Response Monitoring

This page provides OCHA perspectives on monitoring and recommendations for country offices on the preparation and conduct of response monitoring of Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) or other collective humanitarian plans. Current efforts focus on response monitoring, with situation and needs monitoring elements to be strengthened in the future. 

Response Monitoring is a continuous process which tracks the humanitarian assistance delivered to affected populations compared to targets set out in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). 
The purpose of response monitoring is two-fold:

  1. It provides humanitarian actors with an evidence base for making decisions about what actions should be taken to redress shortcomings, fill gaps and/or adjust the HRP, contributing to a more effective and efficient humanitarian response, in the short and long term.
  2. It serves to improve accountability of the humanitarian community for the achievement of results under the HRP towards affected populations, local governments, donors and the general public.

Humanitarian Affairs Officers and Information Management Officers in charge of monitoring are supported by materials gathered in the monitoring package presented below, and HPC tools, notably the Response Planning Module (RPM) and the Projects Module (PM).
Field support is provided by OCHA Regional Offices and OCHA’s Assessment, Planning and Monitoring Branch (APMB) in Geneva and Istanbul.

The inter-agency agreed 2024 HPC package includes guidance and instructions on monitoring and can be found here:

At present, there is no inter-agency agreed guidance encompassing situation, needs and response monitoring. In addition to the above documents from the HPC package, complementary guidance exists on response monitoring. Whilst some documents are inter-agency agreed other documents are tailored towards an OCHA-internal audience. 

This table provides an overview of the monitoring package and their respective status:

REFDocument NameDescriptionLanguageDateStatus
1Monitoring Plan
1aHRP Monitoring Plan TemplateTemplate – WordEN-FR-ESSeptember 2023OCHA document
1bHRP Monitoring Framework TemplateTemplate – ExcelEN-FR-ESSeptember 2023OCHA document
2Monitoring GuidanceGuidance – PDFEN-FRNovember 2015Inter-agency agreed
3PowerPoint Tutorials
3aIntroduction to MonitoringTutorial – Recorded PPTEN-FR-ESSeptember 2023OCHA document
3bMonitoring the HRPTutorial – PPTEN-FR-ESMay 2023OCHA document
3cUsing IndicatorsTutorial – PPTEN-FR-ESSeptember 2023OCHA document
4aHumanitarian Indicator RegistryGuidance – ExcelENJanuary 2024Inter-agency agreed
4bUsing IndicatorsTutorial – PPTEN-FR-ESMay 2023OCHA document
4cIndicators Calculation MethodGuidance – PDFEN-FR-ESApril 2023OCHA document
5Population Figures
5aHumanitarian ProfileGuidance – PDFENApril 2016Inter-agency agreed
5bMeasuring and Aggregating Population FiguresGuidance – PDFEN-FR-ESFebruary 2022OCHA document
5cCBPF: Aggregation of People Targeted Guidance – PDFENFebruary 2022OCHA document
6Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR)Guidance – PDFEN-FRNovember 2015Inter-agency agreed
7Humanitarian DashboardToolkitENInter-agency agreed
8Monitoring in an EmergencyGuidance – PDFEN-FR-ESMarch 2021OCHA document
9Other Information Management ProductsWebsiteENOCHA documents
Please note that OCHA documents are not to be shared in a way which would suggest endorsement at inter-agency level.

  • Monitoring Plan is a document prepared by the Inter-cluster coordination group (ICCG) at the beginning of the year. It summarizes what data will be collected by all humanitarian actors, how and when, where it will be stored, how it will be analyzed, and how the information gathered will be shared, at scheduled intervals or in real-time, for internal purposes (organizations, clusters, ICCG, HCT and HC) as well as external information (people affected, local government, media, general public). Please see respective page for detailed information on 3 elements suggested to be included in the monitoring plan as well as template documents.
  • Monitoring Guidance was produced in 2016. It sets the basis for a common approach to response monitoring. The document has not been updated since then. Its key messages are still relevant. However, some elements are outdated.
  • Humanitarian Population Figures:
    a) Humanitarian Profile setting a common approach on population figures, how to categorize, how to count, and aggregate. As it was not updated since then, it is out of date on some aspects. The “onion model” remains valid.
    b) Estimating Population Figures elaborating on how to estimate people reached at country level (HRP). 
    c) CBPF: Aggregation of Population Targeted elaborating on how to estimate people reached at country-based pooled fund (CBPF) level. 
  • Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR) templates are set of documents offering template and explanations for presenting the progress of the HRP response during the year. The publication of a PMR is not mandatory and the template can be adapted in a flexible way. 

Monitoring should encompass the following steps:

  • In the OCHA country team, a monitoring focal point is identified in the coordination unit, and one in the IM unit; 
  • For each cluster, the cluster coordinator designates one monitoring focal point;
  • While preparing the HRP, indicators are selected and targets are set against the strategic objectives, specific objectives, and cluster objectives of the HRP. These are presented in the HRP and entered in RPM for display in Humanitarian Action. This is the basis for monitoring over the duration of the HRP (usually the calendar year);
  • After completing the preparation of the HRP, the ICCG produces a monitoring plan, to steer and focus monitoring processes. This plan presents how the HRP will be monitored throughout the year, both for humanitarian actors, and external audiences;
  • The monitoring plan is presented, discussed and endorsed by the HCT. This is not mandatory. It may be useful as a strategic move to get the buy-in from all stakeholder: Either the HCT will accept what is proposed, or the HCT may ask for a more ambitious monitoring plan for consideration of OCHA and the ICCG which may be possible if necessary resources are provided;
  • Once finalized and endorsed, the monitoring plan is shared with all: OCHA, clusters coordinators, all participating actors, government, donors, …;
  • Along the year, OCHA monitoring focal points ensure that the monitoring activities are conducted as foreseen in the monitoring plan: data collection and analysis, discussions at the ICCG when necessary, data display in Humanitarian Action, preparation of reports, etc; 
  • The ICCG produces the monitoring reports under the agreed format, and according to the agreed schedule, and submits them to the HCT;
  • The reports are made publicly available, if decided by the HCT.