Coordination Activities in the Field
|Income from Voluntary Contributions1||21,381,521|
|Consultant Fees and Travel||63,643|
|Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment||1,382,867|
|Fellowships, Grants and Contributions||61,450|
|Programme Support Costs||2,086,936|
|Total Expenditure (US$)||18,121,646|
|1 Includes allocations from the Field Coordination Reserve Fund of US$ 1,800,000 and US$ 8,768,074 from the pooled funding managed by UNDP|
|Income from Voluntary Contributions||–|
|Consultant Fees and Travel||–|
|Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment||97,128|
|Fellowships, Grants and Contributions||326,054|
|Programme Support Costs||42,033|
|Total Expenditure (US$)||691,420|
The massive humanitarian operation in response to continuing and increasing humanitarian needs in Sudan remained the largest in the world in 2006. The ongoing conflict in Darfur, the worsening security environment and its associated protection and humanitarian challenges, as well as the return of hundreds of thousands of displaced Sudanese to a challenging environment, meant that millions continued to rely on humanitarian assistance. Despite ongoing security and access difficulties, OCHA worked to improve the quality of humanitarian aid in Darfur, coordinating with partners to ensure adequate humanitarian coverage in all life-saving sectors, and supporting assessments and interventions to newly displaced populations.
The second year of the implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement proceeded, although with delays in some sectors. The security situation in Southern Sudan improved overall, allowing greater access and for humanitarian partners to focus on providing basic social services for the expected influx of returns during 2006. While humanitarian assistance remained crucial, some areas were able to begin the transition to recovery activities. Intermittent violence and insecurity related to tribal and resource-based conflict, attempted disarmament and the occasional spillover of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict still limited humanitarian outreach and progress in recovery assistance for the expected areas of return.
In the north, the long-awaited peace agreements for both the east and for the Darfur region had very different effects. The Eastern Peace Agreement, signed in October 2006, paved the way for increased access and reinvigorated recovery assistance – and OCHA’s gradual phasing out in the region. While maintaining operating capacity and a credible coordination capacity for the ongoing humanitarian and recovery situation, OCHA prepared for a gradual handover to partners in the east, including government counterparts, the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s (UNMIS) and the RC.
The Darfur Peace Agreement was signed by some (but not all) of the parties to the three-year old conflict in early May 2006. Instead of bringing political resolution, during the second half of 2006 the Darfur crisis became increasingly characterized by factionalization of armed movements, heightened violence against civilians (including aerial bombings), ethnically motivated attacks on civilians and continued unrelenting sexual violence against women. The number of civilians affected by the conflict rose to 4 million at year end; 2 million of these were IDPs (many of whom had been displaced multiple times). By the end of the year humanitarian space and access to people in need were at their lowest point since the start of the large-scale humanitarian operation in April 2004.
At the Khartoum level, an IASC was established with the participation of the IFRC, the ICRC and three NGOs representing the broader NGO community. NGOs contributed to decision-making and discussions on critical humanitarian issues and benefited from UNMIS briefings on a range of political and civil affairs issues.
OCHA also worked to secure unimpeded and safe access to populations in need.
OCHA played a lead role in the development and management of the humanitarian component of the United Nations and Partners Work Plan for Sudan – the strategic planning, coordination and fund-raising tool for United Nations and NGO partners in Sudan covering humanitarian, recovery and development activities.
The Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) Unitled or participated in 24 emergency assessments in 2006 – on issues as diverse as inter-tribal conflicts, LRA attacks, disease outbreak and floods – and ensured that key recommendations were addressed by partners through relevant action and the delivery of relief items. OCHA also led contingency planning on behalf of humanitarian partners to ensure preparedness and a coordinated response to flooding in the north and the constantly shifting security environment in Darfur.
The Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) for Sudan, a pooled funding mechanism to provide timely and predictable funding for humanitarian assistance in Sudan, was first piloted in 2005 and made fully operational in 2006. Under OCHA’s management of the CHF, more than US$ 165 million supported priority projects throughout Sudan during the year.
Throughout the year, OCHA played a critical mediation role on behalf of humanitarian partners with the Government of National Unity, opposition armed groups and other parties such as the African Union Mission in Sudan. It worked on adherence to the Moratorium on Restrictions for Humanitarian Work, respect for humanitarian space, principles and freedom of movement for aid workers, and increased measures to protect IDPs and civilians. OCHA also mediated on behalf of NGO partners to allow them to continue their humanitarian work unimpeded.
