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Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP)

Last updated: 07 Nov 2022


IOM's Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) Framework provides an overview of IOM's commitments to and actions on AAP, as well as definitions and explanations about the rationale and internal and external policies shaping the Organization's approach. IOM adheres to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)'s definition of AAP as "an active commitment by humanitarian actors to use power responsibly by taking account of, giving account to, and being held to account by the people they seek to assist."

In recent decades, the international humanitarian community has placed greater emphasis on AAP as essential to ensure that program beneficiaries and other community members are included in decision-making processes, to promote the participation and leadership of local stakeholders, and to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). AAP also considers and aims to reduce unequal power dynamics between providers of humanitarian aid and the populations they intend to assist, in order to better respect affected populations' dignity and rights.

In line with the 2011 Transformative Agenda and the 2016 Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain, IOM applies AAP to its own operations and in its work within Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) and in collaboration with other partners. Beyond these external principles, this Framework builds on IOM's relevant strategic documents such as the Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF), the Gender Equality Policy, the staff Standards of Conduct, and the Policy and Procedures for Preventing and Responding to SEA.

IOM AAP Framework


The Framework summarizes the Organization's key AAP-related terminology, principles, commitments, and objectives. It also contextualizes IOM's work on AAP within relevant international humanitarian standards and IOM's internal policies, particularly on SEA and the MCOF. The terminology list defines how IOM understands and uses different concepts and their scope within the Framework. The Framework's inter-connected operational commitments and objectives center the rights, perspectives, and capacities of affected populations with the goal of maximizing their information and involvement relative to decision-making and programming that affects them.



  • Do no harm
  • Non-discrimination
  • Zero tolerance for SEA
  • Principled humanitarian action
  • Protection
  • Data Protection


Operational Commitments and Objectives

  • Leadership: Strengthen leadership and systems to embed good practices within the organization's management structures and ensure compliance of IOM staff and implementing partners.
  • Information-sharing and transparency: Protect and promote the right to information and two-way communication with affected people.
  • Participation: Involve populations to influence and shape the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities and decision-making processes throughout the full project cycle.
  • Complaints and feedback mechanism: Establish diverse and contextually appropriate mechanisms that enable communities to provide feedback on programs and submit complaints, and that activate appropriate processes and procedures to provide a timely response.
  • Partner coordination: Collaborate with peers and partners to deliver on AAP principles and commitments in a coordinated and coherent way, including collective responsibility in inter-agency contexts.

The Framework provides operational examples to apply each commitment in IOM's work.

Relevance to IOM’s Emergency Operations

The AAP Framework defines IOM's mandatory approach to implementing and mainstreaming AAP principles, commitments, and objectives throughout its work in crisis contexts. This Framework is complementary to the IOM AAP SharePoint, which provides tools and operational guidance for AAP-related interventions. The Framework helps the Organization provide high quality programming that responds to beneficiaries' needs and aligns with its internal standards and commitments as a member of the humanitarian community.

The Framework also delineates the responsibilities of different offices and staff levels for implementing activities and reporting on AAP across IOM's programming. Although the Framework focuses on IOM activities in crisis situations, some AAP elements are relevant to the Organization's work in other contexts, such as transition, recovery, stabilization, and risk reduction.



For additional information, please reach out to AAP@iom.int.

Key Points

  • IOM and other members of the humanitarian community have committed to AAP principles and practices to improve humanitarian aid and make it more responsive to, respectful of, and inclusive of the populations it is intending to serve.

    IOM's AAP Framework establishes the Organization's common approach for implementing and mainstreaming AAP throughout its crisis-related work.
  • The AAP Framework is mandatory and summarizes IOM's key definitions, principles, and operational commitments and objectives as related to AAP.

    The Framework considers both international norms and practices and references and is relevant to existing internal policies.

    Any future institutional frameworks and strategies must also consider this Framework.
  • The AAP SharePoint portal contains numerous resources for understanding and implementing AAP in practice including informational videos, frequently asked questions, guidance per operational commitment, country-specific examples, and events and webinars, including, recordings of past webinars.