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Common Needs Assessments and humanitarian action

Date
Time (GMT +01) 13:30 15:30

Chair:
Wendy Fenton
– Coordinator, Humanitarian Practice Network

Speakers:
Richard GarfieldProfessor, Assessment Team, Columbia University

Primary author, Network Paper 69
James Darcy – Senior Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI

Loretta Hieber-Girardet - Disaster and Vulnerability Policy Section, OCHA

Discussant:
Randolph Kent –
Director, Humanitarian Futures Programme, Kings College London

Description

Network Paper 69 summarises the basic characteristics of a Common Needs Assessment and reviews experience in using assessments in recent years. The authors note that while good CNAs can help to develop a better joint understanding of needs, capabilities, and appropriate response, in trying to meet too many objectives, CNAs have sometimes failed to live up to this potential. Carrying out a CNA takes time and resources; even when funds and experienced assessors are available, results have not always been useful or timely. Drawing on field experience from more than a dozen CNAs, this paper identifies the opportunities, costs and trade-offs involved in carrying them out and provides an overview of steps which can be taken to avert common problems.