human rights is a central one. The UDHR included both economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights because it was based on the principle that the different rights could only successfully exist in combination:

“The ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his social, economic and cultural rights.” [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, 1966]

This is held to be true because without civil and political rights the public cannot assert their economic, social and cultural rights. Similarly, without livelihoods and a working society, the public cannot assert or make use of civil or political rights (known as the “full belly thesis”). This truth can be more simply stated thus: “The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.” [OHCHR]

The indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights has been confirmed by the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action:

“All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and related. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis.” [Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, World Conference on Human Rights, 1993]

This statement was again endorsed at the 2005 World Summit in New York (paragraph 121).

The Wikipedia entry on Human Rights adds that “although accepted by the signatories to the UDHR, most do not in practice give equal weight to the different types of rights. Some Western cultures have often given priority to civil and political rights, sometimes at the expense of economic and social rights such as the right to work, to education, health and housing. Similarly the ex-Soviet bloc countries and Asian countries have tended to give priority to economic, social and cultural rights, but have often failed to provide civil and political rights.”

[Sources: (1) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); (2) Wikipedia]

All human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person. The concept of human rights acknowledges that every single human being is entitled to enjoy his or her human rights without distinction as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Human rights are legally guaranteed by human rights law, which is expressed in treaties, customary international law, bodies of principles and other sources of law. Human rights law places an obligation on States to act in a particular way and prohibits States from engaging in specified activities, thereby clarifying and protecting formally the rights of individuals and groups. It is noteworthy that human rights law applies in peace and in war. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) together with the 1966 International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) are known as the “International Bill of Rights”.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Human Rights Law

The body of customary international law, human rights instruments and national law that recognizes and protects human rights. Refugee law and human rights law complement each other.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Human Security

A concept concerned with the security of individuals and promoting the protection of individuals’ physical safety, economic and social well-being, human dignity, and human rights and fundamental freedoms. It reflects the growing recognition worldwide that concepts of security must include people as well as States.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Access

Where protection is not available from national authorities or controlling non-state actors, vulnerable populations have a right to receive international protection and assistance from an impartial humanitarian relief operation. Such action is subject to the consent of the State or parties concerned and does not prescribe coercive measures in the event of refusal, however unwarranted.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Action

Assistance, protection and advocacy actions undertaken on an impartial basis in response to human needs resulting from complex political emergencies and natural hazards.

[Source: ALNAP via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Aid

The main objective of humanitarian aid is to provide emergency relief in the aftermath of natural disasters and violent conflicts. Saving lives, securing drinking water supplies, building emergency shelters and administering medical treatment to victims are the most important humanitarian aid tasks. Unlike development cooperation, which is provided over a much longer term, humanitarian aid is mostly concerned with short-term priorities that need to be addressed right away. See also Limits of Humanitrian Aid.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]

Comment: The Swiss model for deploying humanitarian aid is instructive. It is operated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The SDC’s Humanitarian Aid Division and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) work closely together to provide humanitarian aid. The SHA is able to deploy experts in as little as a few hours after a crisis situation arises. In addition to emergency relief and reconstruction, other important humanitarian aid activities include early detection of risks and risk mitigation measures (prevention and preparedness). This may include such things as setting up early warning systems or training rescue workers in hazardous areas. Finally, humanitarian aid also involves advocacy on behalf of the victims of humanitarian crises.

[Source: Swiss FDFA and NKhumanitarian Editors]

Humanitarian Assistance

Aid that seeks, to save lives and alleviate suffering of a crisisaffected population. Humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the basic humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality, as stated in General Assembly Resolution 46/182. In addition, the UN seeks to provide humanitarian assistance with full respect for the sovereignty of States. Assistance may be divided into three categories – direct assistance, indirect assistance and infrastructure support – which have diminishing degrees of contact with the affected population.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Coordination

An approach based on the belief that a coherent response to an emergency will maximize its benefits and minimizes potential pitfalls. In each country, the coordination of UN humanitarian assistance is entrusted to the UN Resident (and Humanitarian) Coordinator (RC). OCHA, under the direction of the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), is responsible for the coordination of a humanitarian response in the event of a crisis and carries out this role according to approved policies and structures set by the IASC. This coordination involves developing common strategies with partners both within and outside the UN system, identifying overall humanitarian needs, developing a realistic plan of action, monitoring progress and adjusting programmes as necessary, convening coordination forums, mobilizing resources, addressing common problems to humanitarian actors, and administering coordination mechanisms and tools. It does not involve OCHA in the administration of humanitarian assistance.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Coordinator (HC)

In a country affected by a disaster or conflict, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) may appoint a Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) to ensure response efforts are well organized. The HC works with government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and affected communities. An OCHA office will be established to support the HC.

See also UN Resident Coordinator and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and OCHA web site]

Humanitarian Country Team (HCT)

The Humanitarian Country Team is a strategic and operational decision-making and oversight body established and led by the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) to lead and coordinate international humanitarian assistance in support of existing national efforts. It is not an inclusive forum but rather includes only operationally relevant agencies, be they UN agencies, funds and programmes, IOM, international and national NGOs, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. Some HCTs include donors. Agencies that are designated Cluster leads represent both their Cluster and their organization in the HCT.

The HCT is responsible for agreeing on common strategic issues related to humanitarian action. In the absence of a designated HC to lead the HCT, and in case of a humanitarian emergency, the Resident Coordinator (RC) is responsible for setting up and regularly convening an HCT, inclusive of all operationally relevant actors, including non-UN organizations.

See also UN Country Team (UNCT). The UNCT comprises all heads of UN agencies and IOM, whereas the HCT includes only relevant heads of UN agencies as well as non-UN humanitarian actors. The HCT addresses strategic issues of the wider humanitarian community whereas the UNCT focuses on UN concerns. The HCT and the UNCT coexist and do not replace each other.

In a humanitarian crisis the HCT is the lead strategic and operational decision making body, in close collaboration and consultation with the host government. In the event that a crisis occurs in a country without an HCT then one will be formed. Until it is formed the UNCT will coordinate with the host government.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and InterAction.

Humanitarian Engagement

The involvement of humanitarian agencies and organizations within a Complex Emergency to deliver protection, assistance and relief.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Information Centres (HIC)

A semi-permanent facility established by OCHA in cooperation with other agencies and NGOs during a Complex Emergency that serves as an information and data resource and provides infrastructure and professional services to humanitarian organizations as they implement relief and rehabilitation projects.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Intervention

While there is no agreed upon international definition of “humanitarian intervention” yet, it is a doctrine generally understood to mean coercive action by States involving the use of armed force in another State without the consent of its government, with or without authorization from the UN Security Council, for the purpose of preventing or putting to a halt gross and massive violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The UN’s operations in Northern Iraq and Somalia, and NATO’s operation in Kosovo have all been termed humanitarian intervention.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Operations

Operations conducted to relieve human suffering, especially in circumstances where responsible authorities in the area are unable or unwilling to provide adequate service support to civilian populations.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Operating Environment

A key element for humanitarian agencies and organizations when they deploy, consists of establishing and maintaining a conducive humanitarian operating environment, sometimes referred to as “humanitarian space”. The perception of adherence to the key operating principles of neutrality and impartiality in humanitarian operations represents the critical means by which the prime objective of ensuring that suffering must be met wherever it is found, can be achieved. Consequently, maintaining a clear distinction between the role and function of humanitarian actors from that of the military is the determining factor in creating an operating environment in which humanitarian organisations can discharge their responsibilities both effectively and safely. Sustained humanitarian access to the affected population is ensured when the receipt of humanitarian assistance is not conditional upon the allegiance to or support to parties involved in a conflict but is a right independent of military and political action.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Principles

As per UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182 (19 December 1991), humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. Adherence to these principles reflects a measure of accountability of the humanitarian community.

  • Humanity: Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found, with particular attention to the most vulnerable in the population, such as children, women and the elderly. The dignity and rights of all victims must be respected and protected.
  • Neutrality: Humanitarian assistance must be provided without engaging in hostilities or taking sides in controversies of a political, religious or ideological nature.
  • Impartiality: Humanitarian assistance must be provided without discriminating as to ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political opinions, race or religion. Relief of the suffering must be guided solely by needs and priority must be given to the most urgent cases of distress.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC)

The humanitarian programme cycle (HPC) is a coordinated series of actions undertaken to help prepare for, manage and deliver humanitarian response. It consists of five elements coordinated in a seamless manner, with one step logically building on the previous and leading to the next. Successful implementation of the humanitarian programme cycle is dependent on effective emergency preparedness, effective coordination with national/local authorities and humanitarian actors, and information management.

The HPC elements are as follows:

  • needs assessment and analysis
  • strategic response planning
  • resource mobilization
  • implementation and monitoring
  • operational review and evaluation.

The HPC replaces the consolidated appeal process (CAP). For protracted crises, most of the above elements of the new HPC formed part of the CAP. However it seems that the CAP process and its supporting documentation was found to be too time-consuming and demanding to implement in practice because of its attempt to include all the programme cycle elements. So, for example, the mid-year reviews of the CAP will be replaced by more regular, less labour-intensive response monitoring based on an agreed IASC framework.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and UN OCHA’s HumanitarianResponse.info web site]

Humanitarian Reform

The Humanitarian Reform aims to dramatically enhance humanitarian response capacity, predictability, accountability and partnership. It represents an ambitious effort by the international humanitarian community to reach more beneficiaries, with more comprehensive, needs-based relief and protection, in a more effective and timely manner.

The reform has four main objectives:

  1. Sufficient humanitarian response capacity and enhanced leadership, accountability and predictability in “gap” sector/areas of response (ensuring trained staff, adequate commonly-accessible stockpiles, surge capacity, agreed standards and guidelines).
  2. Adequate, timely and flexible humanitarian financing (including through the Central Emergency Response Fund).
  3. Improved humanitarian coordination and leadership (more effective Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) system, more strategic leadership and coordination at the intersectoral and sectoral levels).
  4. More effective partnerships between UN and non-UN humanitarian actors.

[Source: HR via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Response Network of Canada

Formerly known as PAGER, the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada “is an informal, flexible and responsive forum of operational Canadian humanitarian agencies whose mandate involves re sponding to humanitarian emergencies worldwide. It was created to promote greater information-sharing and coordination between agencies concerned with humanitarian action”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

Humanitarian, United Nations & Associated Personnel

Includes the following groups of persons whose safety and security must be ensured during Complex Emergencies: Persons deployed by a humanitarian non-governmental organization or agency under an agreement with the UN Secretary-General to carry out activities in support of the fulfilment of the mandate of a UN operation; Persons engaged or deployed by the UN Secretary-General, whether as humanitarian personnel, members of the military, police or civilian components of a UN operation, or experts on mission; and Persons assigned by a Government or an intergovernmental organization with the agreement of the competent UN organ.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Humanitarian Worker

Includes all workers engaged by humanitarian agencies, whether internationally or nationally recruited, or formally or informally retained from the beneficiary community, to conduct the activities of that agency.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Hydrometeorological Hazards

Natural processes or phenomena of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Hydrometeorological hazards include: floods, debris and mud flows; tropical cyclones, rain and wind storms, sand or dust storms, thunder and hailstorms, blizzards, and other severe storms; storm surges, drought, desertification, wildland fires, temperature extremes, permafrost and snow or ice avalanches.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]



International Aid Cooperating Partners Group. The Irish based international charity Concern is an example of an aid organisation which operates in the DPRK within such a group.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The World Agroforestry Centre. ICRAF’s headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya, with five regional offices located in Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Peru.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The International Committee of the Red Cross. See also The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 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.

“During situations of conflict, the ICRC is responsible for directing and coordinating the Movement’s international relief activities. It also promotes the importance of international humanitarian law and draws attention to universal humanitarian principles.

“As the custodian of the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC has a permanent mandate under international law to visit prisons, organize relief operations, reunite separated families and undertake other humanitarian activities during armed conflicts.

“The ICRC also works to meet the needs of internally displaced persons, raise public awareness of the dangers of mines and explosive remnants of war and trace people who have gone missing during conflicts.

“The ICRC’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, and the organization has more than 12,000 staff in 80 countries around the globe. About 30 per cent of the ICRC’s operational activities are carried out in cooperation with National Societies.”

[Source: www.ifrc.org]


Information and Communication Technology. Information and communications technology – or technologies – is often used as an extended synonym for information technology (IT). However it is a more specific term that stresses the integration of all types of communication devices with computers and the necessary enterprise/middleware software, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information. The importance of ICTs lies less in the technology itself than in its ability to create greater access to information and communication so as to contribute to the development of a more sustainable world.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See International Council of Voluntary Agencies.

$1tyle=”text-align:left;”>[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See International Development Goals.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Information, education and communication materials. An operational definition of “IEC” refers to a public health approach aiming at changing or reinforcing health-related behaviours in a target audience, concerning a specific problem and within a pre-defined period of time, through communication methods and principles.

Thus when countries develop posters, flyers, leaflets, brochures, booklets, messages for health education sessions, radio broadcast or TV spots, etc. as a means of promoting desired, positive behaviours in the community, either as part of a communication plan within a comprehensive strategy or as isolated actions, these initiatives are commonly referred to broadly as “Information, education and communication (IEC)” activities.

[Source: WHO]

IEH project

Integrated environmental health project. IEH is an acronym used in the context of the DPRK. An example of a typical IEH Project is one being carried out by Save the Children International (EUPS Unit 2). This IEH Project consists of five main components:

  1. provision of clean water to households and in key community facilities;
  2. provision of hygienic sanitation and solid waste management and the promotion of twin-pit VIP latrines through a community partnership approach;
  3. rehabilitation of community health facilities and provision of equipment;
  4. local capacity building through the training of village technicians and the formation of mothers groups with training in health promotion;
  5. training for health staff in partnership with the Medical Science Information Centre (MSIC), affiliated with the Ministry of Health with a focus on essential maternal and newborn care.

Approximately 49,000 households have been connected to improved water supply systems and hygiene education conducted among the communities.

[Source: UN list of non-UN actors operating in the DPRK.]


See International Financial Institutions.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. See also The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network. It reaches more than 150 million people in 189 National Societies through the work of over 17 million volunteers. It has its headquarters in Geneva and sends a delegation to the United Nations in New York. It was founded in 1919 in Paris in the aftermath of World War I. The war had shown a need for close cooperation between Red Cross Societies which had carried out humanitarian activities on behalf of prisoners of war and combatants.

“The IFRC is now a global humanitarian organization, which coordinates and directs international assistance following natural and man-made disasters in non-conflict situations. Its mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.

“The IFRC works with National Societies in responding to catastrophes around the world. Its relief operations are combined with development work, including disaster preparedness programmes, health and care activities, and the promotion of humanitarian values.

“In particular, it supports programmes on risk reduction and fighting the spread of diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis, avian influenza and malaria. The organization also works to combat discrimination and violence, and promote human rights and assistance for migrants.

“The strategic aims of the IFRC are:

  • Save lives, protect livelihoods, and strengthen recovery from disasters and crises
  • Enable healthy and safe living
  • Promote social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace”

[Source: www.ifrc.org]


See International Labour Organization.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


An approach to the provision of humanitarian assistance and services that is non-discriminatory, proportionate to needs and free of subjective distinction. Impartiality is a guiding principle of organisations claiming to be humanitarian (ALNAP). Impunity: The impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of human rights violations to account – whether in criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings – since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, prosecuted and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims. [See ‘Accountability‘]

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A variable scale on which it is possible to objectively measure different points and that corresponds to, or correlates closely with, variations in the conditions of the refugees and persons of concern.

