Welcome to the new-look Humanitarian Exchange! This edition, coedited with ALNAP’s John Mitchell and Paul Knox-Clarke, is dedicated to accountability in humanitarian action. In their overview article our coeditors reflect on the underlying rationales – both moral and practical – we use to justify our commitments to improving accountability, and whether our understanding of accountability has changed in the decade since the “accountability revolution” last featured in Humanitarian Exchange.

One of the areas in which little has been achieved so far is in relation to collective accountability. In their articles Andy Featherstone and Gwyn Lewis and Brian Lander analyse the ‘collective accountability deficit’, outlining the IASC principals’ commitments and plans and calling for a step-change in how the diverse elements of the humanitarian system account to each other. Riccardo Polastro explores the role of Real-Time Evaluations in improving humanitarian response, and Charles-Antoine Hofmann looks at the difficult question of NGO certification. Jonathan Potter highlights the importance of human resources management policies and practices in demonstrating accountability to an agency’s staff. Margie Buchanan-Smith looks at humanitarian leadership and accountability, while Corinna Kreidler examines the role of donors in enhancing quality and accountability. Accountability frameworks and systems are explored in articles by Annie Devonport and Cait Turvey Roe, Mike Wisheart and Amy Cavender and David Bainbridge. Jérôme Larché argues the need for NGOs to adopt proactive and transparent approaches to dealing with corruption, while an article by the IASC Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse looks at the sensitive subject of sexual abuse by UN and NGO personnel. Imogen Wall and Gregory Gleed present case examples of communications and local perspectives of the Haiti emergency response, and the issue concludes with an article by Karyn Beattie looking at NGO accountability in South Sudan.

Issue 52 articles