Foreword

2013 was another busy year for the humanitarian community. Emergencies in Syria, the Central African Republic and the Philippines placed a significant burden on the UN and our humanitarian partners. At the same time, ongoing complex crises in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, South Sudan and Sudan, and natural disasters in Bolivia and Mali, demanded our attention.
 
As always, it was heart breaking to see the devastating impact of these crises on children, women, men, families and communities. But it was heartening to see the work done by those communities themselves and the humanitarian workers supporting them.
 
The impact of the conflict in Syria and its effect on neighbouring countries dominated the humanitarian response efforts of UN agencies and our partners. As the violence and brutality increased in Syria, we saw ongoing and blatant violations of international humanitarian law. Continuing efforts to reach the 9.3 million people in need in the country were hampered by ongoing security constraints, administrative hurdles and the proliferation of armed groups and militias on the ground.
 
During my visits to several countries, including the Philippines, the Central African Republic, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Haiti, I was able to see first-hand the positive impact of OCHA’s coordination role and the importance of OCHA’s advocacy efforts.
 
This report also details our efforts to build and strengthen partnerships with NGOs, Member States, regional organizations and the private sector, all of whom play a critical part in global humanitarian action. It covers our contribution to policy debates on protection and humanitarian innovation, and our continued efforts to improve operational effectiveness.
 
We will continue to seek innovative ways to deal with the challenges facing the global humanitarian community. As needs rise, we must meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable whilst looking at ways to enhance preparedness and build communities’ resilience so that they are better able to withstand shocks and break the cycle of the impact of recurrent crises.
 
We count on your continued support.
 
 

Valerie Amos meets with OCHA staff in Bossangoa, Central African Republic. © Phil Moore - OCHA