Indicators are the quantitative or qualitative parameters (or yardsticks or measures) that determine, over time, performance of functions, processes, and outcomes, which imply that certain conditions exist.

An indicator provides or “indicates” the prevailing circumstances at a given place at a given time or during a time interval. It is a tool by which we can measure the conditions in refugee or IDP situations and measure our progress within them. It is usually, but not always, a number or percentage that can be used to extrapolate multiple things. For example, an indicator that tracks how many girls are in school might be used in assessing the future earning potential of a population, women’s literacy rates, women’s rights and women’s health issues. Indicators are selected (since we can’t measure everything) on the basis of how useful they are, their relevance to planned objectives and their measurability.

[Source: UNHCR Technical Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Information Management (IM)

The sum of all activities, collection, processing, organization and dissemination of information in order to help humanitarian actors achieve their goals in an effective and timely manner. Goals can include improved coordination, early warning, advocacy or transition.

[Source: Global Symposium +5 via #ReliefWeb]


See International Non-Governmental Organization.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

INGOs and the DPRK

INGOs have not been officially recognised within the DPPK since 2006. Although a number of INGOs are still resident there, they are only officially recognised by their locally assigned identity. For example, Save the Children International is known locally as EUPS Unit 2 and Concern is known as EUPS Unit 3. All European Union based INGOs that operate in the DPRK are supervised by a North Korean government body, KECCA, the Korean Europe Cooperation Coordination Agency. It is KECCA which allocates these local names – see EUPS for a list of these.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

In-Kind Contributions

Non-cash assistance in materials or services (e.g. food, tents, secondment of staff.)

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]

Insect Infestation

Spreading or swarming of various kinds of insects over or in a troublesome manner. Proliferation of insects or animal pests affecting communities, agriculture, cattle or stored perishable goods; for example locusts, African bees, etc.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Integrated Approach

A planning approach that brings together issues from across sectors, institutions on national and local levels, and different population groups.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI)

Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) is an integrated approach to child health that focuses on the well-being of the whole child. It was developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.It is designed to address the challenges of the basic level of medical education and experience of health workers, and the lack of diagnostic support and drugs, at first-level health facilities in low-income countries. These result in many sick children not being properly assessed and treated by these health care providers, and that their parents are poorly advised.

“IMCI aims to reduce death, illness and disability, and to promote improved growth and development among children under five years of age. IMCI includes both preventive and curative elements that are implemented by families and communities as well as by health facilities.

“The strategy includes three main components:

  • Improving case management skills of health-care staff
  • Improving overall health systems
  • Improving family and community health practices

“In health facilities, the IMCI strategy promotes the accurate identification of childhood illnesses in outpatient settings, ensures appropriate combined treatment of all major illnesses, strengthens the counselling of caretakers, and speeds up the referral of severely ill children. In the home setting, it promotes appropriate care seeking behaviours, improved nutrition and preventative care, and the correct implementation of prescribed care.”

[Source: WHO]


InterAction “is a network of US-based international NGOs active in relief and development programmes around the world. Members work to increase US development assistance and improve its effectiveness and to promote US support for the Millennium Development Goals”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is the UN’s primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance.

The IASC was established in June of 1992 in response to General Assembly Resolution 46/182 to serve as the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance in response to complex and major emergencies. The IASC is chaired by the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) and has the membership of all UN operational humanitarian agencies, with standing invitation to ICRC, IFRC, IOM, UNHCHR, the Representative of the Secretary-General on IDPs, the World Bank and the three NGO consortia (ICVA, InterAction and SCHR). The IASC meets at least twice a year to deliberate on issues brought to its attention by the ERC and the IASC Working Group (IASCWG), which is formed by senior representatives of the same agencies and meets four to six times a year. The primary objectives of the IASC are:

  • to develop and agree on system-wide humanitarian policies;
  • to develop and agree on a common ethical framework for all humanitarian activities;
  • to advocate common humanitarian principles to parties outside the IASC;
  • to identify areas where gaps in mandates or lack of operational capacity exist; and
  • to resolve disputes or disagreement about and between humanitarian agencies on system wide humanitarian issues.

One of the roles of the IASC is to designate clusters of cooperating groups of humanitarian organizations, both UN and non-UN, in each of the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. water, health and logistics as part of the Cluster Approach response to humanitarian emergencies.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Intergovernmental Organization (IGO)

An organization made up of State members. Examples include the United Nations Organization (UN), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Internal Displacement

Involuntary movement of people inside their own country. This movement may be due to a variety of causes, including natural or human-made disasters, armed conflict, or situations of generalized violence.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to leave their homes or habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border. A series of 30 non-binding “Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement” based on refugee law, human rights law and international humanitarian law articulate standards for protection, assistance and solutions for internally displaced persons.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)

The International Council of Voluntary Agencies “is a global network of NGOs that advocates for effective humanitarian action. It brings the experience and views of over 70 national and international NGOs to international policy-making forums and provides its members with up-to-date information and analyses on humanitarian policy developments”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

International Criminal Court (ICC)

A permanent court with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of the most serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Unlike the International Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction is restricted to states, the ICC considers criminal cases against individuals; and unlike the Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia created to address crimes committed during these conflicts, its jurisdiction is not situation-specific and is not retroactive. The ICC has been established by the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002, and is located in the Hague, Netherlands.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

International Development Goals (IDGs)

These are international goals of development which the international community aims to achieve by the year 2015. These goals are acknowledged by important actors (G-8, UN, World Bank, etc.) and are the same whether they are referred to as IDGs or Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They are concerned with the following issues:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)


[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Financial Institutions (IFIs)

International financial institutions (IFIs) are institutions that provide financial support and professional advice to developing and emerging countries. Their financial resources and expertise enable them to conduct highly complex, large-scale projects and reform initiatives. IFIs are also able to provide loans on favourable terms to developing countries experiencing economic hardship. In addition, they grant loans on preferential terms to the poorest countries. In cases where support is tied to structural changes of an economic or institutional nature (such as the opening up of local markets, good governance etc.), IFIs are able to shape policies in loan recipient countries. It is this influence that makes IFIs the target of recurring public criticism.

The most important IFIs are the World Bank Group and four regional development banks (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank). These IFIs are collectively referred to as multilateral development banks. Another major IFI is the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The World Bank Group extends around CHF 25 to 30 billion in loans each year. Switzerland provides both specialised knowledge and cash contributions to IFIs and holds a seat on their steering bodies. It also contributes funding for loans to the poorest countries.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

A body of rules that seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare by prohibiting weapons that make no distinction between combatants and civilians or weapons and methods of warfare which cause unnecessary injury, suffering and/or damage. The rules are to be observed not only by governments and their armed forces, but also by armed opposition groups and any other parties to a conflict. The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977 are the principal instruments of humanitarian law. It does not regulate resort to the use of force; this is governed by an important, but distinct, part of international law set out in the UN Charter.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: International humanitarian law ‐ also known as the Law of Armed Conflict or the Law of War (ius in bello) ‐ applies only to international and non-international armed conflicts and has a two-fold purpose: to regulate the conduct of hostilities and to protect victims of armed conflicts. Yet it does not answer the question of whether or not a particular war is lawful (ius ad bellum). This is dealt with by the Charter of the United Nations (UN). International humanitarian law applies to all types of armed conflicts, whether lawful or not, and must be respected by all parties to the conflict.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in full]

Comment: Referred to as its applicability, International humanitarian law takes effect from the beginning of an armed conflict and remains in force until the general close of military operations or end of occupation. Certain provisions remain in force for as long as de facto situation continues. Thus, for example, the Third Geneva Convention protects prisoners of war even after hostilities end.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The main aims of the International Labour Organization “are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues”.

[Source: www.ilo.org]

International Law

A body of laws regulating relations between States.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

International Medical Corps (member of InterAction)

International Medical Corps “is a global, humanitarian, non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programmes. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO).

The following definition of an INGO and related information is courtesy of Wikipedia:

“The World Bank defines a non-governmental organization (NGO) as ‘private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development’. An international non-governmental organization (INGO) has the same mission as a non-governmental organization (NGO), but it is international in scope and has outposts around the world to deal with specific issues in many countries.

“Both terms, NGO and INGO, should be differentiated from intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), which describes groups such as the United Nations or the International Labour Organization. An INGO may be founded by private philanthropy, such as the Carnegie, Rockefeller, Gates and Ford Foundations, or as an adjunct to existing international organizations, such as the Catholic or Lutheran churches. A surge in the founding of development INGOs occurred during World War II, some of which would later become the large development INGOs like Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, CARE International, and Lutheran World Relief.

“International Non-governmental Organizations can further be defined by their primary purpose. Some INGOs are operational, meaning that their primary purpose is to foster the community based organizations within each country via different projects and operations. Some INGOs are advocacy-based, meaning that their primary purpose is to influence the policy-making of different countries’ governments regarding certain issues or promote the awareness of a certain issue. Many of the large INGOs have components of both operational projects and advocacy initiatives working together within individual countries.” See also NGO.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The International Organization for Migration was Established in 1951 and “is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners”.

IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:

  • Migration and development;
  • Facilitating migration;
  • Regulating migration;
  • Forced migration.

The IOM is not part of the United Nations nor is the UN a member of the IOM. However the UN has observer status. The IOM currently counts 157 member states. A further 10 states hold observer status, as do numerous international and nongovernmental organizations. Among the international and intergovernmental organisations with observer status are more than 25 organs and organisations of the United Nations System.

[Source: www.iom.int]

Comment: The IOM has published eight World Migration Reports since 2000. The latest is World Migration Report 2015. These IOM reports are not to be confused with the quite separate International Migration Reports prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat which presents information on international migration levels and policies as well as other related indicators for major areas, regions and countries of the world for the UN.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

International Protection

The actions by the international community on the basis of international law, aimed at protecting the fundamental rights of a specific category of persons outside their countries of origin, who lack the national protection of their own countries.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

International Refugee Law

The body of customary international law and international instruments that establishes standards for refugee protection. The cornerstone of refugee law is the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


“[A] move by a state or an international organisation to involve itself in the domestic affairs of another state, whether the state consents or not.” (Hoffman, 1993:88). Intervention can include: i) preventive interventions before the outbreak of a conflict; ii) curative intervention that aims at the solution, limitation, control or regulation of an existing conflict; iii) de-escalating intervention that aims at reducing tension and must be based on insight into the factors and mechanisms that led to escalation; and iv) escalating interventions, it can be in the interest of a permanent conflict resolution to escalate a ‘cold’ conflict (one in which the parties avoid both contact and confrontation). (Glasl, 1997:148-149). An emerging global consensus about the permissibility of multilateral coercive actions covers the following situations: i) “[t]o prevent and punish aggression by one state against another; ii) in a civil war, to reimpose peace terms on one party that has reneged, provided their terms had originally resulted from UN peacemaking; iii) to enforce violations of international agreements banning the possession, manufacture, or trade of weapons of mass destruction; iv) to enforce agreements banning or limiting trade in conventional arms, including trade in dual-use and forbidden technologies; v) to prevent an event certified by experts as an immediate impending ecological catastrophe; vi) to prevent genocide; vii) to protect an established democratic polity from antidemocratic armed challenges, but not to protect a dubious or fictitious one; and viii) to prevent and alleviate famine and mass epidemics”. (Ernst B. Haas 1993:81).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]


See International Organization for Migration.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Information Technology. It refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. See also ICT.

[Source: TechNet.com]


Improved Urban and Rural Food Security and Health. This is an acronym used in Concern’s 2014 Programme Plan for the DPRK. This programme includes three Food, Income and Market (FIM) projects:

  • Improved Urban and Rural Food Security and Health (IURFSH)
  • Multi-Sector Nutrition & Food Security (MSNFS)
  • Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Food Security in Agro-climatic Zones

The first two FIM projects are funded by the EU. The third is Irish Aid funded.

[Source: concern.net.]


Joint Programming

The process through which the UN country team and national partners work together to prepare, implement, monitor and evaluate the UN’s contribution to most effectively and efficiently achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other international commitments related to the government’s national development targets.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]



Korean Europe Cooperation Coordination Agency. A DPRK Government agency that works under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to monitor the work of INGOs in the DPRK. The North Korean government no longer officially recognises INGOs and instead they are identified by a local name determined by KECCA. In the case of INGOs based in the European Community (EU), KECCA has allocated the names in the range EUPS Unit 1 to EUPS Unit 7 to the six remaining EU INGOs resident in the DPRK. See the EUPS glossary entry for a list of these.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]



The usually rapid downward movement of a mass of rock, earth, or artificial fill on a slope. Under this denomination fall all mass movements other than Mud Slide and Avalanche.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Last Resort

The principle that military force should only be relied upon once all viable nonmilitary options for the prevention or peaceful resolution of a crisis have been reasonably exhausted, including negotiation, arbitration, appeal to international institutions, and economic sanctions.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Lesson Learned

Conclusions that can be generalised beyond the specific case. This could include lessons that are of relevance more broadly within the country situation, or globally, to an organisation or the broader international community.

[Source: ANAP via #ReliefWeb]


The public facilities and systems that provide basic life support services such as water, energy, sanitation, communications and transportation.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Limits of Humanitarian Aid

The main objective of humanitarian aid is to provide emergency relief in the aftermath of natural disasters and violent conflicts. Saving lives, securing drinking water supplies, building emergency shelters and administering medical treatment to victims are the most important humanitarian aid tasks. Unlike development cooperation, which is provided over a much longer term, humanitarian aid is mostly concerned with short-term priorities that need to be addressed right away.

In government policy terms, however, many countries blur that distinction and there have been calls in the past to apply a more restrictive interpretation of humanitarian aid; see, for example, Humanitarian aid: redefining the limits published in 1998.

Among the issues to be considered are:

  • should humanitarian aid include development aid (“rehabilitation”);
  • avoiding the negative side-effects of humanitarian aid such as prolonging conflicts;
  • ensuring the neutrality of humanitarian interventions.

This last point is often problematic since in many crisis/conflicts there is also a need for some form of advocacy to be occurring at the same time. The 1998 report cited above concluded that it was important to distinguish between longer-term development aid (for rebuilding, etc) and humanitarian aid supplied in a conflict. It also called for a clear line to be drawn between providing aid on the one hand and engaging in political activities on the other. Emergency humanitarian aid should not commingle with preventive action in the conflict nor with activities which are intended to bring about a solution to the conflict.

When governments provide humanitarian aid, however, politics is always part of the complex agenda in operation. For example, in 1999 the Netherlands government disagreed with aspects of the above report by advocating for a more flexible, wide-ranging and integrated approach of humanitarian aid to include elements of more structural rehabilitation as well as elements of conflict prevention, reconciliation and reconstruction. The governments reaction to the report was in part because of increased donor attention on the post-conflict area of Bosnia/Kosovo in which the Dutch peacekeeping role in 1995 had been much criticised.

The politics of humanitarian aid and the DPRK is also a complex matter. In a recent statement (February 2015), a spokesman for the U.S. government explained some of the difficulties that country has in supporting humanitarian aid programs in the DPRK.

Aside from politics and policy, there are operational issues that can impose limits on the ability to provide humanitarian aid. These include:

  • the level of violence against aid organisation staff;
  • lack of respect from authorities for humanitarian action.

In extreme case this can lead to aid organisations in conflict areas being “confronted with extreme attacks on [their] staff in an environment where armed groups and civilian leaders increasingly support, tolerate, or condone the killing, assaulting, and abducting of humanitarian aid workers”. In such circumstances aid organisations have no choice but to withdraw.

