OCHA in 2009 Cover Download Hi-res PDF (6.4 MB)

Eritrea

Highlights

  • In the absence of a CAP, OCHA coordinated development of a work plan designed to support advocacy efforts and resource mobilization. The work plan will be fully rolled out in 2010.
  • Supported the RC/HC’s successful advocacy efforts on promoting greater engagement among Government and humanitarian and development partners.
  • Successfully facilitated the inter-agency process of prioritizing projects for two consecutive CERF underfunded allocations of $3.5 million altogether, addressing key humanitarian needs for 1.1 million people.
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Comprehensive planning and coordination in 2009 were complicated by continuing strains in the relationship between the Government and the United Nations system. In the absence of a CAP or similar resource mobilization tool, United Nations agencies continued to face significant financial shortfalls. With humanitarian agencies confined to Asmara, the United Nations capacity to assess and monitor the situation in other parts of the country was heavily limited. However, high-level discussions involving the RC/HC, OCHA and key agencies suggested the ochaonline.un.org/car Government’s willingness to engage in a more strategic dialogue with the United Nations, particularly regarding food insecurity.

Despite problems gaining access to vulnerable populations across the country, humanitarian agencies played a critical role in addressing the needs of around 1.1 million people in Eritrea. OCHA worked with partners, including NGOs and donors, using existing coordination and humanitarian planning mechanisms, particularly the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP).

OCHA facilitated the inter-agency process of prioritizing CERF projects in line with CERF criteria. A total of $3.5 million was made available through two consecutive CERF allocations, supporting around 600,000 people out of the 1.1 million vulnerable. The projects focused on providing emergency health care, tackling chronic malnutrition, and securing food aid for Somali and Sudanese refugees. A significant proportion of CERF resources to Eritrea targets female-headed households.

Given the restrictions on international staff movements outside Asmara, the UNCT focused on developing Government capacity for providing up-to-date information. OCHA continued to provide updated information products such as maps and the 3W database. OCHA strived to ensure that data appearing in OCHA-produced situation updates, proposals or CERF reports were disaggregated by sex and age.

With the arrival of the new RC/HC to Eritrea in mid-2009, an HC Compact was established with the ERC. The overall objective was to improve strategic cooperation, predictable planning and resource mobilization.

At present, the humanitarian needs in Eritrea are embedded in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) document, which gives limited room for humanitarian strategizing. To remedy this and to underpin RC/HC efforts, OCHA worked with United Nations partners to develop the strategic work plan to allow for a more predictable and strategic response, including a resource mobilization component that would be rolled out in mid-2010.

Since 2006/2007, attempts have been made to introduce a number of humanitarian reform elements, particularly the cluster approach. However, these have met with limited success. The full implementation of humanitarian reform in Eritrea was still contingent on a marked improvement in relations between the Government and the United Nations, and the creation of a more enabling operating environment. In line with this thinking, the RC/HC and OCHA worked with partners to develop the work plan.