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Table of Contents


Please note the food sector is not a cluster at the global level as it was not identified as a gap area during the humanitarian reform process. However, food clusters may and do exist at the field level when required.

Source: Humanitarian Reform website

Useful documents: Global Cluster Participants

To see details of humanitarian reform in action and cluster approach can be found at:

Source: OCHA

Aim of Cluster Approach

The cluster approach aims to strengthen overall response capacity as well as the effectiveness of the response in five key ways:


Clusters can be activated in the event of a sudden major new emergency requiring a multi-sectoral response with the participation of a wide range of international humanitarian actors as well as during ongoing emergencies. Specific circumstances are:

  • when the Humanitarian Coordinator(HC)/ Resident Coordinator (RC) informs the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC);
  • when the ERC informs the global cluster leads; and
  • when the global cluster leads assess a situation to determine that there is a need.


See the Terms of reference for sector leads at the country level for specific responsibilities of cluster leads at the country level.


1)  UN DMTP (1997) Disaster Management Ethics

2)  ICRC (2004) What is humanitarian lawHumanitarian Law?

3) Humanitarian Reform4)   OCHA/Humanitarian Funding

54)  OCHA/About OCHA