This situation is best exemplified by a blog post from Unni Karunakara and Jean-Christophe Dollé who describe the challenges faced by Médecins Sans Frontières’ TB programme as the organisation withdrew from Somalia in response to increasing violence.

They describbe how on “August 14th 2013, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) took one of the most difficult decisions in [its] history and closed all of [its] medical humanitarian aid operations in Somalia after more than 22 years of assisting people who have suffered decades of war, epidemics, man-made and natural disasters”.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Livelihoods comprise the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living linked to survival and future well-being. Livelihood strategies are the practical means or activities through which people access food or income to buy food, while coping strategies are temporary responses to food insecurity.

Comment by NKhumanitarian Editors: The term “livelihood” could be summarised as the overall living conditions of individuals.

[Source: Sphere via #ReliefWeb]

Livelihood Approach

Livelihood refers to the overall living conditions of individuals. In the context of development cooperation, the livelihood approach involves a comprehensive analysis of the living conditions of poor population segments. Bundled measures such as the promotion of agriculture, health and education are used to improve these conditions. These bundled measures vary according to the region and population group involved.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Local Integration

A durable solution to the problem of refugees that involves their permanent settlement in a country of first asylum, and eventually being granted nationality of that country. Local integration is a complex and gradual process, comprising three distinct but inter-related legal, economic, and social and cultural dimensions.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Locust Control

The use of monitoring techniques and remedial actions to control locust infestations.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


The range of operational activities concerned with supply, handling, transportation and distribution of materials. Also applicable to the transportation of people.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development. Relates to measures designed to fill the gap that exists between relief (short-term) and development aid (long-term) and to provide a broader view of the problems involved in assisting the Third World, taking account of the various types of crises, other actors on the international stage and the risk of structural dependence.

Lutheran World Federation

The Lutheran World Federation “is a global communion of Christian churches. Its relief and development arm, the Department for World Service, strives to link emergency intervention, disaster preparedness, reconstruction and development through an empowering, rights-based and integrated approach. DanChurchAid is one of the major Danish humanitarian NGOs working with local partners, international networks, churches and non-religious civil organizations to assist the poorest of the poor. It is a faith-based and ecumenical, non-missionary organization rooted in the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


Main Shock

The biggest of a particular sequence of earthquakes.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Malnutrition encompasses a range of conditions, including acute malnutrition, chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Acute malnutrition refers to wasting (thinness) and/or nutritional oedema, while chronic malnutrition refers to stunting (shortness). Stunting and wasting are two forms of growth failure.

[Source: Sphere via #ReliefWeb]


The legal framework that defines the responsibilities of UN Agencies, peacekeeping operations and other international organisations such as the International Committee for the Red Cross.

  • The mandates of UN Agencies, such as UNICEF and UNHCR, are agreed upon by the General Assembly. It is imperative that Agencies have clear and adequate mandates to ensure that all humanitarian issues are addressed appropriately and consistently. The protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is one issue that does not fall squarely within any Agency’s mandate. Until such time, it is OCHA’s responsibility through the IDP Unit to collaborate with Agencies to ensure that IDP interests are protected.
  • Peacekeeping Mission mandates are agreed upon by the Security Council. It is imperative that an authorized UN Force is sufficiently large, well equipped and appropriately empowered with matching resources for the situation called for on the ground.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Millennium Development Goals.


A process in which a third-party neutral acts as a facilitator to assist in resolving a dispute between two or more parties in an armed conflict. It is a non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution, where the parties generally communicate directly; the role of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the parties, assist them in focusing on the real issues of the dispute, and generate options for settlement.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, is a humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was founded in 1971 in France by a group of doctors and journalists in the wake of war and famine in Biafra. Their aim was to establish an independent organisation that focuses on delivering emergency medicine aid quickly, effectively and impartially. Three hundred volunteers made up the organisation when it was founded: doctors, nurses and other staff, including the 13 founding doctors and journalists.

MSF was created in the belief that all people should have access to healthcare regardless of gender, race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that people’s medical needs outweigh respect for national boundaries. MSF’s principles of action are described in its charter, which established a framework for its activities.

Médecins Sans Frontières is now a worldwide, movement of current and former field staff, grouped into national and regional associations. Currently, there are 23 associations. All are independent legal entities, and each elects its own board of directors and president. Most associations have an executive office that raises funds and recruits staff for MSF’s operations.

Each association is attached to one of the five MSF operational centres (OC). These are the offices which decide when, where and what medical care is needed. These centres are based in:

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Paris, France
  • Amsterdam, Holland
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Geneva, Switzerland.

The OCs can act independently but all layers of MSF interconnect and work together in an associative structure. All 23 MSF associations, as well as individuals and the International President, are members of MSF International, the association that safeguards the identity of the MSF Movement. Common policies on core issues are coordinated by the International Council, in which each of the 23 associations (national offices) is represented. The International Council meets in Geneva, Switzerland, where the International Office, which coordinates international activities common to the operational centres, is also based.

The highest authority of MSF International, the annual MSF International General Assembly (IGA), is made up of representatives of each association as well as of the individual membership, and the International President. The International President is elected by the IGA. Each representative, and the International President, has one independent vote on issues brought to the assembly for decision.

The IGA is responsible for safeguarding MSF’s medical humanitarian mission, and provides strategic orientation to all MSF entities. It delegates duties to the International Board, and holds the board accountable for those tasks. The International Board is made up of representatives of the operational directorates as well as a group elected by the IGA, and is chaired by the International President.

The organisation is known in most of the world by its localised name or simply as MSF; in North America the name Doctors Without Borders is commonly used. In 2015 over 30,000, mostly local, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators provided medical aid in over 70 countries.

Private donors provide about 90% of the organization’s funding, while governmental and corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$610 million (according to its Wikipedia entry in 2015). This donor profile is a vital part of the MSF movement. With such a large proportion of its income being provided by individual donations, and not from governments or corporations, MSF is able to stay independent, neutral and impartial thus enabling it to access those in greatest need quickly.

Comment: The origins of MSF date to before its formal founding in 1971 and are rooted in the upheaval of the May 1968 student revolt in Paris. It was then that the group of young and idealistic French doctors and journalists decided to go and help victims of wars and major disasters. According to MSF’s history, this “new brand of humanitarianism, which ultimately became Médecins Sans Frontières, would reinvent the concept of emergency aid”.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, Wikipedia and www.msf.org]


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Microfinance is a collective term to describe financial services that are mainly used by the poor. These include microloans, savings accounts, insurance policies and money transfers. The most familiar vehicle in this regard is the microcredit (small loan). Microcredits enable people, who lack the collateral needed to qualify for credit by conventional banks, to gain access to financing. Microcredits are granted to individuals and groups who use them to lease land, purchase seed or set up a small business. Microfinance is a cost-effective and market-based method of poverty reduction, which has been implemented in many countries in Asia and Latin America. Thanks to new methods and technologies (such as bank transfers via cell phones), microfinance services can be offered at favourable rates in rural areas.

Comment: In many partner countries, Swiss development cooperation provides advice and start-up funding to microfinance institutions.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


Migration is the term used to refer to the movement of people. Over the past two decades, disparities in income between different countries, rapid population growth in poor countries, converging labour markets and unrelenting global demand for cheap labour have led to increased migration between developing countries, as well as between developing countries and industrialised countries. While this has certainly caused problems, it has also created development policy opportunities. One example of this are remittances, which are money transfers that migrants make to their home countries. At present, remittances are now more than twice the total volume of official development assistance. Development planners now need to find ways in which legal and social measures can be used to capitalise on the potential of migration (i.e. to foster development in the migrants’ home countries) and minimise the negative consequences of migration (e.g. the loss of highly qualified workers in the home country).

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Military Assistance

The use of military forces in humanitarian assistance missions during Complex Emergencies. Such assistance may take the form of military protection of humanitarian aid delivery, monitoring demobilization programs, providing logistics, arresting war criminals and protecting civilians. Military and Civil Defence Assets (MCDA): As defined in the 1994 “Oslo Guidelines”, “comprises relief personnel, equipment, supplies and services provided by foreign military and civil defence organizations for international humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, civil defence organization means any organization that, under the control of a Government, performs the functions enumerated in Article 61, paragraph (1), of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949”. When these assets are under UN control they are referred to as UN MCDA.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Millennium Declaration

A resolution adopted unanimously by the General Assembly following the UN Millennium Summit on 8 September 2000 that embodies a large number of specific commitments aimed at improving the fate of humanity in the 21st century. The key objectives identified in the Declaration are: Peace, security and disarmament; Development and poverty eradication; Protecting our common environment; Human rights, democracy and good governance; Protecting the vulnerable; Meeting the special needs of Africa; and Strengthening the United Nations.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

In order to halve extreme poverty by 2015, the international community has agreed to a set of common development goals for the first time. The United Nations’ Millennium Declaration of 18 September 2000 covers four areas:

  • Peace, security and disarmament
  • Development and poverty eradication
  • Protecting our common environment
  • Human rights, democracy and good governance

The eight development policy objectives reflect the resolutions made at global summits held in the 1990s and apply to both developing and industrialised countries in equal measure.

  1. End poverty and hunger: the number of people living on less than 1 US dollar a day must be reduced by half by 2015.
  2. Universal education: all children should be able to complete a full course of primary schooling (education).
  3. Gender equality: gender disparity, particularly in primary and secondary education, should be eliminated (gender).
  4. Child health: the under-five mortality rate must be reduced by two-thirds.
  5. Maternal health: the maternal mortality rate must be reduced by three-fourths.
  6. Communicable diseases: the spread of AIDS, HIV infections, malaria and other major diseases must be halted and eventually reversed (health).
  7. Environmental sustainability: access to drinking water must be improved and measures taken to halt the spread of shantytowns around urban areas. Renewable energies should increasingly be put to use to serve the poor.
  8. Global partnership: a global development partnership between industrialised and developing countries should be established.

Each year, the UN and the World Bank publish reports showing the amount of progress being made towards achievement of the MDGs. Progress differs considerably in the various impoverished regions of the world. Populous countries, such as China and India, have made considerable progress, while the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have found it more difficult to make any progress at all.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: The eight MDGs are also called International Development Goals or (IDGs).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


A munition designed to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface areas and to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person or vehicle. It may include ‘anti-personnel landmines’ and ‘mines other than anti-personnel landmines’.

  • Anti-Personnel Landmines (APM): A device primarily designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons. APM are indiscriminate in terms of target and time, as they continue to kill and maim people long after a conflict has ended.
  • Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Landmines (MOTAPM): Unlike APM, MOTAPM are designed to be triggered by the contact with or the proximity of a vehicle and to destroy vehicles and tanks. Like APM, MOTAPM retain their ability to function even years after they have been placed.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Mine Action

Refers to all activities that aim to reduce the social, economic, and environmental impact on populations of landmines and other unexploded ordnance. The objectives of mine action are to reduce the risk from landmines and UXOs to a level where people can live safely; in which social, economic, health, environmental and development can occur free from the constraints of landmines; and in which the victim’s need could be addressed UN mine action encompasses five complementary core components:

  • mine awareness and risk reduction education;
  • minefield survey, mapping, marking, and clearance;
  • victim assistance, including rehabilitation and reintegration;
  • stockpile destruction; and
  • advocacy to stigmatise the use of landmines and support a total ban on antipersonnel landmines.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Minimum Necessary Force

The measured and proportionate application of coercion or violence, sufficient only to achieve a specific objective and confined in effect to the specific and legitimate target intended. [See ‘Proportional Means’]

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Management Information System or Management Information Services. A management information system broadly refers to a computer-based system that provides managers with the tools to organize, evaluate and efficiently manage departments within an organization. In order to provide past, present and prediction information, a management information system can include software that helps in decision making, data resources such as databases, the hardware resources of a system, decision support systems, people management and project management applications, and any computerized processes that enable the department to run efficiently.

[Source: webopedia.com]


Measures taken in advance of a disaster aimed at decreasing or eliminating its impact on society and environment.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Ministry of City Management. The DPRK government ministry with which INGOs liaise for technical infrastructure works. See Cabinet of North Korea

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection (DPRK). See Cabinet of North Korea

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


System that permits the continuous observation, measurement and a valuation of the progress of a process or phenomenon with a view to taking corrective measures.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Seasonally heavy rains and wind the direction of which varies from one season to another. They occur particularly in the Indian Ocean and South Asian areas.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Ministry of Public Health (DPRK). The DPRK government ministry with which INGOs liaise for water quality management and WASH. See Cabinet of North Korea

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Médecins Sans Frontières.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Micro Small and Medium sized Enterprise. A variant of a Small and Medium sized Enterprise.


Multi-sector Nutrition and Food Security.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The down-slope transfer of fine earth material mixed with water.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


A type of landslide, which occurs when the slope is saturated with water. This more destructive flow can pick up rocks, trees, houses and cars. As the debris moves into river and stream beds, bridges can become blocked or even collapse, making a temporary dam that can flood neighbouring areas.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Multilateral Aid/Assistance

Multilateral humanitarian aid is funding given to multilateral organisations such as UN agencies, other international organisations or the European Commission, to spend entirely at their own discretion within their respective mandates.

[Source: DI via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: Individual donor countries provide multilateral assistance as core contributions to these multilateral organisations and their contributions are pooled so that they lose their identity and become an integral part of the financial assets of the receiving organisation. The pooled contributions are then redistributed as new aid (loans and grants) to developing countries. Thus multilateral organisations are in the curious position of being both recipients and donors of development aid.

The classification of aid by individual donor countries as being either multilateral or bilateral is based on definitions laid down by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD. Funds can only be classified as multilateral if they are channelled through an organisation classed as multilateral in Annex 2 of the DAC Statistical Reporting Directives which identifies all multilateral organisations. The DAC list is updated annually based on members nominations; multilateral organisations must conduct all or part of their activities in favour of development work to be included on the list.

Furthermore, for aid to be classed as multilateral it must not be earmarked. That is, the multilateral organisation must have complete freedom to decide how the money is used. If, however, the donor country effectively controls the disposal of the funds by specifying the recipient or other aspects of the disbursement (for example, its purpose, terms, total amount, etc), then the contribution would have to be (re-)classified as bilateral and allocated to the appropriate recipient country.

According to Australia’s independent monitor of international aid and trade policy, aidwatch.org.au, “there are a number of reasons why donor countries such as Australia give aid through multilateral institutions:

  • multilateral aid is generally seen as a less political form of aid than bilateral aid, encouraging international cooperation rather than strategic and commercial interests of respective donor countries;
  • multilateral aid pools resources enabling the implementation of large-scale programs that are beyond the capacity of individual donor countries through bilateral aid;
  • multilateral aid can help coordinate donors to address issues at regional and global levels and harmonise their efforts, thereby reducing donor burden in recipient countries.

“[However] one of the biggest problems with multilateral aid is the lack of accountability to the people aid is intended to assist. Furthermore many donor countries favour certain multilateral organisations and funds over others. For example, Australia gives more money to multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, where voting is weighted according to financial contributions, and less to the United Nations agencies where voting is equal and less of the money is returned to the donor countries.”

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Multilateral Cooperation

Problems that transcend national borders cannot be solved by individual states acting alone. The United Nations (UN), the international finance institutions and global funding organisations are currently working together to address economic and social development issues. International institutions use approximately one-third of official development assistance (ODA) worldwide. The most important institutions involved in multilateral cooperation include: the World Bank Group; the regional development banks and their corresponding development funds; UN agencies and programmes; as well as global funding organisations, which also receive funding contributions from private foundations and companies.