OCHA consolidated its field presence throughout Southern Sudan, with coordination offices in all but one of the ten southern states. OCHA supported government entities at both central and state levels in close cooperation with its Southern government counterpart, the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), so that it may gradually assume the lead in relief efforts. OCHA also successfully established accommodation facilities to encourage NGOs to move their management structures from Nairobi to Juba. The EP&R Unit worked with partners in the field in assessing needs and preparing necessary responses.
Through its Information Management Unit, OCHA provided maps and other print and online information products to support planning and response of relief operations. Over 7,000 requests from more than 300 organizations were processed in 2006. OCHA also provided IT support to the NGO Centre established in 2006 within the United Nations compound in Juba, a space with 14 internet-connected computer stations for use by established and visiting NGOs.
OCHA supported the Government of Southern Sudan’s Secretariat for Ugandan Peace Talks in negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the LRA. This promoted the productive continuation of the talks, aimed at preventing further conflict and advancing the protection of civilians. OCHA also arranged the firstever meeting between the ERC and the leadership of the LRA to support and encourage peaceful dialogue and mediation.
Although OCHA handed over management of the tracking and monitoring of south-bound returnees to IOM, it continued to provide guidance and advice during the transition period. In the areas of return, OCHA assessed and monitored communities, pre-empting decline into emergency situations and planning appropriate responses where needed. In parts of the south recovery and development efforts have begun, and in four of the ten states the RC’s Office has direct responsibility for coordination, while still providing coordination support in five.
The provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 have gradually been implemented during 2006, bringing tangible peace dividends for the people of war-torn Southern Sudan. Despite recurrent security incidents, the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army has also resulted in significant improvements in many formerly volatile areas.
This has enabled the Government of Southern Sudan and the state governments, with the support of the international community, to proceed with the provision of public services. While the capacity of local health and education facilities leaves room for improvement, significant progress has been made in 2006 in building their presence across Southern Sudan.
By late 2006, all United Nations agencies had made plans to shift their focus to recovery and development. In many locations, the World Food Programme moved from general food distribution to programmes such as ‘foodfor-work’ and ‘food-for-recovery’, and it plans to all but phase out general food distribution in 2007. The World Health Organization, while supporting the government in its emergency response to outbreaks of communicable diseases, intends to focus on capacity-building for its Southern Sudan counterparts in 2007. Local counterparts are expected to progressively assume responsibility for health facilities currently managed by INGOs.
During the second half of 2006, OCHA started the transfer of coordination functions at state level to the RC’s Office, whose mandate focuses on recovery and development. Through a gradual handover, OCHA is ensuring that the RC’s Office has time to acquire the specific competencies that OCHA has developed through its extensive field presence in Southern Sudan. In addition to transferring knowledge and expertise, OCHA is also working to ensure a smooth transfer of leadership for the strong network it has created among the humanitarian community, in particular with NGOs.
Based in Juba, the OCHA Emergency Preparedness & Response Unit leads humanitarian organizations in the development of contingency planning and in the implementation of emergency response. In 2006, the unit finalized plans for the identification and training of Emergency Response Teams in all ten states of Southern Sudan, which will be in charge of conducting rapid assessments and responding to emergencies – from floods, to epidemics, to protection incidents. Humanitarian organizations will in this way be empowering local government structures while responding to emergencies – allowing them to take the lead in meeting the remaining humanitarian needs of the population, while improving the provision of social services.
Ideally, the coordination of international assistance should be seamlessly transferred from OCHA to recovery actors. However, as in many post-conflict situations, Southern Sudan has been stripped of its already very meagre basic services and capacities as a result of many years of war. While peace and security are increasing, other aspects of life remain much the same as they were during the humanitarian crisis. Recovery programming changes, for the most part, in name only – while everything else, from planning to implementation to monitoring, remains the same. OCHA continues to struggle with this dilemma: since there is no ‘traditional’ emergency or disaster it should be phasing out operations, but this withdrawal of humanitarian inputs and actors can jeopardize a fragile recovery situation. A fine balance must be achieved.