Part III
Coordination Activities in the Field

Regional Office for the Middle East, North Africa, Iran and Afghanistan

  Requirements 1,069,404  
  Income from Voluntary Contributions1 723,975  
  Staff Costs 571,808  
  Consultant Fees and Travel 21,772  
  Travel 98,512  
  Operating Expenses 55,587  
  Contractual Services 5,700  
  Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment 57,518  
  Fellowships, Grants and Contributions 6,500  
  Programme Support Costs 106,262  
  Total Expenditure (US$) 923,659  
1 Includes allocations from the Field Coordination Reserve Fund of US$ 374,000



In 2006, the humanitarian environment in the Middle East, North Africa, Iran and Afghanistan (MENAIA) region covered by OCHA’s Regional Office in Dubai was characterized by two main areas of concern: widespread intermittent insecurity, and risks related to natural hazards, technological failures and emerging human-induced risk factors such as pandemics and climate change.

While the conflicts varied in scope, in most cases they originated from a complex combination of socio-economic, political and religious factors, with civilians bearing the brunt of hostilities under weak protection conditions, exacerbated by inadequate adherence to International Humanitarian Law. In 2006, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) harboured more than 2.5 million IDPs (primarily in Iraq where there were 1.7 million, and in Lebanon during the summer of 2006), and more than 7 million refugees (primarily from the occupied Palestinian territory, Iraq and Afghanistan).

In 2006, there were 27 natural disasters, with 537 people killed and 2,492,000 affected (including 1.9 million Afghans affected by drought). The most affected countries were Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Algeria and Morocco, and the types of hazards included earthquakes, floods, drought, landslides/avalanches and winter wind storms. A major oil spill during the Lebanon crisis affected large stretches of the Lebanese and Syrian coastlines. In 2006, 21 human cases of avian influenza were recorded in the MENA region (18 in Egypt and three in Iraq); of these, 12 people died (ten in Egypt and two in Iraq).

The RO-MENAIA maintains a watching brief over 21 countries and territories, where humanitarian coordination and disaster response support services are provided to RCs, OCHA presences (Iran and the occupied Palestinian territory) and United Nations missions (primarily those in Iraq and Afghanistan).


Activities and Accomplishments

The focus of RO-MENAIA during the first half of 2006 was the establishment of the Dubai office and its immediate evolution into a Regional Office – with a broader mandate than the originally envisaged Regional Disaster Response Adviser’s Office. An office was set up, with three national and three locally recruited staff. RO-MENAIA became part of regional networks and established promising relations with stakeholders, including those with which OCHA previously had limited interaction – such as Arab Red Crescent Societies, Islamic and other aid organizations, and governments and regional entities concerned with humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

RO-MENAIA fielded support missions to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist RCs/HCs and UNCTs (and their national counterparts) in the areas of disaster preparedness and response, contingency planning and early warning. These missions helped to roll out the humanitarian reform agenda by providing briefings to UNCTs and other humanitarian partners on the cluster approach and the CERF, and on how to strengthen the HCs’ system and expand and strengthen partnerships with other humanitarian actors.

A range of events and initiatives aimed at strengthening humanitarian partnerships and dialogue in the region were organized or participated in by RO-MENAIA. These included: annual meetings of Islamic charities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region; the Humanitarian Forum initiated by Islamic Relief; senior OCHA staff visits to the region (ERC/USG in April 2006); the Dubai International Humanitarian Assistance and Development (DIHAD) Conference and Exhibition; an OCHA Donor Support Group (ODSG) partnership event in Abu Dhabi in May 2006; and various lectures and presentations. Of particular note, RO-MENAIA organized two humanitarian partnership workshops in Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which featured the involvement and support of a cross-section of national and regional humanitarian actors. Both workshops were assessed as very beneficial, with important reciprocal learning, bridge-building opportunities and spin-offs such as expanded networks of humanitarian actors, increased awareness about principled humanitarian action and International Humanitarian Law, and better understanding of international coordination structures and mechanisms at global and field levels.

RO-MENAIA interacted with the United Nations system, national governments and other stakeholders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait on ways to further enhance engagement with the multilateral system and international disaster response and (donor) coordination mechanisms.

Performance Evaluation