Due to their size and importance in the international cooperation field, multilateral institutions are able to help governments implement reform projects and broadly based programmes. Multilateral institutions are not only able to influence international development objectives and agreements, they also have a say on how initiatives are implemented.

Comment: Around 40% of Swiss development activities for southern hemisphere countries take the form of multilateral cooperation. Switzerland also sits on the steering bodies of UN organisations and international financial institutions. Switzerland is therefore in a position to influence international development policy.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Multilateral Organisation

An international institution or organisation such as the World Bank, UN agencies or the EU whose membership is made up of member governments, who collectively govern the organisation and are its primary source of funds.

Multilateral organisations who are active in development work provide multilateral aid to developing countries.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

A nationally led forum or committee of multiple stakeholders to coordinate and mainstream disaster risk reduction into all relevant sectors through the development of better integrated policies, plans and programmes.

Comment: Disaster risk reduction does not lie neatly within any sector, but requires the knowledge, capacities and inputs of a wide range of sectors and organisations. Most sectors are affected directly or indirectly by disasters and many have specific responsibilities that affect disaster risks. The national platform concept provides a means to enhance national action to reduce disaster risks.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Natural Disaster

Natural disasters are events brought about by natural hazards that seriously affect the society, economy and/or infrastructure of a region. Depending on population vulnerability and local response capacity, natural disasters will pose challenges and problems of a humanitarian nature.

The term “natural disaster” is used for ease. It is important to understand, however, that the magnitude of the consequences of sudden natural hazards is a direct result of the way individuals and societies relate to threats originating from natural hazards. The magnitude of the consequences is, thus, determined by human action, or the lack thereof.

[Source: Protecting Persons Affected by Natural Disasters, IASC Operational Guidelines, 2006]

Natural Hazards

Natural processes or phenomena that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Natural hazards are a sub-set of all hazards ‐ see definition of “hazard”.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


The deliberation which takes place between two or more parties regarding a proposed agreement. In the context of armed conflict, negotiations often relate to permitting humanitarian access, agreeing upon a ceasefire, or establishing peace through a framework agreement or peace accord.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See Non-Governmental Organization.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The principle that a measure of general protection for civilian populations against certain consequences of war without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, nationality, religion or political opinion (e.g. the establishment of hospitals and safety zones and of neutralized zones, the protection of civilian hospitals and their staff, the free passage of relief supplies, etc.). Also, the principle under human rights law that States must undertake measures to respect and to ensure to all individuals within their territories and subject to their jurisdiction the rights recognized in the 1966 International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. This principle applies equally in times of peace as it times of war.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

A non-governmental organization or NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political particpation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. See also International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO).

[Source: ngo.org]

Comment: As defined above, NGOs are generally non-profit organisations whose activities are conducted independently of state authorities. NGOs implement projects on a local level and their campaigns can influence public opinion and perceptions. NGOs therefore play a major role in development cooperation and exert considerable influence within civil society. NGOs fund their activities by selling services, canvassing for donations and applying for state grants. Many donor countries, including Switzerland, provide funding to specialised NGOs for the implementation of programmes.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

From a UN perspective, an NGO “is an organized entity that is functionally independent of, and does not represent, a government or State. It is normally applied to organizations devoted to humanitarian and human rights causes, a number of which have official consultative status at the United Nations”.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A core principle of International Refugee Law that prohibits States from returning refugees in any manner whatsoever to countries or territories in which their lives or freedom may be threatened. This principle is a part of customary international law and is therefore binding on all States, whether or not they are parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Nuclear Accident

Accidental release of radiation occurring in civil nuclear facilities, exceeding the internationally established safety levels.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]



See United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Official Development Assistance.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Office Africain pour le Développement et la Coopération (African Office for Development and Cooperation).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Office Africain pour le Développement et la Coopération (member of ICVA)

The Office Africain pour le Développement et la Coopération (African Office for Development and Cooperation — OFADEC) “is a non-profit humanitarian organization working mainly with refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people. Its work upholds victims’ rights in order to contribute to eliminating the root causes of their suffering. The organization’s action promotes humanitarian aid, lasting development and human rights”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by that conflict.

It is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981.

The organization was only intended to operate for three years due to the disagreement of many UN member states over the implications of a permanent body. After many heated debates, the General Assembly of the UN established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on December 14th, 1950. It began operation in January 1951 and it was expected that its three-year mandate would allow it to complete its work and then disband. On July 28, 1951, the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees – the legal foundation of helping refugees and the basic statute guiding UNHCR’s work – was adopted.

Soon after the signing of the 1951 Convention, it became clear that refugees were not solely restricted to Europe. In 1956, UNHCR was involved in coordinating the response to the uprising in Hungary. Just a year later, UNHCR was tasked with dealing with Chinese refugees in Hong Kong, while also responding to Algerian refugees who had fled to Morocco and Tunisia in the wake of Algeria’s war for independence. The responses marked the beginning of a wider, global mandate in refugee protection and humanitarian assistance.

Decolonization in the 1960s triggered large refugee movements in Africa, creating a massive challenge that would transform UNHCR; unlike the refugee crises in Europe, there were no durable solutions in Africa and many refugees who fled one country only found instability in their new country of asylum. By the end of the 1960s, two-thirds of UNHCR’s budget was focused on operations in Africa and in just one decade, the organization’s focus had shifted from an almost exclusive focus on Europe. Any expectation that UNHCR would become unnecessary has never resurfaced.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, Wikipedia and www.unhcr.org]

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a specific subset of the aid finance provided by each donor country. It has a precise definition, the criteria for which are set and monitored by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD. ODA statistics are thus reliable and comparable between donor countries. Official Development Assistance (ODA) is defined as those flows to developing countries on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral development institutions which are:

  1. provided byofficial agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies;
  2. and each transaction of which:

    • is administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective; and
    • is concessional in character and conveys a grant element[1] of at least 25 per cent.

Note [1]: The grant element measures the concessionality or “softness” of the financial terms of a loan. The lower the interest rate and the longer the loan period, the higher the grant element, which means it is more beneficial to the borrower. The grant element for a grant (that is, finance which never has to be repaid) is 100 per cent.

Crucially, however, ODA is a measure of the money that flows out from the donor country NOT money that flows in to the developing country. The implications of measuring money that flows out of the donor country includes the facts that:

  • lots of ODA never leaves the donor country – it is spent on debt relief, consultants, etc, in the donor country;
  • some never leaves the government of the donor country – it is an internal transfer between government departments, for example between the department responsible for Overseas Aid and the department responsible for Education in the case of funding overseas student costs;
  • it lacks transparency – since if the objectives qualify as ODA it doesn’t matter where it’s spent.

Because ODA is precisely defined and monitored it provides a validated set of aid data for statistical purposes. These ODA data sets are:

  • Comprehensive and Consistent – in the case of ODA there is no double counting;
  • Validated and Trustworthy – validated through the Development Cooperation Directorate of the OECD and via Peer Reviews;
  • Complete – as there is mandatory reporting by donors and historic data goes back to 1960.

ODA data sets use standard criteria (codes for sectors, types of aid, terms and conditions, etc) so ODA statistics are comparable between donors and over time.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Comment from a Swiss perspective: Official development assistance (ODA) refers to the services and funding provided by public bodies (e.g. the Confederation, the Cantons and local municipalities in Switzerland) for the purpose of promoting economic and social development in developing countries. According to the definition used by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), ODA also includes debt relief measures and expenditure relating to asylum seekers in their first year of residence.

The ratio of ODA to gross national income (GNI) is used as an international benchmark. In order to reduce global poverty, the UN recommends that industrialised countries devote 0.7% of their GNI to ODA. Switzerland’s development activities correspond to an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.47% (2009), which puts Switzerland in 10th position among the 23 OECD/DAC member states.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Oil Spill

The contamination of a water or land area by oil.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and co-ordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Comment: All 34 countries in the OECD are regarded as developed countries committed to democratic principles and market-based economies. OECD’s Development Aid Committee (DAC) formulates binding quality standards, informs its members of best development cooperation practices and uses a peer review system to monitor compliance with standards. Switzerland also aligns itself with OECD recommendations on matters relating to development cooperation.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]


The concept of “ownership” is used in the context of development cooperation to refer to how people identify with an initiative that affects them directly. Ownership also refers to the individual responsibility assumed by the target groups and partner organisations. Ownership is an important pre-condition for the effectiveness, sustainability and success of development cooperation initiatives.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Oxfam International

Oxfam “is an international confederation of 15 organizations working together in 98 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. It works directly with communities and seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]



See Humanitarian Response Network of Canada.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Project Action Plan. Project Action Plans are essential for successful project implementation. They help set priorities, define owners of tasks, and in general, outline expectations so that the entire project team is aware of the timeline for the completion of the project.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Paris Declaration, The

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2005 contains measures designed to improve the coordination and allocation of tasks among donors. It also seeks to create a stronger sense of individual responsibility on the part of recipients of ODA. The Paris Declaration establishes five objectives:

  • Ownership. Developing countries should take on greater responsibility (ownership).
  • Alignment. Donors should not set up parallel structures but rather implement programmes with existing institutions in partner countries. They also need to align their objectives with those of partner countries.
  • Harmonisation. Donors should harmonise their programmes and processes more effectively.
  • Results. Developing countries and donors should focus more on development results and measurement rather than merely on the services rendered.
  • Mutual accountability. Donors and partners should be held accountable to the general public for development results.

The Paris Declaration has led to greater coordination among donors and has influenced Swiss development cooperation activities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


In the context of development cooperation, participation refers to the active role played by target groups in the design, implementation and control of programmes and projects. Participation helps prevent development cooperation from being regarded as a form of charity and reduces dependency. Moreover, it serves to enhance project sustainability, promotes a culture of open exchange and reinforces democratic processes within civil society.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Participatory Approach

An approach to development and/or government in which key stakeholders (and especially the proposed beneficiaries) of a policy or intervention are closely involved in the process of identifying problems and priorities and have considerable control over analysis and the planning, implementation and monitoring of solutions.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


See Public Distribution System.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Peace is a condition that exists in the relations between groups, classes or states when there is an absence of violence (direct or indirect) or the threat of violence.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Without peace there can be no development. Peacebuilding creates or reinforces the overall conditions needed to bring about sustainable development cooperation.

“Peacebuilding is a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political as well as economic transformation. This consists of a set of physical, social, and structural initiatives that are often an integral part of postconflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.” [Quoted from allianceforpeacebuilding.org]

In order to secure peace, both military (“peacekeeping”) and civilian (“peacebuilding”) measures are needed. The set of physical, social, and structural initiatives that are usually deployed as part of peacebuilding and postconflict reconstruction and rehabilitation includes such things as supporting transparent elections, encouraging greater respect for human rights, developing police institutions that work closely with citizens, and establishing an independent judiciary. Peacebuilding also includes peace talks. There are two specific tracks involved in peacebuilding:

  • Track 1 starts at government level and involves dialogue with those who wield political or economic power.
  • Track 2 is based on initiatives from civil society organisations.

[Main source: Swiss FDFA]

Comment: The Statement by the President of the Security Council on Peacebuilding in 2001 (S/PRST/2001/5) holds that peacebuilding activities are aimed at preventing the outbreak, recurrence or continuation of armed conflict and therefore encompass a wide range of political, developmental, humanitarian and human rights programmes and mechanisms. They require tailored short and long-term actions that focus on fostering sustainable institutions and processes in areas such as sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and inequalities, transparent and accountable governance, the promotion of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law and the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Most commonly, multinational military intervention to impose peace or restore cease-fires. “The use or threat of armed force as provided for in Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter aimed at restoring peace by military means such as in Korea (1950-1953) or Iraq (1991). It can take place without the agreement and support of one or all the warring parties. It can refer to both an interstate or an intra-state conflict, [serve] the mitigation of a humanitarian emergency or in situations where the organs of state have ceased to function. Peace enforcement actions include:

  1. carrying out international sanctions against the opposing sides, or against the side that represents the driving force in the armed conflict;
  2. isolating the conflict and preventing arms deliveries to the area, as well as preventing its penetration by armed formations;
  3. delivering air or missile strikes on positions of the side that refuses to halt its military actions;
  4. rapid deployment of peace forces to the combat zones in numbers sufficient to carry out the assigned missions, including the localising of the conflict and the disarming or eradicating of any armed formations that refuse to cease fighting.”

      (Demurenko & Nikitin, 1997:118-119).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Peacekeeping Forces

“Civilian and military personnel designated by the national governments of the countries participating in the peace operation. These personnel are placed at the disposal of the international organisation under whose mandate the given operation is being conducted. Generally, peacekeeping forces are made up of national contingents under international command. Each national contingent is assigned either a zone of responsibility or specific functional duties.” (Demurenko & Nikitin, 1997;123-124).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Peacekeeping Mandate

“The UN’s interpretation of the use of force in self-defence is ambiguous. Peacekeeping (PK) has traditionally been described as a noncoercive instrument yet since 1973, the guidelines approved by the Security Council for each PK force have stipulated that self defence is deemed to include resistance to attempts by forceful means to prevent the PK force from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council”. (British Army, 1997, chapter 4: 5).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Peacekeeping Operation (PKO)

UN field operations that often consist of several components, including a military component, which may or may not be armed, and various civilian components encompassing a broad range of disciplines. Depending on their mandate, peacekeeping missions may be required to: deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders; stabilize conflict situations after a ceasefire to create an environment for the parties to reach a lasting peace agreement; assist in implementing comprehensive peace agreements; lead states or territories through a transition to stable government based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


The use of diplomatic means to persuade parties in conflict to cease hostilities and to negotiate a peaceful settlement of their dispute, essentially through means as those foreseen in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations. The UN can usually play a role only if the parties to the dispute agree to it. Peacemaking thus excludes the use of force against one of the parties to enforce an end to hostilities, an activity that in United Nations parlance is referred to as “peace enforcement”. Post-Conflict Transition: The tenuous period immediately following the termination of conflict during which humanitarian needs must still be met and programs such as those for disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation and for rebuilding infrastructure remain at an early stage. This period may also involve the temporary transfer of government functions to a UN transitional administration, as occurred in Kosovo and East Timor.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response. PEER is a regional program initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) in 1998. The goal is to enhance local and regional disaster preparedness and response capacities of vulnerable countries within the Asia region through institutionalization of sustainable disaster preparedness training programs and emergency response systems. PEER has completed two stages and PEER 3 commenced in July 2009. PEER 3 is due to be completed in 2014.

In essence PEER is about preparing for effective emergency response for which PEER is sometimes mistakenly said to be the acronym.

PEER aims to enhance disaster response capacity, reduce mortality, and increase the survival rate of disaster victims in nine Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. Since its inception in 1998, PEER has laid the foundation for a more developed emergency response system in the participating countries. The significant achievements to date of the program are the development of regional and national cadre of well trained and qualified instructors and institutions implementing PEER and providing training to emergency responders. PEER works to institutionalise disaster preparedness training programs and provide ongoing training to professional and non-professional emergency responders.

[Source: Edited content from the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) adpc.net]


See Peacekeeping Operation.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Plan International

“Founded over 70 years ago, Plan International is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organizations in the world. It works in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.”

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


A non-binding announcement of an intended contribution or allocation by the donor. Can be specific as to appealing agency and project, or specify only the crisis (e.g. a pledge for the Darfur crisis or for the Sudan Consolidated Appeal).

