Background of IHP
In 1994 the UK Department for International Development (DFID – then ODA), the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB – former SRSA) founded the International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) to provide multi-national collaborative support to humanitarian operations in general and the United Nations especially. These three Governmental organisations were joined in 1998 by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB – formerly DCPEP) and the Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC – formerly FRF).
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (N-MFA) joined in 2002 but left again in 2011 while the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB) joined in 2006, the German Agency for Technical Relief (THW) joined in 2009 and the Luxembourg Rescue Services Agency (CGDIS - formerly ASS Luxembourg) joined in 2014. The latest addition to IHP is the Belgian First Aid and Support Team (B-FAST) which became an IHP member in 2018. IHP is supported by a Secretariat and permanent focal point provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva. The partnership currently has nine members: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
IHP is a platform for international cooperation and joining resources, both equipment and staff, thereby strengthening the combined response of the joint IHP members. The goal is to support affected people through helping enhance humanitarian actors’ (primarily the UN but also other humanitarian actors and the EU) responses to both natural disasters and complex emergencies (conflict related). This is acheived by providing appropriate operational, technical and financial support to multilateral organisations engaged in humanitarian assistance around the world.
Ever since its foundation, the IHP has successfully demonstrated the strength of voluntary multi-national cooperation between governmental bodies active in the field of humanitarian assistance. The partnership is structured around mutual aims and objectives, sharing of common values and an operational problem solving mind-set. IHP is governed by a network structure with no binding agreements amongst the countries. The partnership is managed by a rotating chair system. These factors have ensured an understanding of IHP as an example of timely, effective and appropriate humanitarian response.
All the IHP members are a part of, and supported and funded by their respective governments.
Aim and objectives
The overall aim of IHP is to enhance emergency response efforts through supporting operational actors within the field of humanitarian assistance and coordination in order to save lives and reduce the impact of conflicts and natural disasters.
The objectives of IHP are to:
- Enhance operational capacity in emergencies through deployment of specialized surge capacity (experts and equipment) to multilateral organisations.
- Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness in emergencies.
- Strengthen coordination of humanitarian assistance and facilitate information sharing as well as encourage cooperation between various actors in emergencies.
- Provide a practical demonstration of donor government cooperation and coordination.
- Enhance emergency preparedness, through capacity building, trainings and exercises.