Part III
Coordination Activities in the Field

Eritrea

  Requirements 723,586  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions1 885,562  
  EXPENDITURE    
  Staff Costs 376,497  
  Consultant Fees and Travel  
  Travel 49,421  
  Operating Expenses 54,621  
  Contractual Services 4,300  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 27,600  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions 6,025  
  Programme Support Costs 67,400  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 585,864  
1 Includes allocations from the Field Coordination Reserve Fund of US$ 60,800

 

Context

The prolonged impasse over border demarcation, along with the no-war, no-peace situation, meant that national and human resources were prioritized for national defence purposes in Eritrea in 2006 – limiting the scope and efficiency of domestic production and efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of the political and military situation. The continuing stalemate indefinitely delayed the return of over 22,000 IDPs still living in camps and an additional 10,000 IDPs living with host communities to their areas of origin in the Temporary Security Zone. Recurrent drought resulting in periodic food and water shortages (especially in rural areas), together with high rates of child malnutrition, further intensified the vulnerability of the affected population.

There were increased constraints on the humanitarian operating environment in Eritrea following the government’s introduction of its new self-reliance policy. Due to lack of rain and labour over recent years, the government has not been able to raise crop production to a level that can support the population, and in 2006 it was forced to cover nearly 50 per cent of its annual cereal requirements (estimated at 500,000–625,000 metric tons) through commercial imports and food assistance.

In April, in accordance with its self-reliance strategy, the government introduced a new food security policy that called for the monetization of all food aid in order to finance a cash-for-work programme. All food aid in the country, amounting to 94,500 metric tons (of which 64,500 metric tons belonged to WFP), was integrated into the new policy. Lack of progress in resolving the stalemate over food aid strained the relationship between the government and donors, possibly adversely affecting future food assistance to the country.

Objectives

Activities and Accomplishments

In response to the drought that hit the Horn of Africa region in early 2006, OCHA facilitated the inclusion of Eritrea in the Horn of Africa Regional Drought Appeal, which was launched in April 2006 by the ERC. To fill the gap between the launch of the Regional Appeal and donor response, OCHA was instrumental in coordinating a request to the CERF for the implementation of health, nutrition and water/sanitation projects. A total of US$ 5.8 million was allocated through the CERF.

The government’s departure from the CAP and the FAO/ WFP food and crop assessment undermined the ability of the international community to develop a common humanitarian strategy based on a shared analysis of the context, and to effectively coordinate the humanitarian response. OCHA facilitated the development of a CHAP which reflected the priorities and response strategies of the humanitarian community in Eritrea.

OCHA supported the strengthening of the HC system through the establishment of a local IASC comprised of United Nations agencies, donor representatives, NGOs and the ICRC. Given the absence of a platform for strategic humanitarian coordination with the government since June 2005, the IASC provided a forum for information exchange and analysis, strategy setting and coordination among members of the wider humanitarian community.

OCHA assisted partners through the provision of relevant information products, which included monthly and ad-hoc humanitarian updates, geographic and thematic maps and the ‘Who Does What Where’ database which was expanded in 2006 to include development actors. OCHA also facilitated a contingency planning process for the wider humanitarian community in the event of renewed conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 2006, OCHA provided support to the Secretary-General’s Special Humanitarian Envoy to the Horn of Africa, and facilitated dialogue with the government on its new cash-for-work policy.

OCHA closed its two field offices in Debub and Garsh Barka in 2006 due to mounting operational challenges. However OCHA in Asmara continued to collect and disseminate regular, up-to-date information on the humanitarian situation, facilitate regular IASC meetings and prepare the CHAP.

Performance Evaluation