The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) established four cross-cutting issues as part of the humanitarian reform agenda in 2005: age; environment; gender; and HIV/AIDS. In addition to these, other areas have been accepted as being important to integrate across humanitarian planning and response.
These include the integration of early recovery into projects and cluster / sector response plans, an approach to make the gains of humanitarian action more sustainable, as well as paying attention to other, often neglected, vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities; ensuring adherence to human rights standards and affording protection to affected populations in all sectors (with special reference to sexual and gender based violence) and mental health and social well-being.
At the request of the request of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Working Group, HelpAge International facilitated an inter-agency review of proposed IASC actions in relation to meeting the needs of older people in humanitarian response. The recommendations of this review were endorsed by the IASC Working Group and member agencies were requested to incorporate the recommendations into their work, with the support of HelpAge International where appropriate. The IASC also committed to circulate the recommendations to global cluster leads and the chairs of the IASC subsidiary bodies.
HelpAge International has a vision of a world in which all older people fulfill their potential to lead dignified, healthy and secure lives. HelpAge International is a global network striving for the rights of disadvantaged older people to economic and physical security; healthcare and social services; and support in their caregiving role across the generations.
Women, girls, boys and men play different roles within the family and community, and have different levels of access to power and resources. They are differently affected by, and find different ways of coping with, emergency. Humanitarian actors must therefore design programmes to meet the needs of young and old, male and female, and ensure that all have safe and equal access to humanitarian assistance. To achieve this, all groups must be consulted and actively participate in needs assessments and decision-making processes.
Understanding gender differences, inequalities, and capacities and responding to them, improves the effectiveness of humanitarian actions. The IASC Sub-Working group on Gender and Humanitarian Action works to support the mainstreaming of gender equality programming in humanitarian action.
Disasters and conflicts, as well as relief and recovery operations, impact the environment in ways that threaten human life, health, livelihoods and security. Failure to address these risks can undermine the relief process, causing additional loss of life, displacement, aid dependency and increased vulnerability. Disaster managers and humanitarian workers can take action to avoid this.
Conflicts and natural disasters, when combined with displacement, food insecurity and poverty, can lead to humanitarian emergencies that have the potential of increasing the vulnerability to HIV infection among affected populations and disrupt vital AIDS services. AIDS has been identified as a multisectoral, cross cutting issue within humanitarian responses.
Mental Health / Psychosocial Support
The IASC website has a dedicated to mental health and psychological supprt web-page with all IASC relevant documents.
In a humanitarian setting, the populations affected by the crisis require life-saving support; their communities, institutions and livelihoods have often been physically destroyed and weakened. Early Recovery programming works to restore services, livelihood opportunities and governance capacity, beginning as early as possible during the emergency phase.
Overall, persons with disabilities do not have equal access to basic services and often experience exclusion from humanitarian interventions. During crises and dis-placement, discrimination is often worsened. Recent experience shows the relevance of adopting a Twin-Track approach aimed at mainstreaming disability into all areas of humanitarian and development practice and supporting specific disability initiatives to empower per-sons with disabilities.
HTP Module on Gender - coming soon
HTP Module 23 "Nutrition of Older people in Emergencies"