Global Norms and Standards

"In its humanitarian efforts, UNICEF is accountable to a body of global norms and standards, both from intergovernmental forums and humanitarian partnerships. These norms and standards include:

  • International human rights law and human rights principles, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
  • International humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, which contributes to defining roles and responsibilities of humanitarian agencies in armed conflict.
  • Humanitarian principles, derived from international humanitarian law and described in General Assembly resolutions, and which are meant to be applied in all humanitarian action.
These include:
Humanity: upholding the principle that all girls, boys, women and men of every age shall be treated humanely in all circumstances by saving lives and alleviating suffering, while ensuring respect for the individual.
Impartiality: ensuring the assistance is delivered to all those who are suffering, based only on their needs and rights, equally and without any form of discrimination.
Neutrality: a commitment not to take sides in hostilities and to refrain from engaging in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

In addition, UNICEF is committed to the 'Do no harm' principle: humanitarian agencies work to ensure that humanitarian action does not inadvertently cause harm, for example, by exposing beneficiaries to violence or discrimination, or by exposing intermediaries or humanitarian implementing partners to security risks, etc.

  • General Assembly resolutions, in particular Resolution 46/182, which creates the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and tasks the United Nations, inter alia, with supporting and strengthening state capacity for emergency response in order to care for the victims of natural disasters and other emergencies.

  • Relevant Security Council resolutions, including those pertaining to the protection of children affected by armed conflict.
  • Existing and emerging global humanitarian standards, including the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere Standards) and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards, which set minimum standards in core areas of humanitarian assistance in order to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disasters and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response." (CCC, 2010)