About Camp Management

The term camp is used throughout the text to apply to a variety of camps and camp-like settings which include planned camps, self-settled camps, collective centres, reception and transit centres, and evacuation centres.

Key Messages

  • Camps are an option of last resort. They do not provide a permanent sustainable solution but offer temporary provision of protection and assistance, in order to meet the basic human rights of displaced populations.
  • The aim of camp management is to ensure that services and protection provided are in line with national and international laws, guidelines and agreed standards.
  • The humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence represent the ethical foundation for the work of the Camp Management Agency, as for all the other stakeholders carrying out humanitarian work in emergencies.
  • In coordinating the delivery of protection and assistance, the Camp Management Agency refers to different types of international standards, such us the Sphere standards, those of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Network for Education in Emergency (INEE), the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS), the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) gender guidelines.
  • Camp management is based on the key instruments of international law – international humanitarian law and human rights law – which comprehensively codify the rights of refugees at the international level. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are protected by human rights law and associated instruments, as they maintain their full legal status as civilians in their own country.
  • The types of settlements where IDPs and refugees can temporarily seek assistance and protection take a variety of forms. These settlements are marked by continuous change. The Camp Management Agency's role will vary according to the phase the camp has reached in its evolution. A camp’s life cycle is generally described in three phases: set-up, care and maintenance and closure. 
  • Residence in a camp is never to be considered a durable solution. Rather, it is always a temporary response to a situation of displacement. For IDPs and refugees, achievement of a durable solution is the key to ending displacement and has to be taken into consideration from the beginning of the camp response. There are three types of durable solutions: repatriation/return, local integration or resettlement. 
  • The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster or Sector Lead Agency strives to achieve an effective and efficient coordinated humanitarian response in situations where internally displaced populations are forced to seek refuge in camps and camp-like settings. The cluster does not promote camps. Instead it seeks to end encampment of displaced persons through the promotion of durable solutions. 
  • A variety of national authorities, humanitarian agencies, community volunteers, private sector and civil society stakeholders will be involved in the running of a camp along with camp population and host community. As a result, the Camp Management Agency will need to work in close coordination with a variety of actors. 
  • The Camp Management Agency must demonstrate accountability in its activities towards affected persons and communities, as well as towards all other stakeholders in a camp response, including service providers, the national authorities, donors and security providers.
  • In 2012, the IASC set out five Commitments to Accountability to Affected Populations. These highlight the following areas where humanitarian organisations, including the Camp Management Agency, should ensure accountability: leadership and governance, transparency, feedback and complaints, participation and design, monitoring and evaluation.