[Source: FTS Glossary via #ReliefWeb]


See Programme Management Unit.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Political Dialogue

Successful development cooperation depends on favourable conditions, such as political stability, economic efficiency, social justice, social participation and environmental sustainability. In order to effect change across a broad spectrum, donor countries maintain regular dialogue with the authorities in partner countries. Political dialogue is intended to raise policymaker’s awareness of the issues and enable sustainable solutions to be found. In many cases, comprehensive structural reforms are required before the state is able to make progress towards poverty reduction. Political dialogue is one of the main tasks carried out by Swiss cooperation offices in partner countries.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Population at Risk

A well-defined population whose lives, property, and livelihoods are threatened by given hazards. Used as a denominator.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Post-Conflict Reconstruction

A generic term referring to the rebuilding of society in the aftermath of conflict. Physical infrastructures have to be repaired or re-built, governmental institutions have to be reformed, psychic traumas of civilians and combatants have to be treated, the economy has to be restarted, refugees to be repatriated, reconciliation between the belligerents has to be initiated, justice has to be delivered. Such efforts require sustained support from the international community.

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Post-Conflict Transition

The tenuous period immediately following the termination of conflict during which humanitarian needs must still be met and programs such as those for disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation and for rebuilding infrastructure remain at an early stage. This period may also involve the temporary transfer of government functions o a UN transitional administration, as occurred in Kosovo and East Timor. (See “Transitional Administration”)

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Potable Water (Drinking Water)

Water that satisfies health standards, with respect to its chemical and bacteriological composition, and is agreeable to drink.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Poverty Reduction

Poverty reduction is the main objective of development policy and development cooperation. Even today, over one billion people must live on less than one US dollar a day. Poverty is not only a material problem; it also excludes people from political and cultural life. Securing economic, political and cultural rights is therefore a prerequisite for poverty reduction. Significant progress has been made over the past 20 years. For example, a number of Asian countries now enjoy greaterfood security thanks to efficient crop-growing methods. At the same time, the rapid economic growth in these countries has reduced the proportion of people living in poverty.

With the Millennium Development Goals, the international community committed itself to halving global poverty by 2015. Sustainable poverty reduction can be achieved if disadvantaged groups within the population are brought back into the economic cycle and their purchasing power is increased. Investment in health, education and basic infrastructure is also a contributing factor.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


The capacities and knowledge developed by governments, professional response organizations, communities and individuals to anticipate and respond effectively to the impact of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions.

Comment: Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and should be based on a sound analysis of disaster risks and be well linked to early warning systems. It includes contingency planning, stockpiling of equipment and supplies, emergency services and stand-by arrangements, communications, information management and coordination arrangements, personnel training, community drills and exercises, and public education. It must be supported by formal institutional, legal and budgetary capacities.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


Activities to provide outright avoidance of the adverse impacts of hazards and means to minimize related environmental, technological and biological disasters.

Comment: Depending on social and technical feasibility and cost/benefit considerations, investing in preventive measures may be justified in areas frequently affected by disasters. These measures may include structural or non-structural measures. Public awareness and education can be used to promote a “culture of prevention” and to encourage local prevention activities.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: Encompasses activities designed to provide permanent protection from disasters. It includes engineering and other physical protective measures, and also legislative measures controlling land use and urban planning.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Preventive Diplomacy

Action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Priority Countries (Swiss)

Swiss development cooperation work is directed towards individual partner countries, which are known as priority countries. In each of the selected partner countries, development cooperation focuses on a small number of specialised themes (such as water, vocational education and training, support for SMEs, health). Swiss cooperation offices are responsible for implementing programmes inside priority countries. They also maintain dialogue with partner countries and other donors.

When considering Federal Council Dispatches and associated budget requests, the Swiss Parliament decides which countries are to be considered as priority countries. The following criteria are used: amount of need (level of poverty, propensity to crisis); good governance; added value of Switzerland’s contribution; and likelihood that the cooperation endeavour will be successful.

The current list of priority countries includes a number of poor mountainous or land-locked countries with similar natural landscapes as those in Switzerland. Such countries include Nepal, which was one of Switzerland’s first priority countries for development cooperation.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Prisoners of War (POW)

Prisoners of war are combatants who have been captured by the enemy in an international armed conflict. The crews of merchant navy ships and commercial airlines as well as other persons who accompany armed forces without directly being a part of them are entitled to prisoner of war status. They are guaranteed certain fundamental protections while in captivity.

The conditions of detention, and use as a workforce, are regulated by the Third Geneva Convention. Prisoners of war have the right to be visited by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Criminal charges may not be brought against them for acts of war that are lawful under international humanitarian law. Prisoners of war are not free to renounce their prisoner of war status.

The medical and religious personnel who administer to prisoners must not be considered prisoners of war, although they have the right to the same treatment. Mercenaries and spies on the other hand are not normally granted prisoner of war status.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in part]

Programme-based Aid

Programme-based aid furthers the development of a specific sector (such as healthcare, rural development, vocational education and training or infrastructure) or geographical region through a number of complementary or coordinated measures. Programme-based aid is based on the premise that the causes of poverty are numerous and cannot be addressed by means of individual, stand-alone measures.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Programme Management Unit

Also called a project coordination unit (PCU) or project implementation unit (PIU), a PMU is normally a temporary organization established solely for the management of an aid project. While it may coordinate closely with relevant planning and funding ministries/agencies, it is responsible for the overall planning, execution, coordination, evaluation and reporting necessary for implementation of the project. See also related entry about Project Steering Committees (PSCs).

A PMU will usually include a multi-disciplinary team comprising professionals and experts who have relevant experience, technical knowledge and operational capability.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Project-based Aid

Project-based aid supports implementation of individual initiatives. It is easy to monitor and manage project-based aid and outcomes are generally easy to ascertain. The drawbacks of project-based aid include the limited scope of individual projects, limited sustainability of projects after donor funding has ceased and a lack of ownership by partners since project-based funding is mainly intended to further the donor’s own priorities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Project Steering Committee

When properly organized and empowered, the primary purpose of the project steering committee is to guide the organization through a project. That is, to deliberate, make decisions, provide strategic direction, and to be an “advocate” for the initiatives involved. Committee success depends on the ability to execute these governing responsibilities, while allowing the project manager (i.e. the PMU) “to manage” and the PMU team “to perform”.

The PSC is the key body to coordinate the project and provide input and support from a larger circle of stakeholders. The PSC assembles key institutions directly or indirectly involved in the aims/goals of the project. This usually involves government agencies and may involve international organisations and other INGOs. The PSC will meet to set priorities, assure alignment with Government policies (where appropriate), approve the detailed project design and assure sufficient ongoing political and financial support for the project.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Promoting Democracy

Political co-determination is a human right. Promoting democracy is an important part of development cooperation, as countries are in a better position to achieve sustainable development if people are included at all levels of the policymaking process. Through this involvement, people begin to take greater responsibility for their own lives.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in part]

Pro-poor Growth

Pro-poor growth seeks to achieve sufficient economic growth and provide poorer population segments with a suitable stake in that growth. Developing countries are able to set pro-poor growth in motion through various measures, e.g. raising the minimum wage, operating a fair taxation policy and making investments in health and education.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Proportional Means

The scale, duration and intensity of the planned military intervention should be the minimum necessary to secure the defined human protection objective.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Protected Areas

Areas designated by the UN to be demilitarized to protect civilians and facilitate circumstances for a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Protected Persons

Persons accorded protection under International Humanitarian Law, who take no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A concept that encompasses all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and spirit of human rights, refugee and international humanitarian law. Protection involves creating an environment conducive to respect for human beings, preventing and/or alleviating the immediate effects of a specific pattern of abuse, and restoring dignified conditions of life through reparation, restitution and rehabilitation.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Structures and policies developed by the UN, States and other humanitarian actors, and based in international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law, to protect vulnerable populations from the effects of armed conflict, ranging from the most immediate priorities of minimizing civilian casualties to more long-term priorities of promoting the rule of law and security, law and order within a State.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) are are documents required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank before a country can be considered for debt relief within the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. PRSPs are also required before low-income countries can receive aid from most major donors and lenders.

[Source: Wikipedia]


See Project Steering Committee.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Public Awareness Raising

The processes of developing and communicating factual information for the general population in order to increase their levels of awareness of disaster risks and their understanding of how they can act to reduce their exposure and vulnerability to hazards.

Comment: Public awareness activities foster changes in behaviour leading towards a culture of risk reduction. This involves the development and dissemination of public and educational information through radio, television and print media, as well as the establishment of information centres, networks, and community or participation actions. Public awareness programmes strongly benefit from the active involvement of senior public officials and community leaders.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Public Distribution System (PDS)

The Public Distribution System (PDS) is the main provider of cereals (or cereal equivalent) to approximately 70 percent of the population. PDS rations are determined centrally in response to overall expected food availability.

Ration sizes for individual households vary considerably depending on the age composition of household members, occupation of the husband and wife, and whether rations are received elsewhere, e.g. if a child receives meals in school or nursery.

The DPRK’s development problems are largely structural and systemic. People are mainly dependent on the Public Distribution (food) System for their daily food. According to Concern, the PDS ration in Sept 2012 was 310 gm/person/day against the norm of 600 gm/person/day. The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea special report published in November 2013 gives a similar figure, stating that the official Government target was 573 grams of cereal equivalent per person per day in any given year. References to “households” in the following paragraphs are based on household survey data collected by the FAO/WFP in North Korea in 2013 and published in this special report.

Given the dependence on national cereal production, centrally determined PDS ration sizes tend to vary by season and by month over the course of the year. The continuous inability to achieve that target points to not only issues of food availability, but also broader supply chain constraints such as storage, transport and commodity tracking. Usually, rations are at their lowest in the months prior to the start of the main harvest season in October.

Food supplied through the PDS reaches its ‘customers’ at Public Distribution Centres (PDCs) in each county on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. The logistical challenges inherent in distributing rations to households are immense, particularly given the high number of Public Distribution Centres in each county and the monthly/bi-monthly schedule of distributions. In its 2013 report the FAO/WFP noted that at county level, very limited PDC stocks were reported for the October distribution that year. A consequence of this sort of problem is that there can significant delays in some distributions and food shortages at the household level.

Households reported that the impact of the lean season (the months between May and early August) on household food supply often improves as early as the end of August depending on the harvest of early crops such as potato, wheat and barley, although PDS rations by contrast remain low until the October distribution. This is an indication of the existence of channels other than the PDS through which food is obtained by the households, e.g. through direct exchange for labour or social support networks. The importance of these support networks increases during the lean season, with almost 90 percent of PDS dependent households report relying on relatives from cooperative farms.

Formal and informal markets (jangmadang), own production and a system of gifting and commodity exchange are increasingly becoming important means for households to obtain food. Households in DPRK access food through a variety of avenues including own production (on the farm and in kitchen gardens), the PDS, state shops, markets, wild food gathering, land user groups of factory workers, and through gifts and exchanges. The relative importance of each source varies by food group, by type of household (PDS dependent or farming), as well as by season and month. Informal mechanisms such as gifts and exchange remain a key source of food particularly for PDS dependent households.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and FAO/WFP]

Comment: The North Korean PDS is officially divided into three subtypes:

  • The first one (paegup) is the distribution of grain, such as rice, barley or corn. Rice is considered the most prestigious, and people of higher social status or Pyongyang residents tend to get more rice than others do. Grain is distributed twice a month and one gets it either in his/her workplace or in a grain distribution center;
  • The second category (konggup) covers pretty much everything else but grain, i.e. all other food, clothes, house appliances, etc. And here, the priority is given to Pyongyang residents and party bureaucrats, providing them with a much higher social status than the rest;
  • The third type (punbae) is given only to farmers: These are the seeds and sprouts they are supposed to plant on their collective farm.

[Source: Fyodor Tertitskiy and www.nknews.org]

Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

Efficient institutions, good quality education and research and development activities are the cornerstones of a dynamic economy. The private sector also plays an extremely important role in helping to address poverty and development issues. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) play an increasingly important role in development cooperation. Such partnerships are intended to strengthen local markets and public services. By tapping into the private sector’s capacity for innovation, sustainable progress can be made towards poverty reduction.

[For example] Switzerland has entered into public-private partnerships mainly in sectors where Swiss companies are able to provide specific know-how in such areas as effective medicines, cost-effective environmental technologies and efficient water supply systems.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]




An element of conflict resolution and peacebuilding involving the promotion of confidence building and co-existence. The process of achieving reconciliation generally involves five interwoven and related strands: (i) developing a shared vision of an interdependent and fair society; (ii) acknowledging and dealing with the past; (iii) building positive relationships; (iv) significant cultural and attitudinal change; and (v) substantial social, economic and political change. It can be a challenging and long-term process for communities deeply divided along political or ethnic lines. While reconciliation must grow between and within communities, it can benefit from international support, especially when people and/or political leaders are unable or unwilling to initiate it.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


A set of activities aimed at achieving the medium- and long-term recovery of the components and structures that have been affected by a disaster or emergency.

[Source: CRID via #ReliefWeb]


A focus on how best to restore the capacity of the government and communities to rebuild and recover from crisis and to prevent relapses into conflict. In so doing, recovery seeks not only to catalyze sustainable development activities, but also to build upon earlier humanitarian programmes to ensure that their inputs become assets for development.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


Encompasses compulsory, forced and voluntary recruitment into any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group. The conscripting or enlisting of children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict prohibits direct participation in armed conflict of persons below 18 years and establishes a ban on their compulsory recruitment.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

RedR International

RedR International “is a federation of national accredited RedR organizations who work to relieve suffering caused by disasters by selecting, training and providing competent and committed personnel to humanitarian programmes worldwide”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


A refugee is a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or for reasons owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge outside his country of origin or nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of his country of origin or nationality.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: Anyone forced to leave his or her home country out of a justified fear of persecution, for the reasons listed above, meets the official definition of a refugee. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, supplemented by the Protocol of 1967, regulates the status of refugees.

In this context, the principle of non-refoulement is particularly important. This prohibits repatriation of individuals to states where they are in danger of life or physical integrity. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) monitors the world refugee situation, protects and supports refugees with the help of partner humanitarian organisations, and assists them at the time of return and/or when starting life in a temporary country of asylum or in a new host country. Refugees enjoy special guarantees for the duration of an armed conflict.

[Source: The ABCs of International Humanitarian Law, published by the Swiss FDFA. Entry quoted here in part]

Refugee Camp

A plot of land temporarily made available to host refugees fleeing from an armed conflict in temporary homes. UN Agencies, particularly UNHCR, and other humanitarian organizations provide essential services in refugee camps including food, sanitation, health, medicine and education. These camps are ideally located at least 50 km away from the nearest international border to deter camp raids and other attacks on its civilian occupants.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Refugee Law

The body of customary international law and various international, regional, and national legal instruments that establish standards for refugee protection. The cornerstone of refugee law is the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Optional Protocol. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the UN to provide international protection to refugees and to seek permanent solutions to their problems through its Statute, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1950.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


A set of measures aimed at restoring normal living conditions through the repair and reestablishment of vital services interrupted or degraded by a disaster or emergency.

