- Strategic analysis of humanitarian context to the humanitarian community in Ethiopia and to a wider audience outside the country.
- Extensive liaison with Government on issues such as humanitarian access to the Somali region.
- Overall humanitarian response capacity strengthened through OCHA management of the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF).
In 2009, OCHA Ethiopia focused on enabling more effective humanitarian coordination through strengthening the operating relations between clusters and Government-led Sectoral Task Forces. OCHA used task force and cluster meetings to focus on a more timely and effective response to humanitarian needs at regional level, determining priorities and identifying key gaps in humanitarian response. OCHA provided information sharing and technical expertise on humanitarian issues to the Government, United Nations, NGOs and donors, establishing stronger partnerships between these actors. OCHA helped broker greater access for humanitarian actors in the eastern Somali region. It also provided continued support to humanitarian partners and government counterparts at regional level, including rapid assessments of the needs generated by conflict-induced displacement.
OCHA played a critical role in mobilizing support at cluster lead level to the Government in developing a multi-sectoral, national Contingency Plan, as well as the annual Humanitarian Requirements Document.
The Contingency Plan outlined potential hazards and subsequent sectoral response requirements in 2010 to assist some 3.2 million food and non-food beneficiaries identified during a global assessment. However, the Government still needs to agree on working with humanitarian partners to establish realistic figures for beneficiaries based on data acquired through assessments.
OCHA continued to support the Government and humanitarian partners in finding ways of using a Disaster Risk Management approach. OCHA Ethiopia helped strengthen partnerships between the Government and United Nations agencies within UNDAF. Strengthened partnerships with the Government helped ensure that critical issues, including access, needs assessments, early warning preparedness and contingency planning, were systematically addressed, particularly in relation to humanitarian response and Government interventions. OCHA supported the establishment of the Government-led Early Warning Unit of the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) and the Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group on preparedness and response planning. Regional early warning systems are in place, underpinned by better information and contingency planning. However, more needs to be done to strengthen government capacity at regional levels and to ensure proper linkages with DRMFSS.
In the Somali region, where humanitarian problems are most acute, OCHA Ethiopia strengthened local government-led coordination structures and fora, which benefited from a greater participation of partners. OCHA activated the sub-office in Gode and boosted the coordination capacity of the Kebridehar sub-office. This reorganization enabled a joint identification of gaps in the provision of humanitarian assistance, for example reaching those at risk to drought, while allowing better joint planning in response to emergencies, including Acute Watery Diarrhea outbreaks and displacement. While access to the Somali region remains difficult for humanitarian actors, OCHA has invested considerable efforts in establishing a platform for dialogue between the United Nations, NGOs, donors and Government at federal and regional levels. Significant efforts were made to create a platform for open discussion with Government counterparts on IDP-related issues.
The HRF successfully enhanced response capacity in 2009, enabling the humanitarian community to reach more beneficiaries. Eighty-one project activities were undertaken in all sectors, at a cost of over $39 million. The Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team is currently evaluating mechanisms to strengthen its strategic focus over the coming year, specifically on advocacy, influencing policy on assessments and response, and supporting capacity at all levels. With support from the GenCap Advisor, gender is now mainstreamed into project proposal and reporting templates. OCHA Ethiopia undertook a gender audit process from September to October 2009, monitoring the office’s progress in establishing gender equality in humanitarian coordination and identifying means of improving gender mainstreaming. A workshop was organized for OCHA to raise overall gender awareness. OCHA Ethiopia was also engaged in continuous gender capacity-building activities with the Government and other partners. For example, OCHA provided technical support to the Oromia regional workshop on gender mainstreaming and development of data collection/assessment tools in November 2009.