In international responses to humanitarian crises, some sectors have in the past benefitedfrom having clearly mandated lead agencies, while others have not. This has repeatedly ledto ad hoc, unpredictable humanitarian responses, with inevitable capacity and responsegaps in some areas. Recognizing this, in September 2005 the Inter-Agency StandingCommittee (IASC) agreed to designate global œcluster leads? “ specifically forhumanitarian emergencies “ in nine sectors or areas of activity. The IASC Principals alsoagreed that the cluster approach should be applied, with some flexibility, at the countrylevel.