Although numerous technical logistics standards and guidance tools exist in the aid sector, most are organisation centred and few are universally endorsed.

Furthermore, for smaller/local organisations and non-logistics staff often implementing logistics at a small scale, it is a challenge to translate high-level principles into applicable and measurable good practice.



Open standards

The development of Standards is following the methodology of “open standards”.

As such they are developed, approved and maintained via a collaborative and consensus driven process, building on the experience and knowledge collected from key actors across the humanitarian logistics sector.


The project is intended to augment previous initiatives, such as the PARCEL project, that aimed to improve the performance of logistics interventions, and help to better align this function to the localisation agenda and commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit under the Grand Bargain. Standards will be aligned with existing humanitarian quality and accountability standards such as the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Protection Principles


The inception phase confirmed interest in the development of updated guidance and recommendations within the main aspects of Supply Chain and Logistics (Procurement, Warehousing, Transport, Distribution, etc.). Other specific area to be considered are the humanitarian identity (principles and protection) and new trends (environment and cash-based interventions). Moreover, the ULS seek to incorporate the lessons being learned on humanitarian logistics from the COVID-19 crisis.


ULS are developed, approved and maintained via a collaborative and consensus driven process with professionals and organisations covering a wide range of logistics fields and cross-cutting topics.The TAG is composed of individuals with skills and experience relevant to the development and use of standards and organizational structures and architecture, who are volunteering their time to contribute to the development of humanitarian supply chain and logistics. It has a central role in the development of the standards.



Since the publication of the DRAFT V1 in early May, the drafting of the ULS will follow an iterative process, building on the feedback received during an open consultations process developed via two modalities:

The DRAFT V1 will be first discussed in regional online consultations from May to June 2020, where logistic experts, academics and humanitarian workers from different geographical areas are invited to provide their feedback and comments to improve the Standards. In June, an online global platform allowing identified users to provide feedback will also be set. Finally, in late September, validation workshops will be held with humanitarian logistics experts aiming to develop a pilot version of the ULS.



AUGUST 2020 - Launch of global consultations and open platform


The DG ECHO has selected Groupe Urgence-Réhabilitation-Développement (Groupe URD), Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), the Instituto de Estudios sobre Conflictos y Acción humanitaria (IECAH) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), through an open call for tender, to support DG ECHO in developing and implementing policies through research, workshop facilitation and the dissemination of results.


The Steering Committee oversees the process. It is composed of representatives of IECAH, ODI and Groupe URD. Throughout the project, the Comittee provides oversight to ensure the project delivers on its objectives, remains within its scope, or where appropriate, approve scope changes; act as a vocal of the initiative through its representative organisations;and approve the pilot version of the Standards at the end of the consultation process.

Inception report

The purpose of this report is to describe the project approach and methodology in detail, and to describe the consultant team activities in the initial phase of the project.

Download Executive Summary