Part II

Emergency Services Branch


  Requirements 553,008  
  Staff Costs 270,983  
  Consultant Fees and Travel l 6,193  
  Travel 11,491  
  Operating Expenses  
  Contractual Services 2,324  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions  
  Programme Support Costs 37,874  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 328,865  
Income for Core Activities is recorded in total under the Trust Fund for the Strengthening of OCHA

The Emergency Services Branch (ESB) is responsible for developing, sustaining, mobilizing and coordinating the deployment of OCHA’s international rapid response capacities to provide assistance to countries affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. ESB is comprised of the Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS), the Civil–Military Coordination Section (CMCS), the Logistics Support Unit (LSU) and the Environmental Emergencies Section (EES) – each with its distinctive mandate and tools for disaster response. The Chief of ESB also oversees three units dealing with information management and technology.

Effective management and development of these projects was the overall objective of ESB in 2006. In addition, ESB’s aim was to develop new partnerships and strengthen existing ones for cooperation in the areas of disaster response and response preparedness. The Branch aimed to better integrate different services in order to improve the quality of products provided to the humanitarian community at large, and to increase awareness of them among partners.


Activities and Accomplishments

ESB’s activities included dispatches of adequately trained and equipped UNDAC teams, civil–military coordination (CMCoord) officers and environmental emergency experts to natural disasters and complex emergencies. ESB coordinated international urban search and rescue activities and managed standby arrangements with partners through the provision of staff and support modules to field operations. It monitored logistical aspects of international relief operations, managed and replenished OCHA’s stocks of relief items, and organized shipments from the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy.

The Humanitarian Hub in Cyprus, jointly managed by OCHA and WFP in response to the Lebanon crisis, brought together different actors including partner agencies, NGOs and donors managing logistics, air assets and information exchange. Notably, the Lebanon crisis saw the deployment of all ESB-managed tools and services, including CMCoord expertise and longterm assistance to the government with environmental expertise as well as logistical monitoring and updates. Simultaneously, UNDAC teams, environmental experts and partners assisting with information management (MapAction, Télécoms sans Frontières), as well as office and telecommunications support modules, were alerted and mobilized to disasters in Indonesia, Suriname, Côte d’Ivoire, Philippines, Bolivia and Horn of Africa countries.

ESB increased the level of preparedness, interoperability, cooperation and awareness of humanitarian response tools and services. A biennial TRIPLEX simulation exercise, co-organized by OCHA and International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) countries, was held in September in Finland and brought together around 250 humanitarian partners representing 20 organizations with the common objective of improving cooperation in response. The preparatory process of collaboratively designing the exercise scenario provided a valuable opportunity to discuss interlinkages between the United Nations and its partners, including MapAction, Ericsson and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

ESB was closely involved with designing the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development (DIHAD) Conference and Exhibition in April, which brought together existing and emerging humanitarian Emergency Services Branch Headquarters Core Activities and Projects 57 actors in the Middle East region. ESB ensure that the conference and side events contributed to better informing new partners of both OCHA’s and other international partners’ tools and mechanisms for disaster response.

Performance Evaluation

Field Coordination Support Section

  Requirements 1,772,550  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 1,867,277  
  Staff Costs 783,931  
  Consultant Fees and Travel 218,910  
  Travel 227,287  
  Operating Expenses 36,268  
  Contractual Services 1,939  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 306  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions -  
  Programme Support Costs 164,923  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 1,433,564  

The role of the Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS) is to strengthen the mobilization and coordination capacity of OCHA during emergencies by rapidly deploying human and material assets in the event of a major disaster, while contributing to OCHA’s role in boosting response preparedness in developing countries.

FCSS has five major functions: managing the UNDAC system; managing OCHA standby partnerships; acting as Secretariat for the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), the International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) and the Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Partnership (APHP); and maintaining the Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (VOSOCC) and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS).



UNDAC Developing Countries

  Requirements 938,931  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 728,268  
  Staff Costs 108,053  
  Consultant Fees and Travel 228,857  
  Travel 170,299  
  Operating Expenses 44,267  
  Contractual Services 12,031  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 6,500  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions 105,950  
  Programme Support Costs 87,875  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 763,832  


Activities and Accomplishments

Seven UNDAC courses were organized during 2006, including induction and refresher training in three regions: Africa-Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Two OSOCC courses (Africa-Europe and the Americas), a Training of Trainers course, and support staff training also took place. The UNDAC Field Handbook was updated and UNDAC training modules were revised to cover developments such as humanitarian reform and the cluster approach, working with the military, and assessment (developed in cooperation with the IFRC). To strengthen the UNDAC team in terms of professional expertise and commitment, the selection of candidates for induction courses moved from a national quota to a merit-based system, emphasizing specialized skills and regional experience. Members unavailable for deployment for two years were deactivated. INSARAG regional meetings were organized in Africa-Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, and four regional USAR exercises took place, as well as INSARAG awareness training in Tunisia.