[Source: CRID via #ReliefWeb]


A process which enables returnees to regain the physical, social, legal and material security needed to maintain life, livelihood and dignity and which eventually leads to the disappearance of any observable distinctions vis-à-vis their compatriots.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


Assistance and/or intervention during or after disaster to meet the life preservation and basic subsistence needs. It can be of emergency or protracted duration.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Remittances are money transfers that migrants send to their countries of origin to ensure that family members, relatives and friends left behind will have enough money to cover their daily needs. Nowadays, total cash flows transferred in the form of remittances are more than twice the amount of ODA provided worldwide. Development planners have now recognised the importance of remittances and are looking for ways to reduce transfer fees and more productively include remittances in development processes.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing refers to the process of recording information from sensors mounted either on aircraft or on satellites. The technique is applicable to natural hazards management because nearly all geologic, hydrologic, and atmospheric phenomena are recurring events or processes that leave evidence of their previous occurrence. The benefits of the technique are that revealing the location of previous occurrences and/or distinguishing the conditions under which they are likely to occur makes it possible to identify areas of potential exposure to natural hazards. It additionally provides comprehensive displays of disaster information to assess vulnerability, enhance mapping, and monitor. The limitations of the technique include the requirement for expert science writers and graphics designers to translate and package the resulting information into images and explanations that can be easily understood by a wide variety of users; and while space technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, a number of countries still lack the human, technical and financial resources required to conduct even the most basic space-related activities.

[Source: UN HABITAT via #ReliefWeb]

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capacity to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The transfer of refugees from the country in which they have sought refuge to another State that has agreed to admit them. The refugees will usually be granted asylum or some other form of long-term resident rights and, in many cases, will have the opportunity to become naturalized citizens. For this reason, resettlement is a durable solution as well as a tool for the protection of refugees. It is also a practical example of international burden- and responsibility-sharing.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Resettlement Country

A country that offers opportunities for the permanent settlement of refugees. This would be a country other than the country of origin or the country in which refugee status was first recognized.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Resident Coordinator (RC) and Humanitarian Coordinator (HC)

The Resident Coordinator is the head of the UN Country Team. In a Complex Emergency, the RC or another competent UN official may be designated as the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC). In large-scale Complex Emergencies, a separate HC is often appointed. If the emergency affects more than one country, a Regional HC may be appointed. The decision whether to and who to appoint as HC is made by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, in consultation with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. In countries where large multi-disciplinary UN field operations are in place the Secretary-General might appoint a Special Representative (SRSG). The relationship between the SRSG and the RC/HC is defined in a note issued by the Secretary-General on 11 December 2000 (Note of Guidance on Relations between Representatives of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinators and Humanitarian Coordinators, dated 30 October 2000).

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Residual Risk

The risk that remains in unmanaged form, even when effective disaster reduction measures are in place, and for which emergency response capacities must be maintained and resources committed, to prepare for, respond to and recover from, emergency situations.

Comment: Residual risk implies a continuing need for emergency services and for socioeconomic policies such as safety nets and risk transfer mechanisms.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


The capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to resist, adapt, and recover from hazard events, and to restore an acceptable level of functioning and structure.

Comment: Resilience means to “resile from” or “spring back” after a shock. The resilience of a social system is determined by the degree to which the system has the necessary resources and is capable of organizing itself to develop its capacities, to implement disaster risk reduction and to institute means to transfer or manage residual risks.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Responsibility to Protect

A concept that imposes a responsibility on the international community to protect a population that is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it. The 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) notes that the responsibility to protect encompasses three essential components:

  • The responsibility to prevent a human catastrophe by addressing root causes and direct causes of internal conflict and other man-made crises;
  • The responsibility to react to an actual or apprehended situation of compelling human need, should one occur, with appropriate measures, which may include coercive measures such as sanctions, international prosecution and military intervention in extreme cases; and
  • The responsibility to rebuild after the intervention through the provision of full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation.

The responsibility to protect is founded on the obligations inherent in the concept of state sovereignty, the responsibility of the Security Council under Article 24 of the UN Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, specific legal obligations under human rights and human protection instruments, international humanitarian law and national law, as well as in the developing practice of states, regional organizations and the Security Council. While this concept is under discussion, it has not yet been adopted by the UN.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


The concept that victims, their families or dependents, who have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States, should receive fair recompense . Such recompense should include the return of property or payment for the harm or loss suffered, reimbursement of expenses incurred as a result of the victimization, the provision of services and the restoration of rights.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Restorative Justice

A problem-solving approach to crime that focuses on restoration or repairing the harm done by the crime and criminal to the extent possible, and involves the victim(s), offender(s) and the community in an active relationship with statutory agencies in developing a resolution. The modes for delivering restorative justice include, but are not limited to, restitution of property, restitution to the victim by the offender, reparations and truth commissions.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Refugees who have returned to their country or community of origin.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Richter Scale

Devised by C.F. Richter in 1935, an index of the seismic energy released by an earthquake (as contrasted to intensity that describes its effects at a particular place), expressed in terms of the motion that would be measured by a specific type of seismograph located 100 km from the epicentre of an earthquake. Nowadays several “magnitude scales” are in use. They are based on amplitudes of different types of seismic waves, on signal duration or on the seismic moment.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Degree of danger associated with a given operation, course of action, or failure to act in crisis situation. For conflict forecasting, it makes sense to distinguish between levels of risks, for example:

  1. high risk;
  2. high moderate risk;
  3. moderate risk;
  4. low moderate risk;
  5. low risk.

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Risk Assessment

Calculation and/or simulation of degree of danger attached to a course of action for the purpose of uncertainty reduction. “[R]isk assessment and early warning are distinct but complementary activities. Risk assessments are based on the systematic analysis of remote and intermediate conditions. Early warning requires near real- time assessment of events that, in a high risk environment, are likely to accelerate or trigger the rapid escalation of conflict.” (Gurr, 1996b: 137).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Risk Mapping

A risk map is a map of a community or geographical zone that identifies the places and the structures that might be adversely affected in the event of a hazard. The production of a risk map requires consideration of areas and features threatened within the community or geographical zone, consultation with people and groups of varying expertise, and the discussion of possible solutions to reduce risk.

The benefits of this technique are that it helps to locate the major hazards; they can create shared criteria for decision-making, they can provide a record of historical events that have had a negative impact on the community, and they identify risks so a community may find solutions or take precautions.

[Source: UN HABITAT via #ReliefWeb]

Risk Management

A structured approach to manage uncertainty and potential losses through a process of risk assessment and the development of strategies and specific actions to control and reduce risks.

Comment: In the field of disasters, risk management strategies include avoiding the risk (prevention), reducing the negative effect of the risk (mitigation), transferring the risk to another party (insurance), and accepting some or all of the consequences of a particular risk (retained risk). In some key sectors affected by natural hazards, such as water supply, energy, agriculture and transportation, risk management may a core element of business activity owing to the potential for both gains and losses.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Risk Transfer

The process of spreading or transferring the costs of risk whereby a potentially affected nation, enterprise or group can obtain resources from another party when a disaster strikes, in exchange for ongoing or compensatory social or financial benefits provided to that party.

Comment: Risk transfer comes at a price; it is an exchange of resources. For example, to obtain insurance cover for a risk, it is necessary to pay premiums to the insurer. If help is received from a family member after a disaster, it will be accompanied by expectations of return help if needed in future. Public social safety nets are funded from taxation. At a larger scale, Governments, insurers and other major risk-bearing entities may establish mechanisms to cover losses in major events, such as re-insurance, catastrophe bond issues, credit facilities and reserve funds, where the costs are covered by premiums, bond discount prices, interest rates and past savings, respectively.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Rule of Law

A governing principle by which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, and including the state itself, are accountable to democratically determined, publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated rules which are substantively and procedurally consistent with international law, particularly human rights standards, including the following:

  • Government decisions are made according to written law and rules;
  • Government sanctions cannot be made up after the fact (ex post facto);
  • Rules are applied as much as possible consistently to all; and
  • Citizens are afforded consistent written process (due process) before life, liberty or property is taken away.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Rural Development

The prosperity gap between urban and rural areas in a great many countries causes people to leave the countryside and move to the city, which leads to the rapid development of slums. Rural development programmes must therefore improve living conditions in the countryside in order to stave off rural migration. Rural development programmes include such measures as promoting smallholder farming, improving market opportunities for locally grown products and establishing education and healthcare facilities. Switzerland has solid experience in rural development and the relevant programmes play a prominent role in Swiss development cooperation activities.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


Salvation Army (International)

The Salvation Army “is one of the largest social care providers in the world. Its International Emergency Services section provides support, training and resources to respond to the needs of those affected by emergencies without discrimination. The organization is active in responding to both natural and man-made disasters, with an approach that goes beyond immediate physical needs”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

The website of The Salvation Army (UK) is here.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Small Arms and Light Weapons.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See State Academy of Sciences.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Save the Children (International)

The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children, is an internationally active non-governmental organization that works in 120 countries promoting children’s rights, saving children’s lives and providing relief and helping support children in developing countries.

Save the Children (UK) is also known by the acronym SCUK.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Save the Children “aims to create lasting change in the lives of children in need, both in responding to disasters and working to resolve the ongoing struggles children face every day – poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. The organization endeavors to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children.”

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


See Save the Children.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Sea Surge

A rise in sea level that results in the inundation of areas along coastlines. These phenomena are caused by the movement of ocean and sea currents, winds and major storms.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Search and Rescue

The process of locating and recovering disaster victims and the application of first aid and basic medical assistance as may be required.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


See State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Sectoral Group

See Cluster.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Secondary Hazards

Those hazards that occur as a result of another hazard or disaster, i.e., fires or landslides following earthquakes, epidemics following famines, food shortages following drought or floods.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


The ability of an individual, household or community to depend (rely) on their own resources (physical, social and natural capital or assets), judgement and capabilities with minimal external assistance in meeting basic needs, and without resorting to activities that irreversibly deplete the household or community resource base.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Severe Local Storm

A tornado, waterspout, or a thunderstorm with winds of 50 knots (25 m/s) or greater and/or hail ¾” (20 mm) or greater in diameter at the ground. Usually results to significant wind damage (several downed trees) and/or large hail.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Sexual Abuse

Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, including inappropriate touching, by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)

Acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threat of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty, that target individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their gender.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Sexual Exploitation

Any abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


See “Sexual and Gender-Based Violence“.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Physical protection requirements of disaster victims who no longer have access to normal habitation facilities. Immediate post-disaster needs are met by the use of tents. Alternatives may include polypropylene houses, plastic sheeting, geodesic domes and other similar types of temporary housing.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Sloping land management (SLM) is an important aspect of long-term soil conservation. Land degradation should be prevented before it arises and also soil and water conservation on sloping land should be promoted through proper mechanical measures to prevent erosion and runoff. During the early 2000s, the protection and proper management of sloping land became highlighted in the DPRK, a country which is mostly covered by mountains and hilly areas. It is one of the main projects carried out by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

[Source: nkleadershipwatch]

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

As referred to in the Report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms (A/52/298), SALW are used by all armed forces, including internal security forces, for, inter alia, self-protection or self-defence, close or short range combat, direct or indirect fire, and against tanks or aircraft at relatively short distances. Broadly speaking, Small Arms are those designed for personal use and Light Weapons are those designed for use by several persons serving as a crew.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), also known as small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), are businesses whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits. The abbreviation “SME” is used in the European Union and by international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Small enterprises outnumber large companies by a wide margin and also employ many more people. SMEs are also said to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors. [from Wikipedia]

The criteria for defining the size of a business differs from country to country, with many countries having programs of business rate reduction and financial subsidy for SMEs. Under EU law, the main factors determining whether a company in the EU is an SME are: (1) number of employees, and (2) either turnover or balance sheet total.

Company category   Employees   Turnover or  Balance Sheet Total
Medium-sized   < 250   ≤ €50 m ≤ €43 m
Small   < 50   ≤ €10 m ≤ €10 m
Micro   < 10   ≤ €2 m ≤ €2 m

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, EU definition, and Wikipedia definition for all countries]

Smuggling in Persons

The voluntary transnational transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of migrants, often in dangerous or degrading conditions.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Snow Avalanche

Mass of snow and ice falling suddenly down a mountain slope and often taking with it earth, rocks and rubble of every description.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Sphere India

Sphere India “is a national coalition of humanitarian agencies whose members include key agencies from government, the UN, INGOs, NGO networks and national NGOs. It facilitates inter-agency coordination, training and capacity-building, information and knowledge management and common advocacy through a collaborative process for quality and accountability”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]

Sphere Project

The Sphere Project was launched in 1997 to develop a set of minimum standards in core areas of humanitarian assistance. The Sphere Project is a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim – to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations. One of the major results of the project has been the publication of the handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response.

Wikipedia provides here an interesting and accessible discussion on the background to the Sphere Project and why it was so desperately needed. The original sponsors of the Sphere Project included Care International, Caritas Internationalis, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Save the Children Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam, World Council of Churches, Médecins Sans Frontières and InterAction (165 US-based members; 62 in its Disaster Response Committee).

However, there have been some issues with the Sphere Project. In 1998 there was public criticism of the Sphere Project from a number of French humanitarian NGOs. They felt that Sphere was too focused on the technical aspects of humanitarian response and could easily ignore non-quantifiable aspects such as solidarity and witnessing. It also could devalue efforts of the affected population to solve their own problems.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was also critical of the project, fearing that it reduced humanitarian response “to a simple mechanical and material exercise, devoid of its humanitarian ethos.” MSF fealt there was a risk that by focusing on standards it could reduce humanitarian action to a business to be performed only according to technical standards. At the end of Phase 2, MSF decided that it would not participate in Phase 3.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Wikipedia]


All those &dash; from agencies to individuals &dash; who have a direct or indirect interest in the humanitarian intervention, or who affect or are affected by the implementation and outcome of it. Within the context of the Quality Pro Forma, primary stakeholders refers to both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries within the affected population.

[Source: ALNAP via #ReliefWeb]

State Academy of Sciences, DPRK

The North Korean State Academy of Sciences (SAS) is a large institution which was officially established on the 1st of December 1952. This is its official foundation day and is regularly celebrated. Among its many roles, the State Academy of Sciences of the DPRK provides technical expertise on joint projects with other government ministries and agencies as well as with INGOs, for example the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The State Academy of Sciences was modeled on the Soviet Academy of Science. Its Soviet counterpart Academy was governed by a council of full members, usually well-known scholars and/or academic administrators, who periodically voted new scientists into their circle. Government interference in the process could be serious, but elections still remained contested. Full membership was a tenured position that could not be withdrawn, even if the bearer was engaged in acts the authorities did not like. Soviet authorities, incidentally, tolerated a high level of critical expression among academy members.

The Soviet academy ran a huge network of research centers that formed the backbone of the Soviet research community: the academy always had the best people and the best equipment.

When North Korea acquired its own academy in 1952 it included 10 full and 15 candidate members and was responsible for 9 “research institutes” and 43 smaller “research laboratories.” Nowadays it runs 40 research institutes, about 200 smaller research centers of various kinds, a factory which produces research equipment and 6 publishing houses which issue books and about 40 periodicals. In 1982 the Academy became a ministry, unlike its Soviet counterpart which always had some trappings of an independent “scientists’ club.” It is unlikely that the North Korean State Academy of Sciences ever enjoyed even a hint of the intellectual, let alone political, independence which was a proud feature of its Soviet counterpart in earlier times.

Andrei Lankov observes that “in better times, a much-coveted job with an academic research institute provided a North Korean scientist with some equivalent of an ivory tower life. Being a staff member of the academy meant good wages, good rations (in North Korea, the latter was more important than the former) and a lot of prestige. In some cases, especially in the natural sciences, the scientists could be even somewhat protected from ongoing political campaigns. However, over the last 15 years, the positions of the academy and its personnel have undergone a dramatic decline”.

