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As stated in the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s progress report “In Larger Freedom”, of March 2005, there is a clear need to strengthen field coordination structures, notably by better preparing and equipping United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs), strengthening the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) and ensuring that sufficient and flexible resources are immediately available to support these field structures.

In 2018, the effective coordination of humanitarian action in the field hinges upon humanitarian coordination leaders: the HCs or Resident Coordinators (RCs). In effect, while the primary responsibility for coordinating humanitarian assistance rests with national authorities, if international humanitarian assistance is required the HC or RC is responsible for leading and coordinating the efforts of humanitarian organizations (both UN and non-UN) with a view to ensuring that they are principled, timely, effective and efficient, and contribute to longer-term recovery.

Strengthening the humanitarian coordination leadership function – one of the three pillars of Humanitarian Reform and an integral part of the Transformative Agenda – is pursued on four tracks:

  1. Promoting dialogue and building consensus among humanitarian partners on key normative issues relating to humanitarian coordination leadership
  2. Expanding the pool of potential HCs;
  3. Improving the leadership and coordination skills of HCs, RCs, and UNCTs and
  4. Ensuring that HCs and RCs get the support they need to be effective.