- Helped humanitarian and development community move from a humanitarian to a recovery agenda, while offering policy guidance on merging clusters into Government coordination structures.
- Maintained strong level of advocacy on key issues, including the need for a unique humanitarian engagement in the north-eastern crisis-affected region of Karamoja.
- Successfully established an ERF, with 30 per cent funding to date and significant additional donor interest.
With new transitional humanitarian and development priorities emerging in Uganda, the biggest challenge to coordination in 2009 was securing the necessary Government capacity and commitment to lead, or at least participate in, the clusters or sectors. The north-eastern region of Karamoja remained highly problematic, with humanitarian access complicated by insecurity and extremely poor road conditions. In the CAP 2009, there were serious funding shortfalls in sectors including education and health, which affected partners’ capacity to address humanitarian needs.
OCHA Uganda strengthened its presence in Karamoja by deploying a Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer for the first time. Karamoja exemplified a new challenge, related to the humanitarian implications of climate change, as outlined in OCHA’s new strategic framework.
In northern Uganda, OCHA consolidated its operations, continuing to provide critical coordination support to plug emerging gaps in meeting humanitarian needs. Joint district authority - cluster/sector lead meetings in Acholi and Karamoja were initiated to ensure increased Government participation in discussion and decision-making at local level. OCHA maintained its regular coordination support functions, including mapping and IM. An ERF proposed and managed by OCHA became operational in 2009.
OCHA led efforts to strengthen Government response and preparedness in line with the recommendations of the November 2008 UNDAC Disaster Response Preparedness mission to Uganda. OCHA continued to be a key participant in the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), helping to develop the forum’s work plan for 2009.
Additionally, OCHA contributed to developing the national contingency plan for El Niño and played an important advocacy role in developing district preparedness plans.
OCHA augmented its IM capacity in 2009, providing partners with a range of products to aid informed decision-making. For example, OCHA maps have become the premier information product of their kind among agencies, donors and some Government departments. Additionally, the Uganda clusters’ website, managed by OCHA on behalf of the clusters, continued to gain popularity as a one-stop information-sharing portal, with hits doubled in the year.
As of February 2010, the IASC Country Team should give way to a HCT, while retaining the same membership structure and meeting schedule.During 2009, OCHA Uganda designated a Gender Focal Point and distributed information materials to staff on sexual exploitation and abuse. The Focal Point ensures that issues related to sexual abuse, exploitation and gender inequality in the work place are reported and then addressed by management.
Given the wider transitional context, OCHA’s planning for Uganda in 2010 anticipates a budget reduction of 41 per cent from 2008 and a staff reduction from 44 to 28.
OCHA Uganda has already significantly reduced operations in the Acholi sub-region, closing sub-offices in Pader and Kitgum districts and consolidating its Gulu sub-office. Intensified advocacy succeeded in ensuring stronger leadership and participation in cluster coordination at the district level, while a joint chairing of heads of cluster meetings with UNDP was initiated in Gulu and Amuru in recognition of the transition to recovery. In 2010, there will be a concerted effort to conclude humanitarian activities in regions of Uganda affected by LRA operations and to establish finalized contingency plans in support of a robust National Platform for DRR in Uganda.