Côte d’Ivoire (CDI)
- Outlined and implemented detailed transition plans to support OCHA phase-out and handover of coordination functions to recovery actors for 2010.
- Timely CERF submissions covered needs in promoting social cohesion, and combating malnutrition and epidemics.
- The HCT prioritized disaster response preparedness. Relevant mechanisms reviewed to meet local requirements.
The overall situation in CDI remained fragile in 2009. The country was still in a post-crisis phase, awaiting full implementation of the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement of March 2007. Further delays in holding the elections raised political tensions, but did not jeopardize humanitarian operations. In terms of its coordinating role, OCHA continued to help guide the gradual transition from relief activities to recovery and development, but faced significant challenges. These included limited funding, the lack of disaster response preparedness and the need for effective coordination handover mechanisms.
As humanitarian activities and funding decreased rapidly, it was important to ensure a better understanding of residual needs. OCHA therefore encouraged and supported more needs assessment, especially regarding food security and malnutrition.OCHA also worked with the Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO) and aid partners, notably the Inter-Agency Humanitarian Coordination Committee (IAHCC), to develop a responsible transition coordination framework to be rolled out in 2010, based on best practices of partnership, leadership and accountability. A key part of OCHA’s overall exit strategy was establishing a well-devised preparedness plan.
OCHA continued to support HCT and IAHCC members in identifying priorities, based on the Critical Humanitarian Needs strategy, and submitting proposals to CERF. Grants worth around $2.4 million were allocated to CDI in 2009. OCHA remained pivotal in advocating the protection of vulnerable groups, including IDPs who have yet to be reintegrated, returnees, and women and children. OCHA’s brief included ensuring that sectoral response adhered to international requirements at national and regional level.
OCHA continued to provide updated information products such as humanitarian bulletins and an updated Who Does What Where (3W) database. But more resources were invested in building the information capacity of organizations involved in recovery, particularly in areas such as Geographic Information Systems and mapping.
In 2008, CDI was selected as a pilot country for the United Nations system to achieve greater integration in supporting a joint vision and maximizing resources towards peace consolidation priorities. As part of this process, in 2009, OCHA played a significant role in developing an Integrated Strategic Framework (ISF), bringing together ONUCI and the UNCT. OCHA is also a member of the Integrated Strategy and Planning Team, which coordinated the development and implementation of the ISF and reports to the senior Strategic Coordination Group.
The transitional context in CDI required OCHA to look critically at the implementation of humanitarian reform. The volume of humanitarian activity has diminished considerably from 2008 onwards, with most assistance partners shifting focus from relief work to recovery and/or national capacity-building. For example, most IAHCC participants now reconvene in an Extended Coordination Committee, part of the transition coordination platform in 2010. OCHA ensured that its work plans in 2009 mirrored the priorities outlined in the HC Compact. Regular meetings between the Head of Office (HoO) and the HC took place throughout the year to take stock and follow-up on implementing the plans outlined.
OCHA used its National Protection Officer to liaise between the Protection Cluster and the gender theme group, both working on issues of GBV. OCHA often relayed information to relevant bodies on reported cases of abuse. OCHA joined all meetings on developing a national strategy against sexual abuse and violence. OCHA also played a central role in establishing the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) network in collaboration with ONUCI. In October 2009, a workshop for focal points and managers was organized to reinforce institutional support to victims of abuse.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) approved OCHA’s exit strategy from CDI in June 2009. This allowed enough time to scale-down operations in an orderly, appropriate manner by the end of June 2010. Four sub-offices closed in December, leaving 24 of the original 46 staff still active in 2010. An OCHA Administrative Office mission in September supported development of the exit strategy, while emphasizing the need for adequate warning to service providers to meet the phase-out deadlines and follow all appropriate administrative and financial rules. Terminated staff members have received support and references from the Executive Office.