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The concept of Humanitarian Management of an Aviation Project (HMAP)

The justification for the HMAP is that there is no humanitarian management model or reference frame to assess the efficacy, quality and performance of humanitarian aviation projects.

The structure of HMAP

The concept of Humanitarian Management of an Aviation Project (HMAP) consists of three components:

  • Management of the air transport service project cycle: management of the air service according to the humanitarian or development project cycle management model and logistics approach, and identification of needs to impact assessment, based on humanitarian efficiency criteria
  • Humanitarian management of the air transport service: HMAP analysis brings together two complementary humanitarian air transport management models: 
    • A “policy” model based on commercial efficiency criteria and serving as many as possible in the humanitarian and development community.
    • A “participatory” model based on humanitarian efficiency criteria and serving the specific needs of NGOs, going where others do not or no longer go — the ASF niche.
  • Aeronautical management of the air transport service based on international aviation industry regulations, standards and criteria and requiring an Air Operator's Certificate.

Accountability in the humanitarian sector

Humanitarian organisations have an ethical responsibility that requires them to respect the dignity of victims and to implement all measures to guarantee the excellence of their aid programmes. The efficacy, quality and performance of humanitarian projects and therefore funder investment must be measurable. For 20 years several Quality & Accountability initiatives have focused on defining minimum standards, operational principles and good practices for the humanitarian sector.

The framework or standards of reference for accountability

All measures require humanitarian standards of reference (the “reference frame”) whose objectives and indicators are objectively verifiable. These standards exist for key humanitarian intervention sectors intended for saving lives: Provision of water - Sanitation and promotion of hygiene - Food security and nutrition - Shelters - Human settlements and non-food items - Health intervention. Other standards are implemented for the protection of childhood, livestock, small businesses and education.

The humanitarian intervention management tool: the project

A humanitarian intervention constitutes an appropriate response to the needs clearly identified by sector professionals in collaboration with stakeholders.

  • Offering the most favourable cost-effectiveness ratio possible.
  • Providing specific aid to the greatest number possible given the context.
  • Having a positive, lasting and measurable impact on beneficiaries. 

A project is a complete set of actions undertaken in order to respond to a well-identified need and intended to achieve clearly defined objectives in set periods and with a given budget. These objectives are set out in a humanitarian reference frame defined by the relevant institution.

Creating a humanitarian reference frame for the management of aviation projects

Create a reference frame for the needs that sets out:

  • The paradigms, or reference values
  • The environment in which it takes place
  • The needs of direct and indirect beneficiaries

The reference values for the HMAP concept

The aircraft (type of aircraft and, by extension, the air service) remains a means used to contribute an appropriate response to a crisis situation based on the humanitarian project cycle management approach, and from identification of needs to assessment of the impact.

Use of the aircraft is subject to humanitarian efficiency criteria before commercial efficiency criteria, which shall in any case be considered in permanently seeking the best cost-effectiveness ratio.
Humanitarian management of the air transport service must permanently be set out in a dynamic user accompaniment process to seek solutions to transportation, access or security issues, and so on. 

The environment in which the HMAP concept is set out: the humanitarian operating environment

The humanitarian operating environment can be defined as “the operational environment in which humanitarian stakeholders have a need on the ground to have full access to victims, to be capable of distributing aid and to offer protection without endangering the safety and security of humanitarian workers” (ECHO, 2001)

This fundamental approach to the humanitarian operating environment is focused on “the capacity of humanitarian workers to access populations” or on “the humanitarian operating environment”. For ASF, this translates into “the operational flexibility of stakeholders on the ground” and is considered a dimension of the humanitarian operating environment in the same way as access and security.

The reality of this humanitarian operating environment is that it requires use of humanitarian air transport.

The needs of direct and indirect beneficiaries of the aviation project

The beneficiaries of the aviation projects are:

  • Organisations using the air transport service in their institutional capacity.
  • Groups benefiting from the mandate of the humanitarian organisations.

The needs of humanitarian organisations depend on their specific mandates and their operating modes. In general, these can be distinguished as: 

  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for whom the situation on the ground where they are mostly present greatly imposes a need for operational adaptation and flexibility.
  • The agencies of the United Nations whose operations are much more rigid, planned and subject to centralised decision-making processes.

The humanitarian air transport management model 

Depending on the results expected, the HMAP analysis brings together two complementary humanitarian air transport management models, both professional and requiring the Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). 

  • A policy model based on commercial aviation efficiency criteria and where the expected result is to give access to as many as possible. Naturally, this implies a rigid operation and choices in terms of destinations.
  • A participatory model or “participatory management”, or even “locally-based management”, essentially based on humanitarian efficiency indicators and where the expected result is to cover the specific needs of NGOs in order to ensure efficiency in achieving their mandates. This is the management model in which ASF is a leader.