The Global Shelter Cluster (GSC) is an Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) coordination mechanism that supports people affected by natural disasters and internally displaced people affected by conflict with the means to live in safe, dignified and appropriate shelter. The GSC enables better coordination among all shelter actors, including local and national governments, so that people who need shelter assistance get help faster and receive the right kind of support.
The GSC is is a public platform co-chaired by IFRC and UNHCR at the global level, it has 44 partners who participate on a regular basis. IFRC is convener of the Shelter Cluster in natural disasters while UNHCR leads the Shelter Cluster in conflict situations.
To support the shelter preparedness, relief and recovery process, the Cluster operates on two levels:
- At the global level, the GSC strengthens system-wide preparedness and increases technical capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies through improved coordination and support for country-level shelter clusters.
- At the country level, Shelter Coordination Teams ensure a predictable, effective response by mobilizing groups of agencies, non-government organizations, local and national governments, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to respond in a strategic and accountable manner.
The various needs of affected households for safety, privacy, protection and livelihood activities must be addressed through approaches that are appropriate to the specific context and the availability of resources. Rather than simply providing pre-determined shelter products or stand-alone solutions such as tents or pre-fabricated shelters, humanitarian actors use a variety of methods to provide support to the affected people. These include the provision of basic shelter materials, technical support, cash-based assistance, awareness-raising and promotion of safe shelter and settlement practices, rental support, or a combination of these and other approaches. Some of these methods involve construction, but many others do not. The GSC supports these different approaches, which build upon and support local solutions.
- The Global Shelter Cluster collects, analyses, discusses and shares best practice and lessons learned worldwide, to ensure that men, women and children affected by conflicts and natural disasters get the best possible assistance.
- The Global Shelter Cluster recognizes and supports the contributions made by national shelter stakeholders, such as governmental authorities, local organizations and the affected households themselves, to achieve durable shelter and settlement solutions.
- The Global Shelter Cluster acknowledges the need to ensure a comprehensive and integrated response and the essential role of shelter to support protection and early recovery. Thus, the Global Shelter Cluster works closely with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other global clusters to ensure inter-cluster coordination, in particular with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, Education, Early Recovery, and Protection.
Learn more about the Shelter cluster here.