- Facilitated emergency relief coordination and transition to recovery in areas hit by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, targeting cyclone-affected populations and handing main coordination functions to the Recovery Coordination Centre (RCC).
- Provided sustained support to emergency/disaster preparedness and risk reduction efforts, including the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan and the Myanmar Action Plan of Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Used involvement in the cluster system and other coordination mechanisms to help ensure more effective humanitarian assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations.
During 2009, OCHA Myanmar continued to support an all-inclusive coordination mechanism through the cluster system and the HCT. The implementation of the cluster approach ensured a coherent approach to aid delivery to those affected by Cyclone Nargis. Looking to the transition to longer-term recovery coordination, the establishment of an RCC gradually took over the coordination of recovery activities in cyclone-affected areas from July 2009 onwards.
The RCC was established by the Tripartite Core Group, comprising the Government, ASEAN and the United Nations. OCHA has worked with the RCC to ensure a smooth transition. OCHA staff remained in the Delta to ensure capacity-building and the transfer of knowledge to incoming partners.
OCHA continued to assist the HC in areas such as advocacy for increased funding, helping create common advocacy messages, and providing monitoring and analysis on issues such as access constraints for humanitarian workers. OCHA facilitated the exchange of information and promotion of a better understanding of the humanitarian situation in Myanmar between Thai-based and Myanmar-based organizations.
While the creation of the RCC has helped strengthen coordination, funding constraints have made it difficult for recovery actors in the Delta to guarantee that aid efforts remain as strong and effective as they were during the emergency relief phase. OCHA worked with the HCT to improve contingency planning, disaster preparedness and risk reduction efforts. OCHA also supported the development of strategic documents such as the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan and the Myanmar Action Plan of Disaster Risk Reduction.
While OCHA gradually phased-out its activities in the Delta, it retained a country office to help address country-wide issues. OCHA increased support to coordination efforts in Chin State through the deployment of a dedicated team, with regular travel to the field. As a result, a sub-office was expected to be established in Chin State in 2010. OCHA will collaborate with the local lead agency, WFP, in analyzing the humanitarian situation and getting a clearer idea of key priorities in the area.
OCHA facilitated the submission of a CERF grant in 2009 for humanitarian activities in Northern Rakhine State (NRS). In parallel, OCHA Myanmar continued to manage, in support of the HC, a Humanitarian Multi-Stakeholder Fund, which allocated funding to local and international NGOs for unmet and emergency needs in-country.Provision of support to inter-cluster coordination was a core function at country and field level. Clusters have evolved into working groups, but remain an integral part of the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for possible re-activation in a serious emergency. The HCT will now focus more on strategic decision-making, in particular through the formation of a smaller ‘core group’.
Challenges in implementing humanitarian reform include ensuring that the HCT retains its strategic focus. OCHA will continue promoting awareness of the cluster system and the need for its reactivation for future emergencies. Training was provided to field coordinators, and coordination and reports associates to ensure a proper gender perspective. Field reports and assessment data updates have been presented with disaggregated age/sex data. Gender and other cross-cutting issues have also featured strongly in workshops and drafting sector response plans for the Contingency Plan and CHAP for NRS.