The year was marked by key socio-economic and political developments such as the designation of a new prime minister, the resumption of dialogue with the opposition, liberalisation of the media and the creation of an anti-corruption commission. Despite some progress on the political front, humanitarian needs and a high level of vulnerability prevailed in Guinea due to the country's socio-economic crisis, which resulted in several strikes. By the end of 2005, however, the international community was assured of the government's willingness to fulfil the conditions for the resumption of a poverty reduction programme interrupted in 2002.
The key humanitarian concerns continued to be: protection of refugees; effective targeting of assistance to vulnerable groups other than refugees; recurrent outbreaks of epidemics; increased food insecurity; the continued breakdown of basic social services; and rising malnutrition, morbidity and mortality rates. The dire situation across Guinea was compounded by floods in Conakry and North West Guinea, and locust swarms that devastated crops in some parts of the country.
- Improve inter-agency coordination
- Enhance the government's coordination capacity
- Advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable
- Improve information and vulnerability data analysis to enable humanitarian agencies better target their assistance
OCHA enhanced inter-agency strategic and sectoral coordination at the country and local levels, with the participation of donors, UN Agencies and NGOs. The holding of sectoral working groups meetings in Conakry and Guinea Forestière helped improve coordination with national counterparts and raise awareness about funding needs to address humanitarian issues.Monthly IASC meetings were enriched with the participation of donor representatives.
Joint rapid assessments of the most critical needs were carried out for the first time in Guinea Forestière and Haute Guinea by humanitarian partners and relevant government bodies. They led to a better identification of critical gaps to be filled in order to reduce rising malnutrition,morbidity and mortality rates.
OCHA monitored protection issues and worked with the government, international partners and donors through data collection, briefings, coordination meetings and advocacy for better funding of priority needs. Throughout 2005, OCHA undertook advocacy efforts on key humanitarian issues. In April, it hosted a field mission to Guinea by the OCHA Donor Support Group, advocating on behalf of vulnerable groups (refugees, IDPs, returnees among others) in the Guinea Forestière region. This helped initiate reflections on what kind of assistance would be suitable within the Guinean context.
During the Mid-Year Review of the CAP 2005, non-emergency projects were removed from the document to allow for a more appropriate response to humanitarian needs for at least 630,000 people. However, lessons learned included the importance of responding simultaneously to both humanitarian and rehabilitation needs.
Securing Guinea 's participation in a regional strategy to stabilise the sub-region was also a priority in 2005. The UNCTs of Guinea, Sierra Leone , Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire embarked on a joint coordination approach to address cross-border issues of common concern relating to instability in the sub-region. OCHA supported the UNCT in the preparation of the two sub-regional consultative meetings held in 2005.
In an effort to reinforce inter-agency information management and sharing, OCHA established an Information Management Unit (IMU) in September 2005. The office remained the central reference point for humanitarian information, particularly with regard to mapping and reporting. In addition, OCHA facilitated the work of the inter-agency technical working Group on Information and Communication (GIC) within the UNCT. Humanitarian information was made available through the OCHA Guinea website, which was reactivated in 2005.
OCHA contributed to advocacy work leading to specific assistance from the international community for victims of sexual violence. More sustainable assistance was given to vulnerable groups other than refugees. In addition, OCHA made recommendations for the funding of NGO projects (in and outside the CAP) with potential impact on vulnerable populations.More NGOs participated in the CAP and more were funded than in previous years.
Inter-agency coordination improved through regular monthly IASC meetings, which resulted in identifying gaps in assistance, making recommendations for better targeting of populations at risk, and facilitating a wider exchange of information among partners involved in relief and early recovery assistance. Partner NGOs and donors became more enthusiastic about participating, with more than 40 participants regularly attending these meetings.
Government-led coordination mechanisms worked well in most cases. Throughout 2005, five out of seven sectoral working groups met regularly, while two held only a few meetings. This was due to the fact that, by September, the national counterparts showed less engagement in holding sectoral working group meetings. They questioned the impact of such meetings in Conakry, Guinea Forestière and Haute Guinea when there was only limited donor support to implement projects addressing identified needs.Meetings of the National Committee on Humanitarian Action (CNSAH) were held in Nzérékoré and presided over by the Regional Governor. In Haute Guinea only a few CNSAH meetings took place. The humanitarian community did not manage to hold this meeting in Conakry .
A comparative analysis of available vulnerability data helped identify residual humanitarian needs in Guinea Forestière, as well as priority vulnerable groups and key rehabilitation interventions. The results were used in preparing the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) for 2006. Approximately 75,000 refugees were provided with assistance. IDPs, Guinean returnees and host communities received insufficient support, however, leaving them more vulnerable. Donors found it difficult to determine whether it was correct to characterise needs among non-refugee populations as humanitarian rather than to developmental.
Improved design and enhanced content encouraged more people to visit the OCHA Guinea website. As a result, 50 percent of all partners, including donors, NGOs and UN Agencies, increased their information sharing with OCHA.
Efforts to mobilise resources for the CAP 2005 paid off in the second half of the year, with 63 percent of the US$ 37 million required actually resourced. While significant resources were raised for refugee assistance, health, agriculture, emergency education, water and sanitation and security sectors remained under-funded.