PART Iii: performance in 2007
Performance of the Field
Field Offices - AFRICA

Africa (map)

Burundi

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/burundi

An atmosphere of ‘uneasy peace’ prevailed in Burundi in 2007 following the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the Government and the last remaining rebel group, the Palipehutu-Front National de Libération (FNL), in September 2006. After a promising start to the year, tension and uncertainty increased between and within both the Government and the FNL. A six-month deadlock in the parliament crippled the Government, while the FNL withdrew from the ceasefire implementation talks in July and clashed repeatedly with an alleged FNL dissident group in September and October. The year ended more positively with the inauguration of a more inclusive Government of Unity in mid November, but it has deteriorated again since then.

There was no major humanitarian crisis in Burundi in 2007, and the country continued to be in an ‘early recovery phase’. The main humanitarian concerns were: the return and reintegration of about 200,000 Burundians from Tanzania; limited resources, including land; and vulnerability to climatic irregularities exacerbated by chronic poverty.

Given the general stability of the humanitarian situation overall, and in light of the transition to medium- to longer term socioeconomic recovery, coordination mechanisms evolved to enable the Government to increasingly play a lead role in ensuring the well-being of Burundians. An integrated commission for repatriation and reintegration – chaired by the Government and with the participation of key government ministries, NGOs, the United Nations Integrated Office, United Nations Agencies and donors – was established in mid 2007 to address refugee-related issues. Sectoral working groups met regularly to review the situation and respond to key needs and requirements, with UNDP and UNHCR co-leading the coordination of international support to the Government in this area. While only a few clusters were established in Burundi (Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Health), United Nations humanitarian agencies expressed their readiness to take on other cluster responsibilities (UNHCR for Protection and the World Food Programme for Logistics and Telecommunications).

Extensive consultations with the humanitarian community in Burundi confirmed that OCHA will be able to hand over coordination functions to the Government and development partners in June 2008.

Performance Evaluation
Properly functioning and supported CERF

In the first few months of 2007, OCHA was instrumental in supporting the overall process leading to a successful CERF allocation for Burundi. It also coordinated joint assessment missions to the most affected areas of the country, involving key United Nations Agencies and local Government of Burundi interlocutors. These missions led to quick and effective decisions about the allocation of the CERF to underfunded projects.

Strengthened in-country coordination

Under the direction of the Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator/Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, there was clear guidance from the beginning of the year that the United Nations system should work ‘as one’ – supporting authorities but not acting as a substitute for them. OCHA facilitated successful dialogue between Government ministries, donors, international NGOs and United Nations Agencies in order to ensure better overall coordination of the response to emergencies.

Greater capacities of relevant institutions and United Nations Agencies to coordinate humanitarian activities and mobilize resources

With the gradual improvement of the humanitarian situation and reduced response requirements, it became important for relevant institutions and United Nations Agencies to adopt a common position on the Government of Burundi’s requests for assistance. The new inter-ministerial platform for risk reduction and disaster response was formally established in September, and the recently appointed National Coordinator of the Civilian Protection and its staff took part in a contingency planning update exercise in September and October.

Increased linkages between humanitarian assistance, reintegration and development programming

The Government played a key role in the establishment of an integrated ad hoc commission on return and reintegration in mid 2007, chaired by the Minister of National Solidarity. Other key ministers (Interior, Health, Education, Environment and Habitat), United Nations Agencies, NGOs and donor representatives are brought together to ensure that Burundians returning home and the communities receiving them are appropriately supported and provided with access to the necessary basic services.

Central African Republic

The humanitarian situation in the north-east of the Central African Republic (CAR) improved slightly during 2007 following a peace agreement between the Government and the Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement – a militant group active in the area. The north-west, however, continued to experience conflict between the Government and a second militant group, the Armée Populaire pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (APRD), as well as increasing violence from armed criminal gangs who kidnap children for ransom and loot and burn entire villages. Fleeing attacks by these gangs, thousands of people crossed the border into Cameroon during the year and the number of Central African refugees there almost doubled, to more than 45,000, while several thousand Central Africans became internally displaced. Reprisal attacks against the APRD by Government troops resulted in the burning of civilian houses during the first half of the year, however the Government ended this practice during the latter half of the year in response to pressure from humanitarian and human rights advocates. While the implementation of the ‘protection by presence’ strategy achieved concrete results, observers remained very concerned about the human rights situation in the country, especially in those areas experiencing conflict in the north.

The Humanitarian and Development Partnership Team (HDPT) in CAR significantly increased its humanitarian efforts in 2007, with donors contributing more funds than in the previous four years combined. OCHA supported humanitarian organizations seeking quick, reliable funding by working closely with donor governments and facilitating their access to the Emergency Response Fund. OCHA also negotiated improvements to humanitarian access, enabling humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to people living within conflict areas.

Supported by OCHA, clusters played a critical role in the design of the humanitarian strategy for 2008 through the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), including prioritization of projects submitted. OCHA also organized the development of an Inter-Agency Contingency Plan through a participatory process involving all HDPT members. As chair of the Humanitarian Air Service users’ group, OCHA supported the timely, needs based deployment of humanitarian workers throughout the conflict-affected areas.

