executive summary

Executive Summary

Donors provided US$ 385 million for the CERF in 2007, and have pledged a further US$ 420 million for 2008.

In 2007, donors contributed an unprecedented US$ 139.3 million in support of the activities detailed in OCHA’s appeal, OCHA in 2007. These generous contributions – for which OCHA is extremely grateful – allowed OCHA to implement 89 percent of its planned activities. In addition, the well-supported Central Emergency Response Fund – contributors to which included 67 United Nations Member States, and notably a number of developing countries – allowed the increasingly rapid provision of assistance to populations affected by sudden-onset disasters and underfunded emergencies.

The intensity and frequency of natural hazards striking vulnerable communities in 2007 resulted in an unusually high number of disaster situations to which OCHA was called on to respond. Complementing government responses, OCHA’s regional offices – which serve as the first port of call to support government and United Nations Country Teams when disasters strike – provided key support in: mobilization of the financial resources required within short timeframes (fifteen flash appeals); coordination of public information; and deployment of immediate surge capacity and United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams.

Regional office responses were bolstered by preparedness work undertaken by National Disaster Response Advisers, who are co-located in the offices of Resident Coordinators and collaborate closely with National Disaster Management Offices in contingency planning. The Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific invested in developing country-specific data preparedness plans, ensuring that a minimum set of information standards, tools, data sources, actors and forums are in place to enable effective and immediate information management coordination in the event of an emergency – allowing OCHA to ‘hit the ground running’ in the event of a crisis.

Following the adoption of a three-year Strategic Framework in late 2006, work planning across OCHA – both at headquarters and in the field – was brought into alignment with the organization’s three overarching goals and 21 objectives. A reporting process was instituted through which all work units and management monitored their progress in meeting performance targets (the 2007 Annual Report presents information on all work units’ success against their key performance indicators). OCHA also tracked its overall performance against core indicators with the aim of measuring organization-wide performance and institutionalizing results-based management practices.

OCHA completed its ‘re-alignment’ in 2007, with the consolidation of geographical desk functions in New York. A new External Relations and Resource Mobilization Branch was established in order to streamline a number of activities that focus on resource mobilization and external relations, while some functions of the former External Relations Branch (such as the management of surge capacity) were absorbed into existing structures. The capacity of the Administrative Office was reinforced in preparation for the delegation of authority to OCHA to administer its field staff in 2008. While the re-alignment was completed in 2007, the forecast improvements in efficiency were not expected to be fully realised until 2008.

Structure of the 2007 Annual Report

In response to feedback from donors about the format and length of OCHA’s annual reports, this year’s report has moved towards thematic reporting and results-based performance evaluation, rather than a complete listing of the activities and accomplishments of headquarters work units and regional and field offices according to OCHA’s structure.

Part I presents a diagram of OCHA’s functional areas as they stood during 2007, accompanied by brief descriptions of each work unit.

Part II comprises an analysis of OCHA’s income and expenditure during 2007 along with a series of financial tables detailing income and expenditure related to OCHA’s trust funds and other accounts and providing in-depth data on voluntary donor contributions to OCHA. The total voluntary donor contributions – for OCHA’s activities as detailed in OCHA in 2007 as well as for the funds that are managed by OCHA for activities implemented by United Nations agencies and NGOs – is summarized and information provided on their opening balances.

In this 2007 Annual Report, the focus of financial reporting has been in relation to OCHA’s total budget, not only in relation to requirements and expenditures associated with the activities described in OCHA in 2007 (that is, those financed through voluntary donor contributions). This important change in reporting reflects OCHA’s resolve to address concerns about the transparency of its financial matters: The analysis of OCHA’s financial position clarifies a number of points that have often caused confusion.

The coverage of activities and accomplishments by theme (management, donor and external relations, humanitarian policy and action, emergency response coordination, advocacy, information management, natural disaster response and regional offices) in Part III has produced a considered, tighter and more concise summary of OCHA’s achievements during 2007 – a ‘whole of OCHA’ analysis. There is also a feature on how successfully the lessons learned in 2006 (as described in the 2006 Annual Report) were applied to OCHA’s work during 2007.

In Part IV, the activities of field and regional offices are described in short narrative entries ordered by region, while the evaluation of their performance against their key objectives as stated in OCHA in 2007 is presented as part of a consolidated ‘Work Unit Performance Indicators’ matrix (Annex I) that groups all headquarters work units’ and regional and field offices’ responses to their nominated indicators under each of OCHA’s 21 objectives (in turn supporting the three goals that form the basis of the Strategic Framework).

Annex II is a consolidated table presenting a breakdown of staff and non-staff costs for headquarters branches and regional and field offices; this information was previously presented as individual tables for each work unit and field and regional office entry. The consolidation of this information into one table is intended to allow for easier reference and comparison between each work unit. Annex III provides a summary of in-kind contributions, while Annex IV contains updates of the Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund and the Tsunami Trust Fund. Annex V spells out all acronyms used in the report and provides the definitions of a number of key terms used by OCHA in relation to its financial matters.