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Humanitarian response plans (HRPs) are required for any humanitarian crisis requiring the support of more than one agency, and are prepared by humanitarian country teams (HCTs) based on a humanitarian needs overview. In-depth guidance and templates are available, as well as a collection of tools and best practice

Place in the Programme Cycle

HRPs build upon humanitarian needs overviews which provide the evidence base and analysis of the magnitude of the crisis and identify the most pressing humanitarian needs. These needs inform the strategic objectives in the HRP. The various cluster plans follow from these strategic objectives.

Humanitarian response plans are primarily management tools for the humanitarian coordinator (HC) and HCT. In addition however they can be used to communicate the scope of the response to an emergency to donors and the public, and thus serve a secondary purpose for resource mobilization. Response monitoring in turn follows the strategic plan, as it seeks to determine whether the goals and targets set in the HRP are actually achieved.

Strategies vs. plans

HRPs are made up of two components:

  • a country strategy consisting of a narrative, strategic objectives and indicators, and
  • cluster plans consisting of objectives, activities and accompanying projects, which detail implementation and costing of the strategy.

Country strategy

The HC and HCT formulate the country strategy, relying on a broad consultation depending on the context of the response as well as cluster coordinators. The country strategy will set the strategic objectives for the response and explain how the humanitarian community intends to fulfil those objectives. The objectives will, as much as possible:

  • be governed by the needs and priorities specified in the HNO
  • be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound)
  • be results-based, which is to say they will describe the desired outcomes

Cluster plans

Cluster plans will be prepared after the country strategy, and specify what the clusters will do to contribute to the strategic objectives. In line with good practice, they will be specific about their activities, planned outputs and targets.