Performance Evaluation

Greater engagement and coordination with national and international NGOs

At the end of 2007, all NGOs (except Médecins sans Frontières) were represented in the CAP, actively participated in the cluster system, and had easier access to fast and reliable funding through the Emergency Response Fund (managed locally by the Humanitarian Coordinator with support from OCHA and UNDP).

Strengthened in-country coordination

In August the HDPT moved to improve the coordination of relief efforts by implementing the cluster approach, assigning clear sectoral responsibilities to all participating organizations. Effective coordination by OCHA also enhanced the effectiveness of partnerships between United Nations Agencies and NGOs.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles, including the development and implementation of an inter-agency advocacy strategy

An average of three joint field missions per month along with subsequent reporting allowed OCHA to develop a more proactive, evidence-based protection strategy. A website and an intranet site were developed as information-sharing tools and advocacy platforms.

Improved coordination and monitoring of IDP issues

Despite the complex pattern of IDP movements, the extended presence of humanitarian actors on the ground and improved data gathering and processing informed response and monitoring programmes for all HDPT members, which then benefited from increased outreach capacity.

Chad

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/chad

The humanitarian situation in eastern Chad deteriorated sharply in 2007, resulting in new and unforeseen needs. In addition to the existing refugee caseload of 240,000 people from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), the escalation of insecurity in eastern Chad led to the internal displacement of 70,000 more Chadians. An estimated 173,000 IDPs now require assistance in the eastern regions. Increased violence in north-eastern CAR and the continued deterioration of the situation in Darfur weakened security in Chad’s neighbouring countries and created an extremely volatile socio-political ‘shatter belt’ along the Sudan/Chad/CAR axis.

In 2007, the cluster approach was formally introduced in Chad and clusters were established for: Protection, Shelter/Non-Food Items, Site Management, Emergency Telecommunication, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Education, Food Security, Logistic and Health. Some United Nations Agencies and NGOs were reluctant to participate due to lack of resources, and in response to this OCHA held an awareness-raising workshop in May for humanitarian partners in N’Djamena and the field.

The IASC Country Team was revitalized as the main forum for policy discussion and decision-making on humanitarian issues. The IASC discussed policy issues, strategies and resource mobilization, and inter-cluster meetings considered ways of improving assistance to vulnerable populations while monitoring those activities under implementation. At the field level, clusters began to meet regularly and, where it is present, inter-cluster meetings were supported by OCHA.

In March, OCHA’s presence was expanded from N’Djamena and Abéché, the eastern capital, to Goz Beida, one of the major centres of internal displacement, while preparation for an additional base in Farchana were finalized in December. The N’Djamena office was reinforced with extra staff, and a Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator was deployed to Abéché in October.

Performance Evaluation

Greater implementation of humanitarian reform in Chad

The IASC was strengthened with the full participation of NGOs, the Red Cross and donors. The cluster approach was adopted and OCHA supported the development of a cluster coordination framework. Ten clusters were established.

Strengthened in-country coordination

An effectively functioning Humanitarian Coordination Secretariat and cluster working groups were supported. The Consolidated Appeals Process Mid-Year Review focused on strategies and priorities defined by the IASC on the basis of a Needs Analysis Framework and referred to the cluster coordination approach.

Improved tools and services available to aid organizations

Strong in-country information management policies and practices were developed, including common methodology and standards. A GIS team was formed, a ‘Who Does What Where’ database was created and a maps website and bi-monthly bulletins were produced.

Improved and publicly profiled analysis of global and country humanitarian trends and issues

Bulletins, briefing materials and press releases on the humanitarian situation were widely disseminated, allowing local and regional donors to remain fully aware of funding needs in Chad. A multi-donor mission was conducted in July with support from OCHA. The main issues identified as requiring attention were: the strengthening of OCHA’s presence in the field; completion of the cluster approach; and preparation for the return of IDPs. OCHA’s Information Management Centre was operational in N’Djamena and it disseminated a range of humanitarian information products (maps, briefing kits and related data).

Improved coordination and monitoring of IDP issues

A comprehensive strategy to address IDP needs with links to the overall country humanitarian strategy was developed by OCHA with the full participation of humanitarian actors, and endorsed by the IASC.

Côte d’Ivoire

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/cotedivoire

Following the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement in March 2007, the political context in Côte d’Ivoire improved significantly. However, reports continued to be received of armed robbery, extortion, human right violations and the killing of civilians – all of which hampered the free movement of people and goods across the country. Improvements in access related to the better security conditions uncovered the hidden plight of those civilians who are most vulnerable – IDPs, returnees and host families.

Considerable progress was achieved in preparation for the rollout of clusters during 2007. Arrangements were made for an inter-agency humanitarian reform workshop to be held in January 2008, with the aim of keeping senior management and humanitarian staff abreast of developments in humanitarian reform, and enabling the integration of humanitarian reform – particularly clusters – into existing humanitarian coordination mechanisms (taking into account the shift from humanitarian activities to transition and recovery). OCHA provided key support to the Protection Cluster lead in ensuring that a harmonized and coherent protection approach was adopted by the United Nations, NGOs and national partners, leading to increased resources being made available by key donors in support of protection activities.

