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Table 5 Timeline of key accountability norms, principles, and codes of conduct*

From: Accountability strategies for sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in humanitarian settings: a scoping review

1997: Sphere project launched.
2003: Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) launched and quality and accountability standards start to be developed through engagement with many humanitarian agencies and affected people.
2003: The HAP Standard in Accountability and Quality Management and its corresponding certification scheme was launched.
2003: UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin was issued, outlining a zero-tolerance policy toward SEA, and obliging UN staff to report incidents of abuse. The Bulletin is binding on all UN staff, including all agencies and individuals who have cooperative agreements with the UN.
2005: Groupe URD, an independent think tank, launched the Quality COMPASS, which contains 12 quality criteria.
2006: Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) statement of Commitment Eliminating SEA by UN and Non- UN Personnel, which broadened the international commitment to fight SEA by establishing standards of conduct that are applicable to all personnel at all times, including when off duty and on leave.
2011: “The Transformative Agenda” was finalizedby the IASC principals, with a focus on improved leadership, coordination and accountability. An IASC task force developed Commitments on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP); the larger IASC then agreed to incorporate these commitments into policies and operational guidelines, and to promote them within the clusters and humanitarian country teams.
2012: The IASC Task Force on Accountability to Affected Populations was established to support the implementation of the AAP commitments across the humanitarian field.
2012: Ground Truth Solutions, an international NGO, was founded to independently gather feedback from crisis- affected people to share with humanitarian agencies and the sector at large.
2012: IASC Minimum Operating Standards for the prevention of SEA were issued, providing guidance and specific indicators on how organizations can set up internal structures to fulfil their commitments to prevent SEA.
2014: The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) was launched, replacing HAP and the People in Aid standards; the standards were then integrated into the Sphere handbook.
2014: The IASC Task Force on Accountability to Affected Populations and the Task Force on PSEA were combined.
2015: People in Aid, Groupe URD, and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership merged to become the CHS Alliance.
2015: The Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative, an international NGO, was set up following the launch of the Core Humanitarian Standard to provide verification and certification services to NGOs seeking third party assessment of their performance against the CHS.
2015: UNFPA Minimum Standards for Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence in Emergencies was issued, to provide practical guidance on the prevention and mitigation of gender-based violence in emergencies.
2016: The Grand Bargain was launched. It reflects a commitment of signatories, many humanitarian agencies and donors, to enhance local control over the humanitarian response and to improve the effectiveness humanitarian action.
2017: The IASC AAP commitments were revised to align with the CHS and were fully endorsed by the executive heads of 18 United Nations and non-UN organizations that form the IASC.
2018: A revised Quality & Accountability COMPASS was issued, containing a series of recommendations, processes, and tools that were specifically designed to help international aid projects implement the Core Humanitarian Standard in all sectors, contexts, and operational zones.
2018: The revised Sphere Handbook was published; the principles and content of the CHS are reflected throughout the revised Handbook.
2018: IASC issued revised Commitments on Accountability to Affected Populations, and the Guidance Note for Principals and Senior Managers for both the organisational and collective levels was endorsed by the IASC AAP/PSEA Task Team.
2018: IASC issued a plan for Accelerating PSEA in the Humanitarian Response, with particular focus on ensuring stronger PSEA structures in countries.
  1. *In addition to principles and codes of conduct, this box also includes technical standards to provide readers with a full chronology of related developments