The IHP supported two UNDAC missions (Yogyakarta earthquake and Ethiopia floods) with technical support modules and personnel, and the APHP was deployed for the first time alongside IHP personnel (Yogyakarta). Technical support was received from UNOSAT (the United Nations satellite agency), MapAction and Télécoms sans Frontières. In 2006, FCSS deployed 18 experts under the standby partnerships arrangement to support OCHA offices in Eritrea, Côte d’Ivoire, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Thailand, and a training workshop was held for standby partnership members.

The revised INSARAG Guidelines were finalized and distributed in 2006, updating coordination methodology and standards for classification of international USAR teams. Two classification exercises were conducted in the UK and the USA. The VOSOCC was updated to include new features and links to other disaster information providers in the GDACS.

Performance Evaluation


Civil–Military Coordination Section

  Requirements 1,891,649  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 2,218,768  
  Staff Costs 1,287,747  
  Consultant Fees and Travel 52,718  
  Travel 108,330  
  Operating Expenses 58,032  
  Contractual Services 889  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 5,659  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions  
  Programme Support Costs 196,739  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 1,710,114  

As the focal point for civil–military coordination and the use of Military and Civil Defence Assets (MCDA) by the United Nations system and the wider humanitarian community, in 2006 the Civil–Military Coordination Section (CMCS) facilitated and coordinated access to foreign MCDA in humanitarian emergencies in Pakistan, Algeria, Timor-Leste, Sudan, Lebanon and Somalia.


Activities and Accomplishments

Through the internationally recognized MCDA requesting procedures, CMCS managed ten foreign MCDA mobilizations in 2006. MCDA requests were generated and managed in support of operations by WFP and UNHCR in Pakistan (for the earthquake) and UNHCR in Algeria (for the Tindouf floods). Requests were also managed on behalf of WFP and UNHCR during the Lebanon crisis and flooding in Somalia.

CMCS also managed and conducted UN-CMCoord training courses for the international community, often drawing on its graduates to act as UN-CMCoord officers in humanitarian emergencies. It conducted pre-deployment training for international military forces and assisted in the planning and coordination of United Nations agency participation in major military exercises with significant humanitarian assistance scenarios. CMCS acted as custodian for UN-CMCoord-related guidelines and managed the United Nations Central Register of disaster management capacities, including the directory of internationally available MCDA.

CMCS advanced the IASC-endorsed United Nations Humanitarian CMCoord Concept through the establishment of a UN-CMCoord Officer Deployment Plan, which facilitates communication and coordination of activities between humanitarian and military actors. In conjunction with the creation of an emergency roster capturing trained, eligible and deployable personnel, CMCS developed and piloted a specific training module linked to the existing UN-CMCoord staff-level training
course. In May 2006 civil–military cooperation was enhanced in the Asia-Pacific region through the deployment of a Regional UN-CMCoord Officer in Bangkok. He identified, engaged and formed linkages with humanitarian and military stakeholders in the region, and provided surge capacity in Timor-Leste.

The draft UN-CMCoord Officer Field Handbook, a practical reference guide for use by humanitarian and military actors, was released for broad testing in 2006.

CMCS disseminated and promoted the use of the principles of the 1994 Oslo Guidelines (Use of MCDA in Disaster Relief), re-launched in November, and MCDA Guidelines (Use of MCDA to Support United Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies), through presentations at conferences, seminars, workshops and meetings. It also developed the UNCMCoord IMPACT interactive self-study training package on civil–military relationships in complex emergencies. CMCS organized the first UN-CMCoord policy dissemination seminar, and addressed the challenges and opportunities for disseminating existing guidelines in civilian and military organizations at the national and international levels.

CMCS participated in NATO pre-deployment training for the Afghanistan ISAF mission and the NATO Response Force (NRF) (which was subsequently deployed to assist in the South Asia earthquake). In addition, training support was provided to Military Staff Colleges of NATO member and partner states. Training courses were held in Finland, the Philippines, Kenya, Switzerland, Sudan, Liberia, Slovenia, Norway, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, Armenia and Ethiopia. CMCS participated in the planning and execution of 15 large-scale military-sponsored exercises involving military, humanitarian and regional actors. Audiences consisted of senior military leaders and their headquarters staff who conduct training prior to operational deployments.