A consensus was reached by the humanitarian community on the analysis of Côte d’Ivoire’s humanitarian context, needs and strategic priorities during the Mid-Year Review of the 2007 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), which was facilitated by OCHA. This paved the way for addressing the concerns of some donors about inaccuracies in the analysis of the context, and allowed for the development of a commonly agreed upon humanitarian strategy. As a result, funding for the 2007 CAP increased considerably to 57 per cent – the best result achieved by a CAP in Côte d’Ivoire.

The most significant major constraints faced during 2007 were: lack of coherent coordination among government partners (particularly at the national level); lack of adequate resources; and lack of an effective government presence in some of the major IDP return areas.

Performance Evaluation

Properly functioning and supported CERF

OCHA assisted the Humanitarian Coordinator in ensuring the active involvement of the Inter-Agency Humanitarian Coordination Committee (IAHCC), the local IASC, in the steps leading up to the allocation of CERF funds from the underfunded window.

Strengthened in-country coordination

In collaboration with local and national authorities, OCHA assisted the Humanitarian Coordinator to develop an IDP strategy based on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in support of the wider humanitarian community’s interventions in response to the relief and protection needs of IDPs.

Improved tools and services to adapt to the humanitarian reform outcomes

OCHA prepared a detailed mapping response to IDP needs and identified gaps in the sector. ‘Who Does What Where’ databases were developed by the Protection Cluster and Education Sectoral Group. OCHA analysed existing coordination mechanisms in order to further improve the functioning of cluster and sector groups and allow for better information flow between the IAHCC at the national level and mini-IAHCCs at the field level.

Improved, and publicly profiled, analysis of humanitarian trends and issues

OCHA facilitated studies endorsed by the IAHCC that contributed to the revision of the CAP, focusing humanitarian interventions on return dynamics (particularly in the west). To ensure sustainable solutions to the needs of IDPs, OCHA continued to work closely with early recovery and development actors to ensure complementarity between humanitarian operations and early recovery and development activities.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles

OCHA advocated for the continuation of an appropriate response to the humanitarian and protection needs of the most vulnerable communities (IDPs, returnees and host communities in return areas) in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and within established national frameworks. This effort included the successful mobilization of partner support and financial resources.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/drc

Positive developments on the political and military fronts in 2007 resulted in the improvement of the situation in some previously problematic areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Nearly 1.2 million displaced persons were able to return home in Katanga and Ituri; however, the Kivus descended into a humanitarian crisis that began in late 2006 and has only worsened. Clashes between DRC armed forces and the renegade General Laurent Nkunda and his followers, and armed activity by Mai Mai and the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda, have caused IDP figures in North and South Kivu to jump by 435,000 (a 48 per cent increase) and 100,000 (a 40 per cent increase) respectively. The Kivus Conference on Peace and Development, planned for January 2008, presented a glimmer of hope for the future at the close of 2007.

Clusters are well established throughout eastern DRC and in areas of western DRC where humanitarian needs have been identified. They are the primary vehicle for ensuring sectoral coordination of humanitarian activities, and OCHA continued to facilitate inter-cluster coordination in 2007. An independent evaluation conducted in August 2007 found that the majority of respondents in DRC believed humanitarian coordination, needs assessment, gap identification and prioritization had improved as a result of the cluster approach. There is room for improvement, however, in terms of gap-filling, the notion of ‘provider of last resort’, and cluster lead accountability to the Humanitarian Coordinator.

OCHA continued to drive inter-organization, multi-sector coordination in the east of the country, supporting humanitarian coordination focal points to do the same in the west. It revised the set of information tools and services provided through the Humanitarian Information Service, focusing in particular on the ‘Who does What Where’ database, the www.rdc-humanitaire.net website and mapping products. The 2007 Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) – a joint strategic planning and implementation tool coordinated by OCHA but developed in large part by the clusters – was 67 per cent funded. The 2008 HAP introduced a new approach to prioritization that resulted in a 16 per cent reduction in total humanitarian funding requirements. OCHA’s advocacy efforts with state and non-state actors helped to ensure access to vulnerable populations and improve overall working conditions for humanitarian actors. The DRC Pooled Fund, managed by OCHA and UNDP, remained the largest single source of funding for humanitarian operations in DRC.

Performance Evaluation

Increased engagement, partnership and coordination with national and international NGOs and local and national authorities

Since its introduction in 2005, the HAP has evolved into the primary strategic planning and implementation document for almost all humanitarian actors in the DRC. Coordinated by OCHA and consisting of a joint analysis of needs, common objectives and indicators, as well as a broadly agreed prioritization of areas and interventions, the HAP is a product of the collective efforts of humanitarian actors, government actors and donors. In 2007, efforts were underway to increase the participation of national NGOs and key government actors in the HAP.

Improved tools and services

Two HAP monitoring exercises were carried out by OCHA in 2007: one for the preparation of the HAP Mid-Year Review; the second for the preparation of the 2008 HAP. In both cases, clusters used a tool developed by OCHA to monitor available baseline data and accomplishments. Information collected using the tools was complemented by written analyses provided by the clusters according to a template developed by OCHA.

Sharpened advocacy and improved analysis of humanitarian trends, issues and principles

OCHA’s range of information and analytical products provided timely and insightful decision-making and planning support to the humanitarian community, donors and government authorities, and helped to raise the public profile of humanitarian needs in DRC.

