Emergency and humanitarian action

The Benchmarks

Benchmarks, Standards and Indicators for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Benchmarking is a strategic process often used by businesses to evaluate and measure performance in relation to best practices of their sector. WHO and its partners decided to apply the process of setting benchmarks as a novel approach for increasing performance in emergency preparedness and response. At a regional meeting in Bangkok in November 2005, twelve benchmarks on emergency preparedness and response were formulated by all 11 SEAR member countries.

The Benchmarks are broad in nature as they reflect the consensus of all 11 countries on the desired performance for improving emergency preparedness and response. The twelve benchmarks fall into the categories of 1) human resource development, training and education; 2) planning; 3) legislation and policy; 4) funding; 5) vulnerability assessment; 6) information systems; 7) surveillance; 8) absorbing and buffering capacities and responses; 9) patient care; and 10) coordination.

The framework provided by the Benchmarks is a strong tool for planning emergency preparedness programmes and activities. In order to facilitate monitoring and evaluation of progress against the Benchmarks and analysis of existing gaps, it is necessary to break down the individual Benchmark into its corresponding standards and indicators that spell out the best practices implicitly understood in the benchmarks.