The new Republic of South Sudan faces considerable humanitarian challenges. The legacy of civil war and chronic underdevelopment impact heavily on the ability of the new state to provide basic services and respond to humanitarian needs, rendering communities vulnerable to the effects of insecurity, displacement, returns, food shortages, outbreaks of disease and seasonal floods. South Sudan has ten states: OCHA is present in the six most vulnerable (Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria), and will soon expand into two additional states (Lakes and Eastern Equatoria). OCHA works in South Sudan to identify humanitarian crises, and support the Government and humanitarian organizations to respond to emergencies in an effective and timely manner. It operates through the Country Office in the capital city, Juba, in Central Equatoria, and a network of sub-offices. When local crises occur, OCHA deploys a team to support field coordination.
When new humanitarian needs arise, OCHA works with a host of partners – Government and local authorities, OCHA field officers, humanitarian focal points for thematic areas (clusters), non-governmental and international organizations and UN humanitarian agencies – to ensure that assessments are done to identify who is in need of what and where they are, and to determine the most appropriate way of meeting those needs. OCHA monitors the humanitarian response and provides support on issues that relate to humanitarian access or funding shortfalls that hamper relief delivery. OCHA also supports the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan (HC), to ensure that the HC is briefed on the latest humanitarian developments and is kept abreast of issues that may require high-level advocacy, to ensure critical humanitarian action is not delayed or hampered.
OCHA also works closely with the Government of South Sudan’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and its operational arm, the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, to boost humanitarian coordination and policy capacity at state and central level.
In 2011 and 2012, OCHA will focus on three key priorities:
- Strengthening strategic coordination in Juba to build consensus on the humanitarian situation among the main stakeholders including the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, donors, UN agencies, non-governmental and international organizations
- Strengthening operational coordination at the cluster and state levels to optimize humanitarian response to people in need
- Improving humanitarian access and space through monitoring and advocacy efforts informed by access incident data and best practices
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