Improved coordination and monitoring of IDP issues

Each of the four eastern provinces in DRC, all of which host or have hosted large numbers of IDPs, had a functioning Population Movements Commission that met on a monthly basis to consolidate and validate information and data on both displacements and returns. Participants included United Nations Agencies, international and national NGOs, and provincial authorities. A standard information and data collection framework, including standard definitions and tools, was being finalized with relevant partners at the end of the year.

Strengthened management and administrative support

OCHA DRC was financially audited in 2005 and 2006. The auditors found a number of areas where improvements were necessary, both in terms of administrative procedures and management support. As of December 2007, 95 per cent of the audit recommendations had been implemented.

Eritrea

Relations between Eritrea and the United Nations system deteriorated further in 2007 as a result of the Ethiopia–Eritrea border impasse. The border stalemate has forced the Government to commit a significant amount of human and other resources to national defence, significantly constraining the production capacity of the country. Despite better rains and improved harvests over the last two years, anecdotal evidence points to continuing high levels of malnutrition.

OCHA continued to support the meetings of the IASC as well as the development and review of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) as an internal planning document for humanitarian response. The Office also supported the United Nations Country Team in prioritizing the allocation of CERF resources, and coordinated reporting on the implementation of activities. It contributed to the planning of the mission by the Secretary-General’s Special Humanitarian Envoy to the Horn of Africa in June. In August, the Office facilitated the preparation of an inter-agency contingency plan in Cairo in preparation for the possible outbreak of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The main constraints that OCHA faced in Eritrea during 2007 were related to access. An NGO Proclamation adopted in 2005 (prohibiting NGOs from acting as implementation partners to United Nations Agencies), along with the pursuit of a self-reliance policy by the Government, resulted in tighter restrictions on humanitarian operations. Private contractors who were previously hired by humanitarian partners to implement projects were replaced by direct Government implementation. While no inter-agency assessments were conducted in 2007, sectoral coordination meetings between the United Nations and NGOs in the main sectors continued for information-sharing purposes. A particular challenge for OCHA in 2007 was the mobilization of resources to support humanitarian activities, as the authorities discouraged some of these efforts.

Performance Evaluation

Properly functioning and supported CERF

OCHA ensured that the use of the US$ 3 million in CERF funds was discussed and agreed upon in sector/cluster coordination meetings – where possible with participation of NGO and Government partners. On behalf of the Humanitarian Coordinator, OCHA also ensured that prioritized proposals were in line with CERF criteria for underfunded emergencies prior to submission to the United Nations Country Team for a final decision.

Greater engagement and coordination with NGOs

The few NGOs working in Eritrea were involved in sector coordination meetings (mainly for the purposes of information sharing) with the relevant United Nations Agencies, notably in the Health and Nutrition, Education, and Water and Sanitation Sectors. They actively participated in CHAP 2008 discussions at the IASC level and in discussions about sector/cluster response strategies. The IASC, the only forum for discussion of common humanitarian concerns, met monthly. The IASC, as the main forum for discussion of common humanitarian concerns, met on a monthly basis.

Strengthened in-country coordination

United Nations Agencies were briefed on the cluster approach and the terms of reference for cluster lead agencies were shared. While the cluster approach was not officially adopted, sector coordination in five of the main sectors continued (albeit with a limited number of partner organizations). On the advice of the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, the Agencies agreed on the nominations for lead agencies of each sector/cluster in the event of a sudden emergency.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles

The development of a coherent advocacy strategy was not possible because of the lack of evidence-based data (due to access restrictions and the absence of nation-wide, interagency assessments).

Ethiopia

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/ethiopia

In 2007, the Government of Ethiopia and the humanitarian community faced several major humanitarian challenges, including both natural and complex emergencies. An estimated 1.3 million people were identified as needing emergency food assistance during the year, in addition to approximately 7.2 million people already covered by the Productive Safety Net Programme.

Inter-ethnic conflict resulted in population displacements in several places, particularly in Gambella and Oromiya regions. Acute watery diarrhoea was a major health challenge that affected nine of the eleven regions. Flooding occurred in Amhara, Gambella, Afar and Oromiya regions. The security and humani tarian situation in the five zones of Fik, Gode, Korahe, Degehabur and Warder of Somali region were of critical concern following the Government’s anti-insurgency operation against the Ogaden National Liberation Front that began in April – approximately 1.5 million people living within the conflict zone were affected.

The Humanitarian Coordinator, supported by OCHA, organized a joint Government/United Nations inter-agency mission to Somali region in September to determine needs for an initial three-month period. Although security and access impeded the full implementation of sectoral operations, progress included the establishment of two United Nations field offices in Kebridehar and Degehabur. High-level discussions held by the Emergency Relief Coordinator during his visit to Ethiopia in November resulted in some improvements in access and human rights issues. The Government’s commitment to assist in the implementation of a response action plan to address emergency needs in the five zones under military operation was also secured.

Security and access limitations hampered effective and timely humanitarian response in Somali region during 2007. Government and humanitarian partners also faced challenges in the implementation of the Government’s new approach to the allocation of relief resources, resulting in delays in identifying and addressing critical humanitarian needs. The absence of a Government counterpart responsible for IDP issues and the lack of reliable information about IDPs were major constraints to the effective and timely humanitarian response to displacement. While emergency response to outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea was well executed, gaining access to information about new outbreak areas was often challenging.

Performance Evaluation

Strengthened in-country coordination

The establishment of clusters in May ensured the provision of more systematic support to Government-led sectoral taskforces, and sectoral taskforce participation became a requirement for obtaining grants from the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF). Cluster leads also identified priorities for funding by the CERF in consultation with the sectoral taskforce. OCHA held a bi-weekly United Nations Technical Officers and cluster leads meeting, and it facilitated the reactivation of Emergency Coordination Forums during humanitarian crises, including regional and sub-regional coordination forums in Somali and Oromiya regions and flood taskforces in flood-prone areas.

Properly functioning Humanitarian Response Fund mechanism

In addressing sectoral needs in 2007, the HRF allocated US$ 7.1 million towards emergency assistance. In addition, approximately US$ 12.3 million was allocated from the CERF rapid response and underfunded emergency windows. OCHA coordinated two major evaluations during the year focusing on HRF-funded seed projects and acute water diarrhoea response.

Improved, and publicly profiled, analysis of country humanitarian trends

A range of publications (weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, monthly Focus on Ethiopia, situation reports, press releases, emergency matrices, maps, the ‘Who Does What Where’ database and internal reports) were produced to provide humanitarian news and updates to all stakeholders. OCHA also tracked funding information against the Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners Appeal along with the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency and line ministries. OCHA co-chaired the mapping task force with the Ethiopian Mapping Agency.

Strengthened and more coherent humanitarian appeal process

OCHA provided technical support in the preparation of the 2007 Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners Appeal, while advocating for moving from the annual joint appeal process to multi-annual contingency planning. Nationwide and regional flood contingency plans were prepared, mitigating the severest impacts of the flooding that occurred.

The Office adapted the Inter-Agency Contingency Planning guidelines to the Ethiopian context. In order to better capture information about needs in the non-food sectors, cluster leads supported the development of new tools in the Water and Sanitation and Health sectors. OCHA also provided support in the implementation of the new Government approach to relief allocation; some ‘assessment fatigue’ among partners was noted with the increased frequency of verification assessments required.

Guinea

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/guinea

The humanitarian situation in Guinea was characterized by rising socioeconomic and political tensions. A series of violent demonstrations at the beginning of the year resulted in the death of at least 130 people and injury of more than 1,000, while looting and destruction of government buildings left a national administrative presence in just three of the country’s 33 prefectures. Security forces were accused of using excessive force against civilians, including women and children. The country returned to calm only after the naming of a consensus prime minister in February and the striking of a power-sharing deal that addressed some of the protesters’ grievances.

The number of cases of cholera was recorded at a peak of 8,546, and the epidemic killed 304 people. Over 3,000 households were affected by floods. The UNHCR’s voluntary repatriation programmes for Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees wound down, and their local reintegration began.

Implementation of some of the office’s initiatives was hampered by the limited capacity of OCHA’s scaled-down presence, the closure of its sub-office in the Guinée Forestière region, insufficient operational funds, and limited equipment and logistics. There were also constraints on humanitarian access due to insecurity in some parts of the country.

Performance Evaluation

Strengthened in-country coordination

OCHA promoted greater engagement and coordination among international and national NGOs, improved the quality of OCHA-led inter-agency assessment missions to the country’s interior, mobilized relief assistance, essential supplies and blood donation for hospitals in Conakry, and strengthened strategic links between humanitarian and development assistance.

Fully deployed, functioning and funded cluster system (in new emergencies and countries selected by the IASC)

Following a workshop in mid 2007 on humanitarian reform, the cluster approach was rolled out in the Education, Water/ Sanitation, Health, Protection, Food Security and Nutrition, Logistics and Telecommunications sectors. Cluster meetings began to be held regularly, with the participation of representatives from United Nations Agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross movement and government line ministries.

Improved tools and services (to adapt to humanitarian reform outcomes)

OCHA enhanced its information management tools, including the ‘Who does What Where’ database, situation reports and maps.

Somalia

 
            http://ochaonline.un.org/somalia

Following a series of shocks in the first half of 2007, the humanitarian situation in Somalia deteriorated dramatically. Poor spring rains resulted in the worst cereal harvest in ten years, while escalating conflict between the Transitional Federal Government and anti-government elements in Mogadishu caused massive population displacements. According to a Food Security Analysis Unit assessment, as of July 2007 there were 1.5 million people in need of assistance and protection – a 50 per cent increase since the start of the year.

During the last quarter of 2007, violence and displacement from Mogadishu continued on an unprecedented scale. By December, around 600,000 people had fled Mogadishu, and informal settlements along the Mogadishu–Afgooye road now host more than 200,000 IDPs. Providing assistance to these highly vulnerable people remains the greatest challenge to the humanitarian community working in Somalia.

To strengthen the cluster approach, in 2007 OCHA established an Inter-Cluster Working Group which met in Nairobi (where the cluster lead agencies are located) and was piloted in Somalia in October. The Inter-Cluster Working Group encouraged NGO participation by involving NGO cluster co-chairs, IASC NGOs and regional-specific NGOs depending on the focus of the meeting. OCHA supported an IASC decision that all cluster chairs should be based within Somalia, and promoted the clusters by advocating for dedicated cluster chairs and greater resources for cluster coordination. OCHA upscaled its information management capacity with the recruitment of two information management officers to map humanitarian needs and assistance, and expanded the ‘Who Does What Where’ database to support clusters in the planning, prioritizing and targeting of humanitarian response.

OCHA continued to increase the number and seniority of its staff working in Somalia, and this contributed to improved coordination, the strengthening of regional hubs in areas of greatest humanitarian need, and the identification of regional cluster focal points by United Nations Agencies and NGOs.

In 2007, the OCHA-administered Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) allocated over US$ 10 million in support of 63 emergency projects, half of which were implemented by Somali NGOs (either directly or in partnership). The HRF disbursed US$ 3 million in CERF funding to local and international NGOs. A total of US$ 15.6 million in CERF funding provided life-saving assistance for IDPs who had fled Mogadishu, as well as for those affected by the nutrition crisis in South Central Somalia.

The many challenges faced by the humanitarian community in Somalia in 2007 included: limited access to populations in need due to insecurity; illegal taxation at checkpoints; security incidents during distributions; and the targeting of humanitarian workers and assets by armed groups. The impartial nature of humanitarian work was challenged by some authorities who consider assistance to populations not under their immediate control as equivalent to supporting anti-government elements.

Performance Evaluation

Strengthened coordination and sustainable access to basic humanitarian services for the most vulnerable populations

In 2007 OCHA deployed a team of five national and two international staff to South Central Somalia, a region which hosts the majority of vulnerable Somalis. Regular coordination meetings were held in five locations, and Nairobi-based staff frequently travelled to South Central. OCHA also led a mapping exercise and helped to coordinate the response to new displacements in Afgooye.

Improved level of preparedness of humanitarian partners and local communities to respond to natural disasters and complex emergencies

Following the devastating 2006–07 winter floods, the level of emergency preparedness of communities, local authorities and humanitarian partners improved. With HRF support, emergency preparedness committees were established in flood-prone districts, and NGOs carried out river embankment repairs. During localized flooding in 2007, early warnings were rapidly disseminated, communities – in partnership with NGOs and local authorities and businesses – were able to repair new embankments, and, when required, villagers were able to relocate to predetermined safe areas.

Increased emphasis on early recovery in parts of Somalia transitioning from an emergency phase to rehabilitation and reconstruction

Although the early recovery part of the 2007 CAP received zero funding, 32 per cent of HRF-funded projects provided direct livelihoods support (the second highest HRF-funded sector after Water/Sanitation and Health at 33 per cent). Unfortunately this objective was not fully met in 2007, in part due to poor appreciation of the link between humanitarian and early recovery activities, and reluctance on the part of donors to fund early recovery initiatives in South Central Somalia.

Enhanced protection of and respect for the human rights and dignity of IDPs, minorities, women and vulnerable communities

OCHA increased its advocacy efforts on access, human rights and adherence to international humanitarian law, both within and outside Somalia. It put information management systems in place to strengthen regular analysis of the access situation, while monthly access situation reports were produced and used for advocacy purposes.

Strengthened humanitarian advocacy through the implementation of an IASC advocacy strategy, common positions/policies based on humanitarian principles and improved resource mobilization

OCHA led advocacy and mobilization efforts on behalf of the United Nations Country Team, the IASC and the wider humanitarian community on areas including: access (the removal of road blocks and other limitations on humanitarian space); development of Joint Operating Principles reinforcing basic humanitarian principles; development of an IASC advocacy strategy on a Somalia integrated mission; and increased operational capacity and presence in the field.

Sudan

 
           http://ochaonline.un.org/sudan

During 2007 Darfur experienced increased political instability and insecurity, and tensions emerged between the signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The deployment of the African Union Mission in Sudan, mandated to monitor a ceasefire agreement and ensure the security of civilians, was hampered by an escalation in attacks on civilians, humanitarians and the peacekeeping operation itself. Security Council Resolution 1769/2007 authorized a joint peacekeeping force, the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as of 1 January 2008.

The 27 October peace talks in Libya and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM)-sponsored conference for Darfur Peace Agreement non-signatory movements held in Juba (15 October) had a significant impact on the composition, alliances and activities of rebel groups, neutral groups and government-allied groups in Darfur. This made it extremely difficult for humanitarian operations in the immediate term: constant changes in alliances and authority over territory – as well as ongoing conflict – reduce not only access but also the ability to negotiate through established contacts to improve access.

In 2007 the SPLM withdrew its ministers in the Government of National Unity amid complaints about delays in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement protocols. While negotiations resulted in the ministers returning, key issues such as Joint Integrated Units, the Abyei Boundary, oil revenue sharing and the Interim Administration were not resolved, heightening the humanitarian community’s concern for vulnerable populations facing continued localized conflict.

OCHA’s office in Sudan noted significant improvements in the engagement of humanitarian and recovery stakeholders. The coordination and planning framework of the United Nations and its partners working in Sudan – a regionalized sector structure similar to the cluster approach – sets out its work in the yearly United Nations and Partners Work Plan for Sudan, and preparation of the 2008 Work Plan saw further improvements in partner participation.

The Common Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, in its second year of operation, allocated close to US$ 150 million to priority humanitarian activities throughout Sudan. The Fund is managed by the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, with technical support from OCHA.

The signing of the United Nations and Government of Sudan Joint Communiqué in March 2007 was intended to ensure that bureaucratic impediments affecting humanitarian organizations in Darfur could be addressed though a proper tripartite mechanism, with representation by the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the United Nations (OCHA) and international organizations. However, implementation of this accord faltered repeatedly in the months following its signing, only to be renewed and implemented again – a cycle that has been observed since the first agreement was reached in July 2004.

In relation to coordination and operations, inter-agency management groups mirroring the Khartoum-based Inter-Agency Group were established in the three Darfur state capitals. OCHA chairs these bodies of representatives from the United Nations, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross, with around 32 NGOs submitting weekly data to OCHA and the HAC Joint Procedures Centre (established to process NGO administrative paperwork, in cooperation with OCHA and NGOs).

A Civil–Military Coordination Officer was deployed to Darfur in November to contribute to UNAMID induction training and civil–military coordination workshops. Gender mainstreaming was supported by a designated OCHA staff member, in collaboration with UNIFEM and UNFPA. For the rest of Sudan, the focus on transition to recovery has allowed for incremental transfer of coordination services to the Resident Coordinator’s Office and the United Nations Mission in the Sudan, and stronger promotion of humanitarian reform. In line with the reform, the Khartoum-based IASC is now the Humanitarian Country Team – chaired by the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and with OCHA as secretariat. Contingency planning among all organizations is led by OCHA – in Darfur by itself and in the rest of Sudan in collaboration with the Resident Coordinator’s Office.

The OCHA Sudan operation is the largest humanitarian coordination operation in the world and there are significant demands and expectations placed upon it. Staff shortages and long recruitment processes adversely affect OCHA’s ability to deliver the key coordination services that enable partners to undertake effective humanitarian action on the ground, while the highly unpredictable and volatile security environment continue to reduce the humanitarian community’s ability to access Sudan’s populations in need.

Performance Evaluation

Greater engagement and coordination with national and international NGOs

In the interests of minimizing duplication and gaps and improving effectiveness, in 2007 OCHA worked towards the increased participation of NGOs in the United Nations and Partners Work Plan for Sudan as well as other coordination processes at the Khartoum and regional levels.

Strengthened in-country coordination and improved implementation of relevant humanitarian reform recommendations

OCHA provided stronger analysis through the work of the Humanitarian Country Team with the addition of several key specialist staff and programme focuses such as contingency and emergency response planning, civil–military coordination and protection coordination – enhancing the regionalization of sector coordination. In cooperation with its partners, it led a strategy to regain humanitarian space, including establishing monitoring, advocacy and follow-up mechanisms.

OCHA’s emergency preparedness and response analysis and recommendations presented at the weekly South Sudan IASC meetings strengthened response capacity and mechanisms. In addition, OCHA supported national authorities’ capacity to respond to disasters and emergencies.

Timely and effective handover of coordination responsibilities to the Office of the Resident Coordinator in relevant areas

OCHA phased out offices and services from areas determined by the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator to be more appropriately served by recovery and development coordination.

Improved tools and services to adapt to humanitarian reform outcomes

Humanitarian information platforms for Sudan and standard information products for the humanitarian community (websites, maps, a ‘Who Does What Where’ database, financial tracking) were consolidated, and emergency preparedness and response capacity was strengthened.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles

Common advocacy platforms were established with partners along with jointly implemented advocacy strategies, while awareness-raising on humanitarian policy was undertaken for humanitarian actors, peacekeepers and national authorities.

The Inter-Agency Working Group was tasked with advocating and implementing the Strategy to Regain Humanitarian Space.

Uganda

The Juba Peace Process continued with positive effect in Uganda during 2007. Although the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army seemed close to abandoning the negotiating table early in the year, agreements on agenda items two and three (‘Comprehensive Solutions’ and ‘Accountability and Reconciliation’) were signed by 30 June, when the negotiations were suspended to allow for public consultations. The prevailing security and stability throughout northern Uganda encouraged the return of IDPs (particularly in the Lango sub-region), and this trend brought within sight the end of humanitarian opera tions in areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army – a planning assumption incorporated throughout the 2008 Consolidated Appeals Process.

The security situation in Karamoja was not as stable. Following a February report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the perpetration of gross violations of human rights during cordon-and-search operations, greater effort was made to avoid hostilities during disarmament exercises. This resulted in an improved trend from March to September, but this was then eroded by the resumption of violent tactics and confrontation between the Uganda People’s Defence Force and armed Karimojong.

Following the cluster self-assessment in October 2006, significant progress was made on their strengthening in 2007. To simplify the approach, clusters were promoted as an ‘operational conversation’ that seeks to establish a response equal to needs by all cluster members. A process for modifying and closing clusters was approved by the IASC Country Team, and meetings of heads of clusters were held at all main field locations and in Kampala to cover cross-cutting issues and ensure operational coherence.

OCHA helped to extend cluster coordination to the response to sudden-onset emergencies. It also provided support in forecasting and preparing for the transition from humanitarian to recovery operations in northern Uganda, with clusters requested to develop ‘end states’ for their humanitarian programming and exit strategies. High staff turnover in partner organizations required the frequent dissemination of information about humanitarian reform and the role of clusters to new personnel. The lack of a cohesive recovery community compounded the difficulties of the transition. For example, in Lira District, unnecessarily high levels of malnutrition followed a failure to programme adequately for water and health on the return of IDPs.

Performance Evaluation

Strengthened in-country coordination functioning at all levels

The cluster leadership approach was extended to all sectors. A logistic cluster was established during the floods in September, and closed at the end of November. The opening of a sub-office in Karamoja facilitated the strengthening of coordination in the eastern part of the country.

Humanitarian Coordinator and cluster/sector leads strengthened through OCHA support

A regular heads of cluster coordination mechanism was established, with OCHA as chair. The Consolidated Appeals Process, flash appeals and the CERF were used as inter-cluster planning and funding tools. OCHA’s GIS staff ensured the improvement of information management support to the clusters, and from September a cluster coordinator began work on ensuring the consistency of coordination tools across all clusters.

More insightful humanitarian advocacy and policy advice to the Humanitarian Coordinator, cluster leads and cluster members

OCHA briefed the IASC Country Team on relevant policy and strategic issues on a monthly basis, and the Humanitarian Coordinator used some OCHA-specific briefings during discussions with the Government.

Improved facilitation of the transition from emergency to recovery in return areas

An approach based on promoting the basic administrative unit, the parish, as service provider for IDPs (as opposed to services being provided within IDP camps and transit areas) was adopted as the main strategic tool to ensure the successful transition from emergency to recovery in IDP areas. Continuity in coordination during transition was ensured by the establishment at the parish level of core social services for populations who had returned, those who were in transit or those who chose to remain in the camps. The eleven UNDP-funded District Disaster Preparedness Coordinators involved in the process committed to ensuring the continuation of general coordination following the eventual scaling down of OCHA’s presence in Uganda.

Zimbabwe

 
           http://ochaonline.un.org/zimbabwe

In 2007, concerted efforts were made by the Resident Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator – supported by OCHA – to engage the Government of Zimbabwe in improving the environment for humanitarian assistance. With some NGOs almost forced to abandon their operations, OCHA worked closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Department of Immigration to address key issues such as NGO registration, memoranda of understanding and Temporary Employment Permits. In the latter part of the year, joint Government/United Nations Country Team/NGO meetings as well as OCHA’s participation in the Foreign Recruitment Committee helped to build mutual trust between the Government and the humanitarian community.

OCHA worked with the Government’s Civil Protection Unit to strengthen emergency preparedness in disaster-prone areas across the country, which involved bringing the Civil Protection Unit and humanitarian partners together in conducting multi-sectoral field assessments and ensuring a coordinated and timely response to floods at the end of the year. Disaster management training based on Sphere principles was org anized for the humanitarian community, while an inter-agency contingency plan was developed with the participation of United Nations Agencies, NGOs and donors, and finalized in December.

Despite the 2007 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) benefiting from the involvement of United Nations Agencies, churches, national and international NGOs, the Red Cross movement, donors and some Government line ministries, a lack of common understanding of what constitutes a humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe persisted. Restrictions on conducting joint inter-agency assessments in certain parts of the country, such as areas of ex-farm workers and those displaced during Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order affected the timely and effective response to humanitarian needs. Due to political sensitivity around the issue, protection did not receive adequate attention by the humanitarian community.

Performance Evaluation

Properly functioning and supported CERF

Zimbabwe received a total of US$ 4 million from the CERF facility for underfunded emergencies in 2007. In addition, the CERF allocated US$ 8 million for rapid response to the World Food Programme’s Vulnerable Group Feeding Programme. OCHA supported the Humanitarian Coordinator and IASC in identifying priorities for new allocations, and served as the facilitator of all CERF-related processes in Zimbabwe.

Fully deployed, functioning and funded cluster system in all relevant areas

The promotion of the cluster approach was given high priority in 2007, although by the end of the year it had still not been officially rolled out. Representatives from United Nations humanitarian agencies, NGOs, the International Federation of the Red Cross and donors collectively endorsed its use in June, and it was further agreed to by the IASC Country Team in July. However, its actual rollout was stalled because of the NGO community’s concerns about equal representation in the IASC Country Team and funding mechanisms.

Greater engagement and coordination with national and international NGOs

OCHA worked actively to strengthen coordination with national NGOs, in particularly through frequent meetings with the National Association for Non-Governmental Organizations. OCHA also engaged with the NGO community through quarterly meetings with the Humanitarian Coordinator and NGOs, as well as other ad hoc consultations. NGOs were encouraged to take part in sectoral working groups and the CAP – as equal partners with the United Nations.

Strengthened coordination of the humanitarian community in Zimbabwe

OCHA supported the Humanitarian Coordinator, the IASC Country Team and the humanitarian community to develop a common approach to humanitarian action in 2007, through regular IASC meetings, donor meetings, NGO meetings and Working Group Chairs meetings. Monthly humanitarian situation reports, ‘Who Does What Where’ matrices and financial tracking tables were shared at these meetings.

Strengthened consolidated appeals processes

OCHA facilitated the 2007 CAP, to which thirteen United Nations Agencies and 40 NGOs submitted projects. The Office also facilitated the development of the 2008 CAP, launched in December 2007.