Office of the Under-Secretary-General/Emergency Relief Coordinator; Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator; Director, New York ; and Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator/Director, Geneva
2005 was characterised by major disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami and the South Asia earthquake and by emergencies such as those in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. OCHA executive management provided leadership in the response to these disasters, while maintaining an active engagement with advocacy, broadening partnerships, strengthening field support and supporting numerous monitoring and evaluation activities.
In addition, OCHA executive management focused on humanitarian reform. The OUSG’s and Directors’ offices led OCHA in developing the mechanisms to support three pillars of the reform process: implementation of the cluster approach, strengthening of the HC system, and establishment of the Central Emergency Response Fund.
- In line with OCHA’s 2005 Strategic Plan, the key objective of executive management was to provide leadership in preparedness and response to crises, including advocacy for effective and principled humanitarian action. An important component of this objective during the course of the year was the overseeing of the humanitarian reform process in light of the recommendations of the Humanitarian Response Review and the Secretary-General’s report In larger freedom
OCHA’s executive management assisted governments of affected countries in coordinating the response of the international community to humanitarian crises. It rapidly deployed staff and emergency response teams in the aftermath of major disasters and effectively provided coordination structures for humanitarian assistance in crises. OCHA executive management also facilitated improvements in the delivery of aid to war torn areas of the world, including Darfur.
Throughout 2005, the ERC made numerous field visits to countries from Zimbabwe and Sudan to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Especially, the ERC’s visits to the year’s major crises, such as the South Asia earthquake and Darfur, strengthened political and humanitarian engagement and served a strong advocacy function, while his visit to the Caribbean helped to lead the Hurricane Season Initiative.
The DERC visited other areas affected by the year’s major crises. Most prominent was her involvement with post-crisis follow-up to the Sahel drought and her three months as the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance to Tsunami-affected Communities.
Additionally, the ERC conducted numerous high profile interviews on the year’s crises and placed op-eds on humanitarian issues in major papers around the globe.
The ERC continued to advocate for humanitarian issues in the Security Council in five briefings on country situations such as Darfur and Uganda and on the protection of civilians.
In its efforts to broaden partnerships, executive management increased dialogue with Regional Groupings, the private sector, emerging donors and nongovernmental organisations. A number of information meetings for all Member States were held on the major crises which occurred during the course of the year.
Throughout 2005, executive management steered the humanitarian reform process. With its support, the cluster approach was developed as a means to strengthen capacities in sectors and areas of response where gaps had been identified. Clusters now have been established for nine areas. OCHA also supported the first field implementations of the cluster approach in the pilot countries of Liberia, DRC and Uganda. This approach also was instituted in Pakistan, resulting in valuable lessons learned to further improve response.
OCHA’s executive management successfully supported the further enhancement of response capacity by spearheading the development of an IASC pool of 20 rapidly deployable HCs and by widening the pool of qualified candidates by providing training and by strengthening the support to HCs.
Executive management also led the process that culminated in the establishment of a US$ 450 million grant facility which, combined with the existing US$ 50 million dollar loan facility of the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, resulted in the establishment of the new Central Emergency Response Fund, and was approved by the General Assembly in December of 2005. The upgraded CERF marks great progress in providing more equitable humanitarian funding based on need.
Executive management also addressed internal improvements. A pre-screened, pre-approved Roster system and a Rotation Policy were developed during the year for approval and implementation in 2006.
Delegation of authority for OCHA to recruit, deploy and administer its field staff was approved in principle by OHRM. Senior management also began a process of improved, more regular and more transparent communications to mid-level management and other staff.
Following the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the functioning and structure of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Secretariat was improved and a new system for the ISDR was approved.
In order to further develop linkages between development and other humanitarian partners, executive management focused on transition and early recovery through a strengthened country-level coordination system with the active participation of the RC and HC. For example, the joint DPKO/UNDP/OCHA mission to the DRC resulted in a more coherent Action Plan for the DRC prior to the 2006 elections.
OCHA gained wide recognition from donors, humanitarian partners and the press for its leadership in coordinating the response to crises such as the Indian Ocean tsunami and the South Asia earthquake. Through its sustained advocacy, the executive management succeeded in raising funds for emergencies occurring during the course of the year.
The ERC conducted high profile visits to neglected crises, including Sri Lanka and Indonesia as the world’s attention was turning away and Labado in Darfur, gave 125 interviews and placed over two dozen op-eds in major media outlets to help bring neglected emergencies to the attention of member governments, donors and other relevant actors.
New partnerships developed with non-traditional donors and the private sector strengthened OCHA’s ability to respond to humanitarian crises. For example, partnerships developed with the UN Foundation, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and Deutsche Post (DHL) will help increase private sector resource mobilisation, strengthen accountability, and increase UN capacity for airport logistics during crises.
Through OCHA’s successful advocacy and mobilization of support, the General Assembly approved the Central Emergency Response Fund in December 2005, making it the first implemented element of the S-G’s reform.
The cluster lead approach was accepted by the IASC and adopted in four countries.
OCHA bolstered humanitarian response capacity by laying the foundations for a pool of 20 deployable Humanitarian Coordinators and by deepening the pool of qualified candidates.
The Advocacy Strategy was adopted, as was a position paper that defined the role of OCHA in disaster risk reduction in the light of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The ISDR system was strengthened and the “Hyogo Framework for Action” was advocated for by the Secretary-General and his special envoy for tsunami recovery.
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction resulted in broad agreement from Member States on steps to address risk reduction.