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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.

To strengthen the humanitarian coordination leadership function, OCHA works 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 Humanitarian Coordinators;
  3. Improving the leadership and coordination skills of Humanitarian and Resident Coordinators; and
  4. Ensuring that Humanitarian and Resident Coordinators get the support they need to be effective.