Some changes in the structure of the State Academy of Sciences were made by Kim Jong Il who laid an explicit emphasis on the role of science and technology as an instrument of national power and prosperity, citing the kangmyongsong-2 (Lodestar-2) rocket as an example. In the view of the State, without science and technology, North Koreans would not be able to enjoy “political independence, self-defensive military capabilities, or self-supporting industry.”

[Main Source: Andrei Lankov article in Korea Times (4/1/2007) reproduced in North Korea Economy Watch]

State Responsibility

The principle that States bear primary responsibility for the functions of protecting the physical security and lives of their citizens and promoting their welfare. During Complex Emergencies occurring within their territories, this includes initiating, organizing, coordinating, and implementing humanitarian assistance programs. State responsibility also means that national political authorities are responsible to the citizens internally and to the international community through the UN, and are accountable for their acts of commission and omission. This principle was recently reinforced by the International Law Commission in its final report on State Responsibility, adopted in 2001, as draft Article I of the report provides that: “Every internationally wrongful act of a State entails the international responsibility of that State”.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is part of the [Swiss] Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA) and is an important player in Swiss development cooperation activities. SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division is responsible for economic and trade policy measures for developing countries and transition countries. SECO’s economic development activities also benefit disadvantaged groups within the population (pro-poor growth).

SECO mainly seeks to achieve stable economic conditions, diversify exports, promote fair trade and improve basic infrastructure. SECO also closely monitors issues relating to energy, the environment, climate (climate protection) and economic governance.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

State Sovereignty

A concept that signifies the legal identity of states in international law and provides order, stability and predictability in international relations since sovereign states are regarded as equal, regardless of comparative size or wealth. Sovereignty is not a grant to states of unlimited power to do all that is not expressly forbidden by international law; rather, it entails the totality of international rights and duties recognized by international law. The principle of sovereign equality of states is enshrined in Article 2.1 of the UN Charter and means that a sovereign state is empowered to exercise exclusive and total jurisdiction within its territorial borders without intervention from other states (principle of non-intervention). Membership of the United Nations is viewed as the final symbol of independent sovereign statehood and the seal of acceptance into the community of nations. Membership also entails responsibilities to the citizens internally and to the international community through the UN. 191 States are Members of the United Nations as of March 2003.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Stateless Person

A person who, under national laws, does not have the legal bond of nationality with any State. Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons indicates that a person not considered a national (or citizen) automatically under the laws of any State, is stateless.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The condition of not being considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The state resulting from extreme privation of food or of drastic reduction in nutrient intake over a period of time leading to severe physiological, functional, behavioural and morphological differences.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


The process of prior identification, availability and storage of supplies likely to be needed for disaster response.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


  1. An atmospheric disturbance involving perturbations of the prevailing pressure and wind fields, on scales ranging from tornadoes (1 km across) to extra tropical cyclones (2000-3000 km across).
  2. Wind with a speed between 48 and 55 knots (Beaufort scale wind force 10).

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Storm Surge

The difference between the actual water level under influence of a meteorological disturbance (storm tide) and the level, which would have been attained in the absence of the meteorological disturbance (i.e. astronomical tide).

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Structural/Non-Structural Measures

Any physical construction to reduce or avoid possible impacts of hazards, or application of engineering techniques to achieve hazard-resistance and resilience in structures or systems.

Non-structural measures: Any measure involving knowledge, practice or agreement, that leads to reduced risks and impacts, in particular through policies and laws, public awareness raising, training and education.

Comment: Common structural measures include dams, flood levies, ocean wave barriers, earthquake-proof construction, escape routes and shelters, while common non-structural measures include building codes and land use planning laws and their enforcement, research and assessment, information resources, and public awareness programmes.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Super Cereals

A blended food produced in the DPRK of which dried skim milk (DSM) powder is an important ingredient. It is distributed through the distribution systems of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of the DPRK. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said in 2014 that Super Cereals annually guarantee 1.3 million children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, one balanced meal a day.

Local production units in the DPRK process the milk powder together with rice and maize, cereals and soya to create a blended food that is rich in proteins and vitamins. Although Super Cereals contain only 5-25% of DSM, the financial value of the DSM amounts to 36-72% of the final product.

[Source: Swiss FDFA]


Sustainability “is concerned with measuring whether an activity or an impact is likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn … many humanitarian interventions, in contrast to development projects, are not designed to be sustainable. They still need assessing, however, in regard to whether, in responding to acute and immediate needs, they take the longer term into account” (DAC Evaluation Criteria).

[Source: ALNAP]

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This was the definition used by the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) in 1987. Development cooperation programmes are considered sustainable if they support the local stakeholders’ own efforts to eradicate poverty and if local stakeholders are able to continue development programmes after the initial support funding has been phased out. Development policy interventions only make sense if they satisfy the criterion of sustainability.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Sustainable Development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Comment: This succinct definition from the Brundtland Commission, 1987, embodies two key concepts: firstly the role of social and economic development in meeting the needs of people, particularly the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given, and secondly the recognition that environmental capacities are limited and if overused and degraded, will compromise our ability to meet future needs. Successful sustainable development requires a basis of socio-cultural development, political stability, economic growth and ecosystem protection, which are also important for disaster risk reduction. At the same time, the reduction of disaster risks will contribute to more sustainable development.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

In addition to providing humanitarian aid, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) also coordinates development cooperation and aid to the countries of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), in 2009 the SDC employed around 1,500 people in and outside of Switzerland.

The SDC’s activities can be broken down into four main domains:

  • The SDC’s Regional Cooperation helps people, organisations and societies in priority countries, as well as in selected regions and countries mired in conflict, to resolve issues associated with poverty and development.
  • The SDC’s Global Cooperation contributes funding to > UN organisations and international financial institutions (IFIs), where it also plays an active role in steering bodies. The SDC’s Global Cooperation also influences global discussions and contributes to efforts to overcome international challenges (climate change, migration, food security and water shortages).
  • The SDC’s Humanitarian Aid and Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) saves lives and alleviates human suffering in disaster and conflict zones by taking preventive measures before, and emergency relief measures after, crisis situations arise. Switzerland actively takes part in reconstruction efforts and devotes resources to help the victims of natural disasters and conflicts.
  • The SDC’s Cooperation with Eastern Europe supports reform processes in the Western Balkans and the CIS. It also works with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to implement Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: The SDC operates as one of the three Resident Bilateral/Governmental Missions in the DPRK. The SDC’s activity in North Korea began in 1995 when it provided humanitarian aid for the population affected by the famine of the 1990s. In 1997 the SDC opened an office in Pyongyang which increasingly became involved in implementing development projects. Since the beginning of 2012 the SDC has been carrying out a purely humanitarian programme in North Korea. The aim is to improve food and income security, water supplies, waste water management and protection of the environment. The SDC maintain an office, the Swiss Cooperation Office, in Pyongyang.

[Source: FDFA/SDC North Korea web page]



See Tuberculosis.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

TB in the DPRK

See page on this blog site.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Technological Disaster

Air accident, multiple collisions, building fire, etc. Under this category operators will classify the following:

  • Automobile, rail, aircraft or navigation accidents, including transportation accidents.
  • Damages or collapse of any type of structure for reasons such as excess weight in public places, bridges, etc. Damages in structures caused by natural phenomena should be reported as an effect of these phenomena.
  • Urban fires caused by technological failures and explosions of any type, but limited to those induced or highly connected to non-natural phenomena different than Complex Emergency (social conflict, i.e. terrorist attacks, etc.).
  • Pollution events: Concentration of polluting substances in the air, water or soils, at levels harmful to human health, crops or animal species, including leaks of harmful liquid, solid or gas substances, whether radioactive or not.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Technological Hazards

Hazards originating from technological or industrial accidents, dangerous procedures, infrastructure failures or specific human activities that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Comment: Examples of technological hazards include industrial pollution, nuclear radiation, toxic wastes, dam failures, transport, industrial or technological accidents (explosions, fires, chemical spills).

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]

Temporary Ceasefire

The temporary cessation of hostilities by agreement between the warring parties. A ceasefire or armistice may be ‘general’, in which case hostilities cease throughout the theatre of war, or ‘local’, in which there is only a partial cessation of hostilities. A general ceasefire often precedes a peace treaty.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


While there is no agreed upon international definition of “terrorism” yet, it is a concept generally understood to mean a criminal act or acts intended to inflict dramatic and deadly injury on civilians and to create an atmosphere of fear, generally in furtherance of a political or ideological (whether secular or religious) purpose. Terrorism is most often carried out by sub-national or transnational groups, but it has also been known to be practiced by rulers as an instrument of control.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Third World

Though imprecise and outdated, the term “Third World” is frequently used to refer to developing countries. The term originally meant the non-aligned countries, which during the Cold War were neither part of the capitalist West (the First World) nor the communist East (the Second World). It was only later that the term became equated with developing countries.

As a collective term, the “Third World” encompassed a broad range of countries such as India, Nigeria and Honduras that, despite their differences, shared similar problems. Nowadays, development cooperation is based on the premise that the problems experienced by developing countries can be attributed to a variety of causes that all need to be addressed on an individual basis. In some cases, the most sensible option is to adopt a variety of approaches that take into account the raw materials, resources and potential of the country concerned. Based on current perceptions, there is only “one world” comprised of interdependent poor, emerging and wealthy countries.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Tied Aid

Tied aid is a term used to describe a situation where the recipient country is obliged to purchase specific products and services from the donor country. With this type of aid, the recipient country must be willing to develop market outlets for the donor country’s products and services. Nowadays, this approach is rarely used because it prevents tailor-made solutions from being applied and because it is mainly intended to impose the donor country’s (expensive) pricing levels on the recipient country. Moreover, tied aid also contravenes one of the rules established by the World Trade Organisation, whereby procurement orders must be made on the basis of international calls for tender. In 2001, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommended that the least developed countries (LDCs) no longer be required to purchase a donor country’s goods in exchange for the provision of aid.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Comment: Switzerland also shares this concern and supplies almost no tied aid to developing countries. According to the Swiss FDFA, however, as of 2009 some of the Swiss funding for infrastructure projects in the transition countries of Eastern Europe was partly tied to certain conditions.

Tidal Wave

An abrupt rise of tidal water (caused by atmospheric activities) moving rapidly inland from the mouth of an estuary.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


A violently rotating storm of small diameter; the most violent weather phenomenon. It is produced in a very severe thunderstorm and appears as a funnel cloud extending from the base of a Cumulonimbus to the ground.

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Trafficking in Persons

The 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime defines trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. Victims of trafficking have either never consented or their initial consent has been rendered meaningless by the coercive, deceptive or abusive actions of the traffickers. Trafficking can occur regardless of whether victims are taken to another country or only moved from one place to another within the same country.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Transit Camp

An area, with at least overnight facilities, where refugees are gathered prior to moving on to a more permanent settlement.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

Transition Countries

A transition or transitional economy is an economy which is changing from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. For this reason the term transition countries has usually been applied to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. However there are countries outside of Europe that are emerging from a centrally planned (or command economy) towards a market-based economy (e.g. China, Vietnam).

Transition economies undergo a set of structural transformations which include economic liberalisation, privatisation of state assets/enterprises and the removal of trade barriers. A financial sector is created “to facilitate macroeconomic stabilization and the movement of private capital.” [Wikipedia]. These structural changes to the economy and governance are intended to develop market-based institutions.

Comment: Any country undergoing such a transformation can be termed ‘transitional’. For that reason Wikipedia goes on to say that “in a wider sense the definition of transition economy refers to all countries which attempt to change their basic constitutional elements towards market-style fundamentals. Their origin could be in a post-colonial situation, in a heavily regulated Asian-style economy, in a Latin American post-dictatorship or even in a somehow economically underdeveloped country in Africa”.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Transitional Administration

A transitional authority often arising from a negotiated peace process and established by the UN Security Council to assist a country during a government regime change or passage to independence. It typically consists of three segments: (i) public administration including civilian police, (ii) humanitarian assistance, and (iii) UN Peacekeeping Force. Transitional administrations have been authorized in countries including East Timor (UNTAET) and Kosovo (UNMIK).

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Transitional Aid – The Swiss Example

Transition implies a shift from one situation to another. Under the heading of transitional aid, Switzerland helps countries of Central and Eastern Europe to shift from planned economies, which were prevalent under the communist system, towards democracy and market-based economies. Transitional aid was first provided shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Working closely with other Western European states, Switzerland provided technical and financial support to countries wishing to implement reforms. Thanks to rapid economic and institutional advances, ten former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe were admitted to the European Union in 2004 and 2007.

Since 1990, Switzerland had provided transitional aid worth a total of CHF 4 billion (as of 2010). The specific priorities of transitional aid include the following: development of democratic institutions, reform of healthcare and education sectors, support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and consolidating the position of civil society. Nowadays, the transitional aid provided by the SDC and SECO goes to countries in the Western Balkans and the former Soviet Union (the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia). In these countries and regions, the transition process has not yet been completed.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

Transitional Justice

As a political transition unfolds after a period of violence or repression, a society is often confronted with a difficult legacy of human rights abuse. The measures that need to be taken might involve both judicial and non-judicial responses to violations of human rights. These may include: prosecuting individual perpetrators; offering reparations to victims of state sponsored violence; establishing truth-seeking initiatives about past abuses; reforming institutions like the police and the courts; and removing human rights abusers from positions of power. Increasingly, these approaches are used in combination to achieve a more comprehensive and far-reaching sense of justice. Each country situation is unique and therefore might need different set of complementary measures.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Tropical Cyclone

Generic term for a non-frontal synoptic scale cyclone originating over tropical or sub-tropical waters with organized convection and definite cyclonic surface wind circulation. (The term is also used for a storm in the South-West Indian Ocean in which the maximum of the sustained wind speed is estimated to be in the range of 64 to 90 knots and in the South Pacific and South-East Indian Ocean with the maximum of the sustained over 33 knots.)

[Source: WMO via #ReliefWeb]

Tropical Storm

See Tropical Cyclone.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

A temporary body established and officially sanctioned to investigate and report on patterns of human rights abuses occurring over a period of time in a particular country or in relation to a particular conflict. Truth commissions are intended to provide a full accounting of past atrocities and an official acknowledgement of the corresponding suffering of victims, promote national reconciliation, bolster a new political order and/or legitimize new policies, and provide recommendations on how to prevent a recurrence of such abuses. To the extent that official truth is a step towards a full and inclusive national memory that allows the voices of the victims and survivors to be heard, a truth commission can be a crucial step towards addressing the needs of a transitional society.

It is noteworthy that truth commissions do not have the power to prosecute or punish perpetrators, make judicial pronouncements, or implement the reforms or reparations programs that they may recommend in their reports. Their implementation depends entirely on the will and interest of the political authorities. There have been over 20 truth commissions around the world over the past 25 years.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


Seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), which are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.

[Source: ITIC via #ReliefWeb]

Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis, or TB as it is more commonly called, is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It is a serious condition, but can be cured with proper treatment. TB mainly affects the lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the glands, bones, and nervous system. TB that affects the lungs is the most contagious type, but it usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. For example, it often spreads within a family who live in the same house.

With treatment, TB can usually be cured. Most people will need a course of antibiotics, usually for six months. Several different antibiotics are used. This is because some forms of TB are resistant to certain antibiotics. In the case of people infected with a drug-resistant form of TB treatment can last as long as two years.

In countries with good health infrastuctures (like the UK) effective treatments and be offered and properly monitored to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. However this is difficult to achieve in countries with less developed health care infrastructures. Diagnosing and treating TB is further complicated in humanitarian crisis. TB is recognised as a major cause of mortality in long-term complex emergencies.

