Our new Strategy for 2015-2018, approved  at the 16th General Assembly in Geneva in March 2015, commits us to to harness our diversity, presence and position in advancing NGO priorities in the areas of forced displacement, humanitarian partnership, humanitarian coordination  and humanitarian financing.

ICVA’s vision is:  A world in which crisis-affected populations are effectively protected, assisted and enabled to rebuild their lives and livelihoods with dignity.

ICVA’s mission is: A global network of non-governmental organisations whose mission is to make humanitarian action more principled and effective by working collectively and independently to influence policy and practice.


Guiding Values

  • ICVA’s work is based on the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence

  • ICVA works towards a system that enables people affected by humanitarian crises to receive equitable access to quality assistance and protection;

  • ICVA promotes equitable engagement of NGOs and civil society organisations in an inclusive humanitarian system

  • ICVA promotes innovative approaches to humanitarian policy development and implementation, and offers evidence-based, solutions-oriented advocacy

  • ICVA advocates for governments, the UN and other relevant authorities to fulfill their responsibilities and be accountable to crisis-affected people

Focus Areas

The 2015 – 2018 strategy focuses on four areas: forced displacement, humanitarian partnerships, humanitarian coordination and humanitarian financing. This continues the work on these issues that ICVA has accomplished under the previous strategy and reflects the continued value and relevance of these areas.

Forced displacement was ICVA’s first focus area in 1962 and remains highly relevant today as the ICVA network responds to the overwhelming number of displaced persons.  ICVA prioritises refugee protection as well as promoting responses to internally displaced persons, stateless persons and vulnerable migrants.

Humanitarian partnerships, coordination and financing are among the fundamental components of effective and principled action. Partnership encompasses the quality and basis of relationships among NGOs, the public and private sectors and multilateral organizations. It also involves the sharing and dissemination of knowledge, and engagement with humanitarian principles, and quality and accountability.

Coordination mechanisms are core elements in emergency and protracted operations. Supporting NGOs in understanding, engaging with, and influencing these mechanisms is critically important for ensuring that NGOs are among the decision-makers regarding operational strategies and priorities.

Humanitarian financing concerns reflect the need for adequate and de-politicised funds that are maximally effective for people affected by crisis. While NGOs are essential actors in effective humanitarian work, international NGOs currently only receive a small proportion of multilateral funding, and national NGOs even less.

1. Forced Displacement

Objective: NGOs strengthen protection, assistance and durable solutions for refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and vulnerable migrants.

ICVA will:

  • Support collective NGO advocacy by facilitating statements, positions and action on critical issues pertaining to forced displacement

  • Improve institutional engagement between NGOs and organizations such as UNHCR by facilitating partnership initiatives and consultations to better serve displaced persons

  • Influence practice on the ground by promoting improved understanding of and synergy between global policies and operational realities.


2. Humanitarian Coordination

Objective: NGOs actively influence and engage in humanitarian coordination mechanisms to ensure they are inclusive, contextualised and provide effective assistance and protection of those affected by crisis.

 ICVA will:

  • Influence global humanitarian policy on coordination and leadership particularly through the IASC

  • Influence inter-agency coordination mechanisms at country and regional levels by monitoring coordination activities, and providing constructive analysis and advocacy on NGO participation, particularly by national NGOs 

  • Enhance NGO coordination by supporting regional and country-based NGO coordination bodies through peer-support mechanisms, and analyzing and disseminating best practice and relevant resources 


3. Humanitarian Partnerships

Objective: NGOs provide leadership in principled humanitarian policy and practice, working in effective partnership with other key humanitarian actors. 

ICVA will:

  • Advocate for policies that ensure better partnership approaches for NGOs by engaging in policy development to strengthen partnership approaches in humanitarian work

  • Support strong NGO partnerships based on the Principles of Partnership by providing platforms for improving NGO partnerships, with particular attention to national NGO capacity support amongst NGOs, UN agencies and other stakeholders

  • Promote learning and dialogue on humanitarian principles and quality and accountability to foster a humanitarian system with affected populations at the core.


4. Humanitarian Financing

Objective: Humanitarian financing meets the needs of populations affected by crises, and NGOs – particularly national NGOs –– understand, influence, and have better access to humanitarian financing.

ICVA will:

  • Influence policy to strengthen financing mechanisms by promoting NGO engagement on IASC finance platforms and other funding mechanisms

  • Improve NGO access to funding through research, analysis and tracking of NGO experiences (particularly national NGOs) in accessing humanitarian funding and by promoting best practice

  • Improve NGO understanding of humanitarian financing mechanisms by providing guidance and learning opportunities for NGOs to better resource humanitarian action.


How ICVA will achieve its objectives:

By utilizing the strength and diversity of its worldwide network and the reach of its regional hubs, ICVA will ensure that a strong and multifaceted NGO voice is represented in the key debates and decision-making forums that affect humanitarian action. Specifically, ICVA will:

1.     Support a diverse membership of NGOs working on the frontlines of crises, including effective coordination, and promoting equitable partnership among ICVA members

2.     Advocate for greater inclusion of national NGO voices and leadership in humanitarian practice, policy and decision-making, and their improved access to resources

3.     Exchange and analyse information; strengthen the evidence base for policy change and advocacy; influence and develop policy, and carry out advocacy that reflects and represents the interests of ICVA members

4.     Provide forums for consultation, cooperation and collective action among ICVA members on issues of common interest and increase opportunities to amplify NGO influence and leadership at national, regional and global levels

5.     Support and strengthen the role of ICVA members in humanitarian action to enable them to take informed decisions and improve the accountability and quality of their work

6.     Engage in dialogue and interact with organizations and actors that have a role in, and/or whose work impacts, humanitarian action

7.     Raise humanitarian issues in proactive and effective ways and ensure the views of NGOs are heard in global forums

8.     Foster a system that holds at its core the humanitarian principles and the rights of affected populations

9.     Maintain the support and trust of ICVA’s membership and donors while continuing to ensure diversity, relevance and sustainability of membership and other funders 

10.  Work through the existing structure of a Geneva-based secretariat and regional hubs and assess ICVA’s capacity, member support and funding sustainability expand regional support as requested


If you want to know more you can download the 2015-2018 Strategy English, Arabic. French