Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is results-based protection?

Results-based protection is a problem-solving approach used to address complexity and the ever-changing environment that surrounds protection issues in humanitarian action. It’s an approach which aims for results – results which are a reduction in actual risk that people face. It underscores the importance of starting from the perspective of those experiencing violence, coercion, and deliberate deprivation, and it embraces aspects of systems-practice, design-thinking, and other comparable methods that emphasize iteration, adaptability, relationships, interconnectedness, and strategic collaboration to achieve protection outcomes. Results-based protection involves certain methods and approaches where changes in behavior, attitudes, policies, knowledge, and practice can be measured as intermediate results that lead to comprehensive risk reduction.

2. What is protection?

The IASC defines protection as: “… all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. International Human Rights Law (IHRL), International Humanitarian Law, International Refugee law (IRL)).”

• Protection of Internally Displaced Persons, Inter Agency Standing Committee Policy Paper, pg.4 December 1999 See also, Giossi Caverzasio, Sylvie (2001) Strengthening Protection in War: a Search for Professional Standards. Geneva: ICRC, p 19.

The definition was originally adopted by a 1999 Workshop of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Protection.

This definition is comprehensive in scope, both in terms of the legal framework for protection (“full respect”) and in terms of the strategies and methods by which protection can be achieved (“all activities”). Fundamentally, protection encompasses efforts pursued by humanitarian actors in all sectors to ensure that the rights of affected persons and the obligations of duty bearers under international law are understood, respected, protected and fulfilled without discrimination.

3. What do you mean by results?

Results-Based Protection refers to “results” as the measurable components of an intervention that contribute to and include the outcome or impact (intended or unintended, positive or negative). Changes in behavior, attitudes, policies, knowledge, and practice are intermediate results that lead to comprehensive risk reduction.

4. What is a protection outcome?

Short, medium, and long-term outcomes are defined and measured by a reduction in risk. Results-based protection aims to reduce risk in violence (such as killing, torture, maiming, rape, etc.), coercion (such as forced recruitment, sexual exploitation, forced/prevented population movements, etc.) and deliberate deprivation (such as discrimination in law and practice, destruction of livelihoods, obstruction of access to aid, etc.).

5. I am not a protection specialist, does RBP still apply to me?

Yes. Solving a protection problem like violence, coercion, and deliberate deprivation is not just for protection specialists. It takes more than one actor to solve a problem. Achieving protection outcomes requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral response that targets various components of risk at multiple levels. This demands a conscious approach to mobilize relevant actors to cultivate complementarity between their roles. See the Voices page to listen to a diverse set of actors applying results-based approaches.
Adopting a results-based approach helps all humanitarian actors to be more analytical, diverse, iterative, reflective, and adaptable during a response. Applying results-based approaches helps us to make informed decisions about measures to mitigate threats, reduce vulnerabilities, and enhance capacities in a timely manner while making course corrections along the way. The approach promotes stronger collaboration and complementarity among actors to achieve comprehensive protection outcomes.

6. What is the difference between results-based management and results-based protection?

As defined by the UN Development Group (UNDG), Results-Based Management is a management strategy by which all actors, contributing directly or indirectly to achieving a set of results, ensure that their processes, products and services contribute to the achievement of desired results (outputs, outcomes and higher-level goals or impact). The actors in turn use information and evidence on actual results to inform decision making on the design, resourcing and delivery of programs and activities as well as for accountability and reporting.
Results-based protection is a problem-solving approach that uses methods that are iterative, analytical, diverse, reflective, and adaptable that help actors make informed decisions about measures that can mitigate threats, reduce vulnerabilities, and enhance capacities in a timely manner while making course corrections along the way.

7. How does results-based protection relate to the GPC and protection clusters in the field?

RBP is a problem-solving approach used to address complex issues/problems like protection. The GPC is a structure within the humanitarian architecture that aims to support both global and field-based coordination for protection. RBP can be used by both the GPC and field clusters when undertaking analysis, strategic planning, engaging other actors, advocacy initiatives, and building capacity. The key elements of RBP are reflected in the IASC Principals Statement on the Centrality of Protection in Humanitarian Action as well the IASC Policy on Protection in Humanitarian Action, and the Global Protection Cluster Guidance on HCT Protection Strategies which seek to operationalize the Centrality of Protection.

8. Does InterAction offer support on RBP through capacity building and technical expertise?

InterAction does not provide training, however, through its core activities, InterAction supports organizations through field-based workshops and interagency roundtables, an on-line repository of resources and materials, and encourages dialogue on the use of results-based approaches through its webinars and learning events.

9. How do I share my experience or questions about using results-based approaches?

We encourage you to share your experience using results-based methods to support protection outcomes. If you have a story, case study, or materials such as a tool, report, or an approach, please upload your example here.

10. How do I get involved in the work of results-based protection?

If you are interested in learning more sign up to receive our regular RBP Update. You can also participate in our webinars and other events. If you represent an NGO and would like to engage in the practitioners’ group monthly calls, please contact Jessica Lenz at If you represent an NGO or a Donor and would like to learn more about the RBP Learning Network and how you can be involved, please contact Jessica Lenz at