The United Nations works to address humanitarian concerns around the world in varying capacities. While human beings and their welfare are at the center of the majority of the UN’s work, there are four lead agencies which coordinate, lead, and advocate for improved responses to humanitarian needs and crises.


United Nations organizations works with humanitarian partners around the world to identify the most critical humanitarian needs, plan responses and determine the budgets needed to address them. At the country level, they help partners to build common strategies and implementation plans and to appeal for funds as a group. This ensures that resource mobilization and financing are based on a thorough needs evaluation, making aid more effective, efficient and predictable.

2017 OCHA Overview

Recent Headlines

UN News Center – Humanitarian Aid

Lead UN Agencies





U.S. Government Resources

USAID: Working in Crises and Conflict


Additional Resources

American Red Cross: International Services

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Relief Web: