UN IASC Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster


The Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster (CCCM) is one of 11 function-based clusters of the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Cluster System and is used to approach humanitarian and emergency relief during disasters. The Cluster Approach ensures the efficient and effective coordination of programming and services related to humanitarian and emergency relief activities by coordinating activities based on function instead of geography or organization.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) co-leads the CCCM Cluster with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In circumstances where camps or informal settlements are required to accommodate international mass displacement or population movements due to disasters from natural hazards, IOM is the lead agency. In circumstances where camps or informal settlements are required due to population movements caused by conflict, UNHCR is the lead agency. The CCCM Cluster involves non-governmental, humanitarian and UN organizations in the management and day-to-day operations of formal and informal emergency camps. These camps are a last resort, with preference given to moving displaced people to new permanent residences or supporting their safe return to their home areas.

The overall goal of the CCCM is to enable a liveable environment for [internally displaced people] in the most vulnerable temporary settlements. This goal highlights traditional CCCM responsibilities of ensuring equitable access to services and protection for displaced persons but with a greater emphasis on promoting the health, safety, and environment of both planned and self-settled sites.” – Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster in Northwest Syria Member Induction Package

In formal camps, the CCCM Cluster is responsible for coordinating all camp-related activities, including those from other clusters such as protection, shelter and WASH. They also serve as a single point of contact for requests and complaints. They support the creation and maintenance of a governance body and community engagement system. In a sense, the CCCM Cluster is similar to an air traffic coordinator, ensuring the timely and accurate provision of services and supplies while serving as an oversight and governance body within the camps.

The UN refers to situations where displaced people have established their own communal living situations as “informal camps.” These may be groups of people who have moved out of an urban area into surrounding rural areas or have been displaced but do not want to live inside an official camp, so they set up a separate camp nearby. When the UNHCR, IOM or other organization becomes aware of an informal camp in an area, they will attempt to contact the camp leaders. These organizations do not force people to move out of the informal camp unless they are willing to go; the option is always there, but the CCCM focuses on identifying and meeting the needs of informal camp residents in the places where they are.

Ultimately, internally displaced people are the responsibility of their government. When formal or informal camps need to be closed or moved, the CCCM may support the work of the government to find a suitable alternate site and move residents from one location to another safely.

When informal camps are located near formal camps or multiple informal camps exist in the same area, the CCCM may seek to coordinate across camps with shared CCCM leadership and local camp liaisons to meet the needs of camp residents. By including informal camps in the camp management structure, the Cluster Lead Agency can ensure that necessities such as food and nutrition, protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can be met for people outside of formal camp settings.

Key Facts

  • The UNHCR and IOM generally do not provide front-line CCCM services. As the cluster co-leads, the UNHCR and IOM are responsible for the guidance and oversight of the cluster but do not typically provide on-the-ground cluster services. Front-line CCCM services are usually provided by a local or national NGO or other authority familiar with the cultural, linguistic, religious and other specific needs of the people who have been displaced.
  • CCCM Cluster members are only responsible for the coordination of services. The CCCM Cluster serves only as a coordination and management group. As the liaison between camp residents and the other cluster sectors such as WASH, Nutrition and Shelter, the CCCM Cluster does not directly provide any of these other activities themselves.
  • Local capacity building is key to the long-term success of the CCCM Cluster. Much of the cluster’s focus is on training and equipping local organizations to support the needs of people in formal or informal camp settings. In their 2021-2023 strategy, three of the cluster’s four goals relate to local capacity building and collaboration: 1) Provide knowledge and skills to enable inclusive and quality programming. 2) Empower and support operational actors to localize CCCM responses. 3) Collaborate with sectors and actors to improve field coordination.

How to Help

  • Provide direct, unrestricted support to local organizations. The CCCM Cluster relies on local organizations to do on-the-ground work in both formal and informal camps. Providing direct support to local organizations will increase the quality of CCCM services and support innovative grassroots ideas and organizations.
  • Provide unrestricted cash donations when possible. Cash donations allow participating organizations to provide products and services that are flexible and responsive to the situation’s needs. Cash can be directed to hiring and training local residents, translating documents and guidance into local languages, enhancing local capacity and capability by opening new training options and other needs as determined by the local circumstances.
  • Fund opportunities for women and girls to be educated and gain leadership opportunities. Expanding opportunities for women and girls to learn about camp management will increase their active participation and leadership opportunities. This increased participation will help ensure that the needs of women and girls, such as protection against gender-based violence (GBV) and reproductive and sexual health, are better recognized and acted upon by camp leadership.
  • Support technology and initiatives that allow people in camps to better engage in community leadership and planning. Participation by camp residents is central to the role of the CCCM Cluster. Community-led initiatives and technological innovations can help facilitate the inclusion of a wide variety of camp residents in the leadership and organization of their camps.

What Funders Are Doing

Camp Coordination and Camp Management are not often directly funded by philanthropy and most often comes from the operating budget of organizations that are providing CCCM services and support.

  • The Wayuu Taya Foundation received $100,000 from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s (CDP) Global Recovery Fund to help ensure that Indigenous communities affected by the humanitarian crisis in Yemen can remain in their place of origin while also providing food, water, medicine, information and support.
  • CDP received a designated gift from an anonymous donor through our former Global Refugee Crisis Fund to support the International Rescue Committee’s programs in Europe. The purpose of this $23,750 grant was to create sustainable and dignified conditions for refugees fleeing to Europe.
  • In 2017, the Women Empowerment Organization received a $20,000 grant from The Global Fund for Women to support their work, strengthening Syrian women refugees’ leadership in Iraq. The grant supported livelihood training and opportunities and worked to ensure that women are represented at the camp management councils with decision-making authorities inside the Syrian refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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(Photo: Syrian refugee camp in the outskirts of Athens. Source: Julie Ricard)