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Humanitarian Practice Network Paper

Year: 2009
The humanitarian community uses many approaches to evidence. Representative initiatives are presented in Table 1. The many different data gatherers, managers, users and donors have prompted recent efforts to inventory and critique these varied approaches. In October 2007, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) began a two-year multisectoral study into the Assessment and Classification of Emergencies (ACE). The terms of reference for the study identified 17 global initiatives relevant to emergency assessment and analysis.1 In the terms of reference of the study, OCHA expressed concern that common definitions of basic terms of the trade were not well-established in the humanitarian community, noting that ambiguity surrounded terms such as ‘humanitarian crisis/ emergency’, ‘vulnerable group’ and ‘affected population’, not to mention ‘evidence’ and ‘evidence-based’: ‘the lack of standardized and universally accepted definitions and indictors’, it was argued, ‘leads to inconsistency in humanitarian action with similar levels of vulnerability in different settings triggering different levels of response’.

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