36. Policy Framework

This chapter outlines the overarching principles and values that guide CARE’s involvement in all of our work. Every part of CARE, including CARE International Members, COs and individual staff, is responsible for upholding this policy in our work.

CARE’s vision, mission and Humanitarian Mandate Statement set CARE’s highest level internal policy for our humanitarian actions. These are supported by Chapter 4 Emergency management protocols, specific policies outlined at Chapter 5 Key policy issues, and the guidelines and tools provided in the complete CARE Emergency Toolkit. These elements combine to form CARE’s internal humanitarian policy framework. CARE’s internal policy framework is informed by and aligned with international principles, laws and standards for humanitarian action (see section 6).

CARE’s vision and mission statements establish the core mandate of CARE’s work. Responding to emergencies is central to CARE’s vision and mission.

CARE’s mission statement clearly highlights ‘delivering emergency relief’ as central to our work. Our emergency work should also seek to strengthen capacities, address discrimination, influence policy and provide economic opportunity for people and communities affected by emergencies. CARE’s programming principles support CARE’s vision and mission and must be upheld in all of CARE’s programmes.

3.1 CARE’s vision statement

3.2 CARE’s mission statement

3.3 CARE’s programme principles

This statement articulates CARE’s commitment to the humanitarian imperative in line with its vision, mission, and program principles.


  1. Responding to humanitarian emergencies is an essential part of CARE’s work to fight poverty and injustice and we recognize that emergencies are a cause and effect of both. CARE helps people cope with crises through disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, preparedness and post-crisis recovery.


  1. The primary objective of humanitarian response is to meet immediate needs of affected populations in the poorest communities in the world. Recognizing that people have the fundamental right to life with dignity, CARE also strives to address the underlying causes of people’s vulnerability.
  2. CARE is a major force in humanitarian response and has a responsibility as a leader in the sector to demonstrate the highest standards of effectiveness and quality.


  1. CARE is a signatory of and holds itself accountable to accepted international humanitarian principles, standards and codes of conduct, including the Red Cross/Crescent & NGO code of conduct, the Sphere standards, and the Core Humanitarian standards.
  2. CARE adheres to the principle of impartiality so that we provide assistance on the basis of need regardless of race, creed or nationality. CARE is committed to addressing the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly women and children and persons with disabilities, in times of crisis.
  3. CARE upholds the principle of working independently of political, commercial, military, or religious objectives and promotes the protection of humanitarian space.


  1. CARE believes that local capacity can provide the most effective response to emergencies. However, by their very nature, emergencies often overwhelm local capacities, and in such situations CARE will respond in an appropriate, timely and effective way.
  2. CARE will respond wherever we can add value by:
  • Providing additional resources
  • Enhancing the quality of response
  • Committing to longer term solutions
  • Building local capacities
  1. We have a range of response options:
  • Providing direct relief
  • Working with and through partners
  • Advocating with national and international bodies
  • Keeping the general public informed
  • Providing technical guidance on building back safer
  1. CARE develops focused expertise both operationally and at the global policy level in certain specific humanitarian areas.
  2. In keeping with our programming principles, CARE develops both local and international partnerships to strengthen local capacities and to add value through collaborative approaches.
  3. CARE brings a longer-term view to its humanitarian work, including supporting people [to] be less vulnerable to disasters in the first place. Where appropriate, our programs link emergency relief, recovery, and long-term development, and include measures for disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

Emergency response is a top priority within CARE’s 2007 strategic plan. The strategic plan commits CARE to strengthening emergency response capacities to ‘respond more effectively and comprehensively to humanitarian emergencies worldwide and thereby to increase the scope and impact of CI’s emergency programmes, as well as to strengthen donor funding and CI’s profile’ (CARE International Strategic Plan 2007- 2012).

The two specific objectives of CI’s emergency strategy are to:

  • establish across CI overall humanitarian policy and strategy that will guide the confederation’s response to humanitarian suffering
  • strengthen organisational capacities and capability in emergency response and preparedness.

The expected outcomes of this strategy are that:

  • CI’s response to humanitarian disaster will be more timely
  • the quality and accountability of CI’s response to disaster will increase
  • CI will become known for its competence in the three core sectors
  • CI’s emergency revenues will increase substantially
  • a significant portion of CI’s annual outlay on emergency capacity will be recovered.

Some of the key commitments under the strategy include:

  • Where present, CI will respond to all emergencies in operational areas within countries, and all major emergencies in the country.
  • Where CI is not present, or has limited presence, it will consider responding to all major emergencies, whether directly or through on-the-ground partners.
  • CARE will focus on and develop specialised competence in the following core sectors-food/food security, water and sanitation, and shelter.
  • Emergency response will be included as an integral part of CO and regional strategic planning.

A performance metrics system has been developed to measure CARE’s success against the strategy. Data from each emergency response will be measured in terms of timeliness, quality and accountability of response, competence in core sectors, emergency revenue trends-funding, and emergency revenue trends-emergency capacity.

For the full details of the emergency strategy and the performance metrics system please see the following annexes:

Annex 36.2          CARE’s Emergency strategy June 2006
Annex 36.3          CARE International strategic plan 2007-2012 (SD1: Emergency response & preparedness
Annex 36.4          Emergency strategy performance metrics system

CARE is committed to uphold common international humanitarian principles and standards.

The most important of these are outlined in this section. More information is available on these topics at Chapter 9.3 Key policy issuesChapter 32 Quality and accountability, and Chapter 28 Advocacy

6.1 Code of conduct

6.1.1 Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief

6.2 International law

6.3 Common humanitarian standards

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP-International)