Strategic Objectives

The OCHA Strategic Framework 2010-2013 details OCHA priorities for a four-year period. It ensures that the organization delivers on its core mandate while responding to contemporary global challenges and their implications for humanitarian coordination.

Below is a summary of OCHA’s performance according to its three goals: a more enabling environment for humanitarian action, a more effective humanitarian coordination system, and strengthened OCHA management and administration.

A detailed account of OCHA’s performance per objectives can be found on the right.

Goal 1 - A more enabling environment for humanitarian action

Over the past year, OCHA expanded its outreach to Member States and regional organizations to increase policy, operational and financial support.

The Dialogue on Humanitarian Partnership is chaired by Sweden and Brazil, and brings together a diverse set of Member States. Through this, OCHA has deepened discussions on humanitarian policy issues. New partnerships for operational support in emergency response were established, and agreements were signed with the League of Arab States, the AU and the OIC. Increased outreach also resulted in broader financial support, particularly for Somalia where the OCHA-led campaign helped reach nearly 90 per cent of funding-appeal requirements. This included funding from the Middle East (Kuwait, Saudi Ara¬bia, UAE and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Guyana and Mexico) and East Asia (China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand).

Many new aid organizations, including diaspora groups from Turkey and the Gulf States, responded to the emergencies in Libya and Somalia. A number of these organizations were relatively new to the international humanitarian system. This required a dedicated OCHA effort to draw them into coordination structures.

The ERC spoke out in defence of the principles that underpin humanitarian work when they were in danger of being eroded. Examples include the crises in Libya, the Horn of Africa, Syria, Pakistan and Sudan. The ERC also drew attention to crises that were overlooked, such as in DPRK, South Sudan, Niger and Yemen. Efforts to increase awareness of humanitarian issues through Arabic-language media resulted in growing coverage of OCHA and the UN’s humanitarian work throughout the Gulf region. E-mail subscriptions to IRIN’s Arabic news service grew by 21 per cent.

Goal 2 - A more effective humanitarian coordination system

HCs are responsible for leading and coordinating international humanitarian action in-country, and ensuring that assistance is principled, timely, effective and efficient. OCHA helped to expand the HC Pool, drawing from a wider range of partner organizations. In 2011, the expansion of the HC Pool enabled rapid deployment of highly qualified personnel to high-profile crises such as Libya, and the deployment of candidates from outside the UN system to countries such as Chad. OCHA’s new HC Men¬toring Programme offers comprehensive training, on-the-job support and guidance on effective leadership in emergencies, and the use of legal frameworks in humanitarian action.

In 2011, OCHA management and technical staff carried out extensive field missions to improve the performance of HCTs, clusters and staff. HCTs are now functional in all countries with an ongoing emergency where they support the HC as a representative group, and where they can focus on strategic issues to improve the overall response.

At the country level, OCHA ensured that humanitarian partners collaborated to assess needs, agreed on priorities and worked towards common appeals. OCHA led joint needs assessments in four major emergencies in 2011. Through improved inter-agency mechanisms and engagement, CAPs for 16 countries were more strategic, set clearer objectives, and included better-defined targets and indicators than ever before. OCHA also helped ensure that applications to CERF reflected credible needs assessments linked to humanitarian priorities.

OCHA also addressed gaps in monitoring humanitarian programmes. Monitoring information presented in the newest CAPs demonstrated clear progress: most clusters now report outputs achieved versus cluster targets, and some now measure outcomes, e.g. not just how many wells were built, but how many more people had access to clean drinking water. Monitoring and reporting on CERF-funded programmes also improved: CERF country reports for 2011 provided comprehensive information on results achieved.

Goal 3 - Strengthened OCHA management and administration

OCHA worked to increase funding and improve its financial management. This enabled the organization to cover its extrabudgetary spending in 2011 and replenish its cash reserves. OCHA’s financial management improved, with regular expenditure reporting to programme managers enabling real-time monitoring of budgets, income, expenditure and fundraising.

OCHA established a number of human resources initiatives that have proved effective in new emergencies. This includes arrangements to support senior deployments from OCHA’s regional offices in large-scale emergencies. Longer initial deployments by surge personnel now minimize multiple handovers. New mechanisms have been put in place to encourage and manage internal mobility. For example, rosters now target candidates who are ready to deploy to non-family and hardship duty stations. To ensure the best candidates were selected and deployed, OCHA targeted people interested in serving in hardship duty stations and with specific language skills. New heads of office were appointed in countries including Afghanistan, DRC, Pakistan and the Philippines.

OCHA made progress in promoting organizational learning, ensuring that audit and evaluation recommendations are fully addressed and lessons learned from past emergencies inform strategic planning. Audit implementation rates increased from 37 per cent in 2010 to 92 per cent of recommendations by the end of 2011. Standardized performance frameworks are now in place for every country office and regional office, ensuring focus on priority areas of OCHA’s work and enhancing accountability for results. The frameworks will improve trends analysis and provide a platform for offices to report on implementing recommendations from the IASC Transformative Agenda over the next two years.

IASC Transformative Agenda and Strategic Framework 2010-2013

The humanitarian response to the 2010 mega-emergencies in Haiti and Pakistan highlighted the challenges in coordination, leadership and accountability that OCHA addressed under the second goal of its Strategic Framework 2010-13. Under the ERC’s leadership, IASC Principals agreed to a range of reforms, placing this goal at the centre of the inter-agency agenda.

More specifically, the Transformative Agenda set out a clear plan to improve the leadership of humanitarian operations (objective 2.1), ensure effective and flexible coordination structures (objective 2.1) and promote greater evidence-based country-level strategies and appeals, with improved results monitoring for greater accountability (objective 2.4).

Recognizing the implications of recent IASC agreements on OCHA’s work, revisions have been made to the Strategic Plan 2012-13 under objectives 2.1 and 2.4. 

strategic frameworkObjective 1.1 Objective 1.2Objective 1.3Objective 1.4Objective 2.1Objective 2.2Objective 2.3Objective 2.4Objective 3.1Objective 3.2Objective 3.3Goal 1Goal 2Goal 3