Established by

General Assembly

Year established


Lead agency


Stephen O'Brien (Chair) Emergency Relief Coordinator OCHA

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. The IASC was established in June 1992 in response to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182 on the strengthening of humanitarian assistance. General Assembly Resolution 48/57 affirmed its role as the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. Under the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the IASC develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and advocates for effective application of humanitarian principles. Together with Executive Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA), the IASC forms the key strategic coordination mechanism among major humanitarian actors.

The IASC’s primary objectives are: 

  • to develop and agree on system-wide humanitarian policies 
  • to allocate responsibilities among agencies in humanitarian programmes 
  • to develop and agree on a common ethical framework for all humanitarian activities 
  • to advocate for common humanitarian principles to parties outside the IASC (v) to identify areas where gaps in mandates or lack of operational capacity exist and 
  • to resolve disputes or disagreement about and between humanitarian agencies on system-wide humanitarian issues.