In 2004 there were 9 million new cases and approximately 2 million deaths from tuberculosis (TB). Some 200 million people are believed to live in countries affected by complex emergencies. Almost all of these are developing countries which also bear the main burden of TB: approximately 80% of all TB patients live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Several of the direct and indirect effects of complex emergencies impact on TB control programmes: they interfere with the goals of identifying and curing TB patients, and may lead to the emergence of MDR-TB, thereby compromising &dash; or at least complicating &dash; future control programmes.

Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is defined as a form of TB infection caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs, isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP).

HIV/AIDS further complicates these programmes, as TB control generally is failing in high-HIV-prevalence settings. Failed treatments or, more frequently and worryingly, indigenous transmission have resulted in more people with MDR-TB. These patients require attention and resources that are rarely available in complex emergencies.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, www.nhs.uk and www.who.int]



See United Nations.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See UN Country Team (UNCT).

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

UN Country Team (UNCT)

The ensemble of agencies of the UN System in a given country. The UNCT comprises all heads of UN agencies and IOM, whereas the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) includes only relevant heads of UN agencies as well as non-UN humanitarian actors. The HCT addresses strategic issues of the wider humanitarian community whereas the UNCT focuses on UN concerns. The HCT and the UNCT coexist and do not replace each other.

The UN Country Team is led by the Resident Coordinator (RC) and is the principal coordination and decision-making body of UN agencies. The main purpose of the UN Country Team is for individual UN agencies to plan and work together to ensure the delivery of tangible results in support of the development agenda. In countries where there is no on-going humanitarian emergency, the UNCT, under the leadership of the RC, is responsible for preparedness and contingency planning by UN agencies at country level.

Note that in a humanitarian crisis the HCT is the lead strategic and operational decision making body, in close collaboration and consultation with the host government. In the event that a crisis occurs in a country without an HCT then one will be formed. Until it is formed the UNCT will coordinate with the host government.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and InterAction.

UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)

The UNDAF is the common strategic framework for the operational activities of the UN system at country level. It aims to provide a collective, coherent and integrated UN system response to national priorities and needs, including Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs) and equivalent national strategies. A key component of the UNDAF process is the formulation of a Results Matrix (RM), which forms the UN’s business plan at country level.

[Source: ODI via #ReliefWeb]


See United Nations Development Programme.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)

An explosive weapon that has been primed, fused, armed or otherwise prepared for use or used. It may have been fired, dropped, launched, or projected yet remains unexploded, either through malfunction or design or for any other reason. Ammunition consists of artillery shells, artillery rockets or mortar, some of which can dispense submunitions; the warheads (simply known as carrier) are adapted to discharge their payload with a delay or proximity fuse function. Submunition are bomblets or minelets that form part of a cluster bomb or artillery shell payload. A minelet is anything designed to be initiated by its victim. Bomblet is the term normally used to indicate a submunition containing a high explosive designed to detonate on impact or after short delay.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works in more than 150 countries and territories that are home to the vast majority of the world’s people. Its mission is “to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.

Its web site says that “since UNFPA started working in 1969, the number &dash; and rate &dash; of women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth has been halved. Families are smaller and healthier. Young people are more connected and empowered than ever before”. See more about how it works, funds and funding, etc at www.unfpa.org/about-us.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


See Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to the millions of displaced and refugee children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened to United Nations Children’s Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular and respected acronym based on its original title. UNICEF is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) and thus is accountable to those governments.

At its creation, UNICEF was directed to provide its aid ‘without discrimination because of race, creed, nationality, status or political belief’. In this way, principles grounded in rights and equity helped guide UNICEF’s work from the very beginning. The organisation was awarded the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize for its work. See www.unicef.org/about/ for more information about UNICEF.

[Sources: www.unicef.org and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNICEF.]


UNICEF’s work in the DPR Korea covers the following programme areas:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Water and sanitation

UNICEF sees partnerships as an essential aspect of its work. In the DPRK, UNICEF’s main partner is the Government, with all liaison facilitated by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs although major implementation partners include other ministries such as the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of City Management, and the Institute of Child Nutrition. Specific technical groups have been established with its various ministerial partners to facilitate the coordination, implementation and monitoring of interventions in all sectors. UNICEF says that “these technical groups (like the child health and nutrition group, maternal health and breastfeeding group, and the anti-epidemic unit) significantly contribute to enhanced service delivery to children and mothers in the most vulnerable areas in DPRK”.

UNICEF coordinates the Nutrition, WASH and Education Theme Groups in the DPRK and works closely with the:

Specifically, UNICEF collaborates with:

  • WHO in the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) supported TB & Malaria Programme, the expanded programme on immunization, and projects related to safe motherhood, supply of essential medicines and integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI);
  • WFP in the management of acute malnutrition; and
  • UNFPA in projects related to safe motherhood and supply of essential medicines.

In addition to the focus on delivering the essential interventions for Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in the DPRK, UNICEF also collaborates with partners for strengthening the health system through capacity building initiatives for procurement and logistics, health information and quality assurance systems.

UNICEF is one of the major recipients of the multilateral aid element of offical development assistance (ODA) provided by donors. Key donors for 2012 included: GFATM, GAVI, AusAid, CIDA, Italian Government, RoK, Sida, UNOCHA, RoK National Committee for UNICEF, German Committee for UNICEF, and US Fund for UNICEF.

For more up to date information, see UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific blog which contains postings specific to its activities in the DPRK.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

UN Development Programme (UNDP)

With offices in New York, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of the largest institutions involved in multilateral cooperation. As such, it plays a decisive role in shaping international development policy. The UNDP was established in 1965 and its global presence has enabled it to play a key role in poverty reduction and pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals. The UNDP is active in almost every area of development cooperation and maintains a worldwide network of employees.

It is funded through voluntary contributions from UN member states. Switzerland is one of the UNDP’s top 10 contributors and is also home to the UNDP’s European headquarters, which are located in Geneva.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]

UN Military and Civil Defence Assets (UN MCDA)

Military and civil defence resources requested by the UN humanitarian agencies and deployed under UN control specifically to support humanitarian activities and military and civil defence resources that might be available.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.

OCHA’s mission is to:

  • Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
  • Advocate the rights of people in need.
  • Promote preparedness and prevention.
  • Facilitate sustainable solutions.

One of OCHA’s many roles is to serve as the secretariat for critical inter-agency coordination mechanisms such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, rapid-response tools, such as the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and OCHA web site]

UN Security Phases

The five security phases, taking into consideration the particular political, geographical and other relevant circumstances of the duty station concerned, are as follows:

  • Phase one &dash; Precautionary: Warn staff that the security situation in the country or a portion of the country is such that caution should be exercised. Travel to the duty station requires advance clearance from the Designated Official.
  • Phase two &dash; Restricted movement: All staff members and their families will be required to remain at home, unless otherwise instructed. No travel, incoming within the country, will occur unless specifically authorized by the Designated Official as essential travel.
  • Phase three &dash; Relocation: Indicates a substantial deterioration in the security situation, which may result in the relocation of staff members or their eligible dependants.
  • Phase four &dash; Programme suspension: Apart from staff directly concerned with emergency or humanitarian relief operations or security matters, other internationally recruited staff members who heretofore were considered essential to maintain programme activities will be evacuated.
  • Phase five &dash; Evacuation: The decision to initiate Phase Five, declared following approval by the Secretary-General, signifies that the situation has deteriorated to such a point that all remaining internationally recruited staff members are required to leave.

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]

UN Theme Group

UN Theme Groups are consultation mechanisms at the country-level on specific themes relevant for the development of that country. They are normally chaired by a UN agency active in that country and will usually involve other UN agencies, one or more INGOs as well as other international partners such as the ICRC.

In the DPRK, the following UN Theme Groups provide sectoral coordination and consultations with international partners:

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

United Nations (UN)

The United Nations (UN) is an organisation comprised of 192 member states. The most important tasks of the UN are to secure world peace, uphold international law, protect human rights and promote international cooperation. Around 70% of the UN’s total expenditure is directed towards development work. The UN also includes a number of affiliated institutions that are responsible for various development policy-related activities. The most prominent of these UN institutions is the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UN General Assembly is another major catalyst for development cooperation. In 2000, for example, it adopted the Millennium Declaration, in which 189 Heads of State and Government committed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Switzerland has been a full-fledged member of the United Nations since September 2002. Thanks to the presence of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and various sub-organisations of the UN, Geneva is the UN’s most important location in Europe.

[Source: Swiss FDFA, quoted in full]


See Unexploded Ordnance.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]



The concept of violence is contested, and definitions generally reflect moral and political motivations. A relatively neutral definition is “psychological or physical force exerted for the purpose of injuring, damaging, or abusing people or property” (US Department of Justice, 1996:D-3).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

  • Violence, cultural: New term introduced by J. Galtung,; “[t]hose aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence – exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science and formal science (logic, mathematics) – that can be used to justify, legitimise, or direct structural violence” (Galtung, 1996:196).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

  • Violence, psychological: Indirect acts of negative influence that aim to affect or arouse fear or break mental resistance of a target audience by indoctrination (brainwashing), misinformation, propaganda, blackmail or terror.

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

  • Violence, structural: Introduced by J. Galtung this is a broad concept referring to concealed violence in unjust, unequal and unrepresentative social structures, and to situations in which the “actual somatic and mental realisations of human beings are below their potential realisations.” (cit. International Alert, II:5).

[Source: FEWER via #ReliefWeb]

Violent Wind

Violent storm &dash; wind with a speed between 56 and 63 knots (Beaufort scale wind force 11).

[Source: GLIDE via #ReliefWeb]

Volcanic Eruption

The discharge (aerially explosive) of fragmentary ejecta, lava and gases from a volcanic vent.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Voluntary Agencies

Non-governmental agencies (NGOs) or organizations that exist in many countries throughout the world. Some possess personnel trained to assist when disaster strikes. Some volags have capabilities that extend from the local to national and international levels.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]

Voluntary Repatriation

The free and voluntary return of refugees to their country of origin in safety and dignity. Voluntary repatriation may be organized, (i.e. when it takes place under the auspices of the concerned States and UNHCR), or spontaneous (i.e. when refugees return by their own means with UNHCR and States having little or no direct involvement in the process of return).

[Source: UNHCR via #ReliefWeb]


The conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards. For positive factors, which increase the ability of people to cope with hazards, see definition of ‘capacity‘.

[Source: ISDR via #ReliefWeb]


War Crime

Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention, committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes, including:

  • Wilful killing;
  • Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;
  • Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or heath;
  • Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;
  • Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;
  • Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
  • Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement;
  • Taking of hostages.

War crimes also consist of many other serious violations of the international laws and customs applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts, including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such, against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities or against civilian objects.

[Source: OCHA via #ReliefWeb]

Comment: States are under an obligation to prosecute or extradite persons suspected of having committed war crimes on their territory.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]


Dissemination of message signalling imminent hazard which may include advice on protective measures. See also “alert”.

[Source: UN DHA via #ReliefWeb]


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) strategies are generally referred to in long-term development aid plans. UNICEF sector strategies are based on the UNICEF WASH Strategy Paper approved by the UNICEF Executive Board in 2006.

The overall objective of UNICEF in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene is to contribute to the realization of children’s rights to survival and development through promotion of the sector and support to national programmes that increase equitable and sustainable access to, and use of, safe water and basic sanitation services, and promote improved hygiene.

[Source: UNICEF]


Water and Environmental Health program.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

Welthungerhilfe (or Deutsche Welthungerhilfe)

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe was originally known as German Agro Action (GAA).

It has been working in the DPRK since 1997 and is the last remaining German aid agency there. As a resident INGO in the DPRK it is designated as EUPS Unit 4 by KECCA, the Korean Europe Cooperation Coordination Agency of the government of North Korea.

In the early years of operation it provided emergency items such as food, coal, and children’s clothes. At the end of the 1990s, it began agricultural projects in South Hwanghae and North Pyong’an provinces to improve seeds, diversify and intensify agricultural production, and maintain agricultural equipment more efficiently. It also built a large maize seed processing factory that is producing 7,000 tons of seed annually. In addition, it helped build 600 greenhouses and 15 starch and noodle processing units along with 200 rural water systems, rehabilitate dozens of local bakeries, and improve 36 machinery workshops.

[Source: www.welthungerhilfe.de]


The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

WHO is an important partner working in the DPRK to help alleviate the chronic health problems of the country through health/medical programme development and capacity building.

In 2010, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in concert with UNICEF and WHO, allocated $41 million to fight TB in the DPRK.

In 2014 WHO cooperated on health programmes and capacity building in the DPRK with the following partners:

  • Bilaterals: Republic of Korea (ROK), Italian Cooperation and Development (ITDC), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Multilaterals: GAVI Alliance, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria (GFATM), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), European Union Programme Support (EUPS)
  • INGOs: The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN), Christian Friends of Korea, Eugene Bell’s Foundation, University of Stanford, USA

The Global Health Observatory (GHO) is WHO’s online gateway to health-related statistics from around the world. It is a very important source of up to date information on the health status and statistics of the DPRK.

[Sources: Wikipedia and www.who.int]

Wild Fire

An unplanned, unwanted wildland fire including unauthorized human-caused fires, escaped wildland fire use events, escaped prescribed fire projects, and all other wildland fires where the objective is to put the fire out.

[Source: NWCG via #ReliefWeb]

World Vision International

World Vision “is a relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by Christian values, it is dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people”.

[Source: Sphere Project Board]


Water and Sanitation Program.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]




Sources of the terms used in #ReliefWeb entries

ALNAP: ALNAP 7th Review of Humanitarian Action, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, 2008

CERF: CERF Facts, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2008

CRID: Glossary for Natural Disasters, the Regional Disaster Information Center, updated online

DI: Global Humanitarian Assistance, Development Initiatives, 2007/2008

FEWER: Thesaurus and Glossary of Early Warning and Conflict Prevention Terms, by Alex P. Schmid, Forum for Early Warning and Early Response, 1998

FIVIMS: Glossary, Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems, updated online

FTS: FTS Glossary &dash; Definition of Humanitarian Aid (for Statistical Purposes), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2005

GLIDE: GLIDE Working Group, Global Identifier Number, 2006

Global Symposium+5: Global Symposium +5 on Information for Humanitarian Action &dash; Final Report, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2008.

HR: Humanitarian Reform Questions, updated online on http://www.humanitarianreformforum.org

IASC: Inter-Agency Contingency Planning Guidelines for Humanitarian Assistance, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2007

ISDR: UN/ISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2008

ITIC: Tsunami Glossary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO &dash; International Tsunami Information Centre, 2006

NWCG: Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology, National Wildfire Coordinating Group, 2006

OCHA: Glossary of Humanitarian Terms &dash; In relation to the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2003

OCHA/DI: Review of OCHA Emergency Response Funds (ERFs), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/ Development Initiatives, 2007

ODI: Review of the Role and Quality of the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), Overseas Development Institute, 2006

Sphere: The Sphere Handbook, The Sphere Project, 2004

UN DHA: Internationally agreed glossary of basic terms related to Disaster Management, UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, 1992

UN HABITAT: http://www.unhabitat.org (this web site may have changed since 2008 when the citations were made)

UNHCR: UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2008

UNHCR Technical Glossary: Glossary of Technical Vocabulary for Operational Data Management, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2006

Master Glossary of Terms &dash; Rev. 1, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2006

USGS: U.S. Geological Survey, definitions updated online

WMO: Severe Weather Information Centre, Terminologies used in the region of the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, World Metrological Organization, updated online

World Bank: HIV/AIDS Glossary, updated online

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