CMCS deployed OCHA-trained UN-CMCoord officers in Pakistan (three officers) and for the duration of the Lebanon crisis (four officers). CMCS also provided functional support to established CMCoord officers stationed in Afghanistan, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

CMCS captured and stored data from civil–military coordination lessons learned and after-action reports from officers who had participated in exercises and humanitarian operations in Pakistan, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Performance Evaluation

Logistics Support Unit

  Requirements 443,629  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 601,949  
  Staff Costs 162,984  
  Consultant Fees and Travel -  
  Travel 6,745  
  Operating Expenses 591  
  Contractual Services -  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 421  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions -  
  Programme Support Costs 22,196  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 192,937  


The Logistics Support Unit (LSU) undertakes logistics coordination (other than military) through close interaction with the Logistics Cluster and the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC). The Unit is responsible for the timely mobilization and delivery of emergency relief goods, in collaboration with partners within and outside OCHA. It manages OCHA’s stocks of basic non-food, non-medical relief items (shelter materials, water/sanitation equipment and blankets), held at the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy, and organizes shipments to affected areas with the support of donor governments including Italy, Norway and Luxembourg. These stocks contribute to filling gaps in emergency assistance.

With its partners in the shelter cluster, LSU contributes to the development of guidelines and standards for emergency shelter, and during emergencies it monitors, processes and disseminates information about the logistical aspects of operations, highlighting main priorities and bottlenecks.


Activities and Accomplishments

In cooperation with the governments of Italy and Norway, it arranged 12 shipments of relief goods (of a total value of over US$ 2 million), to eight disaster- or emergency affected countries. LSU negotiated, in cooperation with relevant United Nations Office at Geneva services, the extension of most of its existing long-term standard procurement contracts (due to expire in 2006) for a further year on the same terms and conditions. It also initiated discussions with a potential new partner for the Humanitarian Response Depot.

During the Lebanon crisis, OCHA issued nine ‘Logistics Facts of Interest’ to complement OCHA situation reports and other documents. LSU also collected and circulated information on in-kind contributions provided by around 40 governments. Ten tables were disseminated, with updates on the donor, date, type, channel and recipient of the donation.

Performance Evaluation

Environmental Emergencies Section

  Requirements 446,943  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions 385,000  
  Staff Costs 155,245  
  Consultant Fees and Travel 101,016  
  Travel 46,564  
  Operating Expenses 15,646  
  Contractual Services 4,141  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 1,973  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions -  
  Programme Support Costs 42,196  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 366,781  

The Environmental Emergencies Section (EES) mobilizes and coordinates international assistance to countries facing environmental emergencies and natural disasters with significant environmental impacts in collaboration with OCHA and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

EES focuses on identifying and addressing the most urgent and life-threatening environmental aspects of disasters such as chemical and oil spills, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, complex emergencies and other crises with potentially significant risks to human life, welfare and the environment. EES also supports response preparedness by helping countries to increase their environmental emergency response capacity, and provides secretariat support to the global Environmental Emergencies Partnership. EES ensures the presence of environmental experts on UNDAC missions to conduct rapid environmental assessments, and mobilizes experts and resources to address their findings wherever required.

Key issues faced by EES in 2006 included a continued, growing awareness of the importance of environment in disasters, and, accordingly, high demand for EES services. EES anticipates that this trend will only increase, and is taking steps to further enhance the effectiveness of its operations.


Activities and Accomplishments

In 2006, EES responded to requests for assistance in connection with a range of emergencies, undertaking activities that included:

EES organized a multi-stakeholder environmental emergencies capacity-building workshop in Yemen, and delivered the environmental component of the UNDAC training course and provided support to an UNDAC capacity-building mission in Tajikistan. In March 2006, together with the Field Coordination Support Section, EES organized an environmental emergency awareness training for UNEP staff in Paris.

To increase the number of experts and partners with whom EES can collaborate during emergencies, three new practical interface procedures were developed and signed – with the International Maritime Organization, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The global Environmental Emergencies Partnership, for which EES acts as Secretariat, is a platform and catalyst for information-sharing and enhanced collaboration between environmental emergency stakeholders. In 2006, this was achieved through an e-newsletter.

EES developed a pilot methodology to assess national capacities to respond to environmental emergencies (tested in early 2007). EES also initiated, at the request of the IASC and in close collaboration with UNEP, a project to develop guidance to support the inclusion of environment into cluster processes. Finally, EES undertook activities to further strengthen OCHA–UNEP collaboration in their response to environmental emergencies, for example, initiating a process to develop additional operating procedures.

Performance Evaluation