Global uptake of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership over its first ten years

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014 Aug;29(4):413-6. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X14000673. Epub 2014 Jul 21.


Introduction: Accountability in the delivery of humanitarian aid has become increasingly important and emphasized by the humanitarian community. The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) was created in 2003 in order to improve accountability in the humanitarian sector. HAP acts as a self-regulatory body to the humanitarian system. One of the main goals of HAP is the promotion of accountability through self-regulation by members. Humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can become members by meeting standards of accountability and quality management set by HAP. This report describes the growth of HAP membership by the humanitarian community from its inception until present. Hypothesis/Problem The hypothesis for this study was that HAP membership has grown substantially since inception, both in terms of number of member organizations and annual budgets of member organizations, but that near universal membership has not yet been achieved.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted to determine the total number and percentage of humanitarian NGOs that are members of HAP. Total expenditures of HAP members in 2010 also was measured and compared with the total humanitarian expenditure by all humanitarian NGOs for the same year. The reference year of 2010 was chosen in order to be able to compile accurate budgets for the largest possible number of HAP members. The total number of HAP members for the years 2005 through 2012 was divided by the estimated number of humanitarian NGOs active in 2010. The total budgets for HAP members in 2010 were divided by the estimated total humanitarian expenditure of all NGOs for 2010.

Results: As of the beginning of 2012, the percentage of humanitarian NGOs that were members of HAP was 1.6% (68 members out of 4400 organizations). The combined budgets of the member organizations of HAP in 2010 made up 62.9% of the total humanitarian expenditure for the year 2010 (US $4.65 billion/7.4 billion).

Conclusion: A very small proportion of humanitarian NGOs have adopted HAP membership. However, HAP members account for almost two-thirds of all humanitarian expenditures. The humanitarian sector, therefore, remains without a universal regulatory and accountability structure, although progress has been made. Efforts should be made to increase the membership within HAP of more small to medium sized organizations.

MeSH terms

  • Altruism*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Retrospective Studies