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In December 2005 the IASC Principals designated global cluster leads for nine sectors or areas of activity which in the past either lacked predictable leadership in situations of humanitarian emergency, or where there was considered to be a need to strengthen leadership and partnership with other humanitarian actors. This complements those sectors and categories of population where leadership and accountability are already clear, e.g. logistics (led by WFP), refugees (led by UNHCR) and education, led by UNICEF.
 

The global cluster leads, together with their partners, provide the following types of support to strengthen field response:

  • Technical surge capacity (e.g. camp management and coordination staff, early recovery advisors, Logistics Response Teams, Health Emergency and Assessment Response Teams);
  • Trained experts to lead cluster coordination at the field level;
  • Increased stockpiles, some pre-positioned within regions (e.g. emergency shelter materials);
  • Standardised technical tools, including for information management;
  • Agreement on common methods and formats for needs assessments, monitoring, and benchmarking; and
  • Best practices and lessons learned from field-tests.

There is a number of definitions on cluster leads that were agreed by the IASC Working Group:

Global Cluser Lead Agency: this is an agency/organization at global level that has been designated by the IASC as cluster lead agency for a particular sector.

Cluster Lead Agency (Country Level): this is an agency or organization that has been designated by the Resident and/or Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) as cluster lead agency for a particular sector at the country level, following consultations with the Humanitarian Country Team. (A cluster lead agency at the country level need not necessarily be the same agency/organization as the Global Cluster Lead Agency for that sector).

Global Cluster Coordinator: This is a person who has been designated as global cluster coordinator by the Global Cluster Lead Agency. This person is responsible for the day-to-day coordination and facilitation of the work of global cluster.

Cluster Coordinator (Country Level): this is a person who has been designate as cluster coordinator by the cluster lead agency at the country level. This person is responsible for the day-to-day coordination and facilitation of the work of the cluster.