OCHA opened its Zimbabwe office in January 2006 to support humanitarian coordination, resource mobilization and advocacy efforts. Since then OCHA has established good relationships with partners and stakeholders, and is working to promote humanitarian reform and strengthen the HCT and cluster system. Following Government opposition to an OCHA proposal in 1999 to establish sub-offices in three affected provinces, OCHA now undertakes regular field visits from Harare to follow-up on humanitarian activities in the provinces.
OCHA will continue to play a leading role in inter-agency response preparedness in line with the Policy Instruction on OCHA’s Role in Preparedness. In Mindanao, OCHA will facilitate the revision of the Mindanao inter-agency contingency plan when early warning indicators reveal a potential deterioration in the humanitarian situation. At the national level, OCHA will facilitate the HCT’s support to the Government in developing its NDRRM Plan.
OCHA focuses on the following:
Coordination of the humanitarian response to human suffering caused by food insecurity, epidemics (HIV/AIDS, cholera, measles, etc.) and poor social services accessibility.
Preparedness and prevention efforts to reduce future vulnerability to natural disasters.
Advocacy on behalf of vulnerable communities.
OCHA will play a key role in bridging humanitarian and development action. It aims to work towards the eventual merger of the cluster system and development system. OCHA will also support the Government as it assumes a leadership role of this hybrid coordination structure. Working closely with development actors and the ZUNDAF will be increasingly important in 2012.
Forward strategy 
OCHA will work closely with development actors to ensure a transition to early recovery and longer-term activities where possible. Its transition strategy will involve reinforcing links with recovery and development actors, and implementing a system to address existing or new humanitarian needs.
OCHA may be able to complete its transition phase by 2013, provided the humanitarian context improves. To prepare for an eventual downsizing of operations, OCHA has developed benchmarks and indicators for the transition phase. These will be regularly discussed within the HCT and updated in line with the changing context. Internal and external indicators will relate to progress on security, access, political, humanitarian, economic recovery and institutional capacity.
The planning and implementation of the transition strategy will be supported by a functional matrix. This tool will help prioritize activities and the partnerships required to build capacity for emergency preparedness and response, and to ensure the continuation of the OCHA activities needed for existing or new emergencies. For each functional area, the matrix includes activities, focal points, and possible handover options, conditions and consultation required. OCHA functional areas of support will continue to be organized under coordination, information management, humanitarian financing, preparedness and advocacy.
Over the next two years, OCHA will prioritize coordination and response mechanisms, and support the HCT and clusters at national and provincial levels. This will include the coordination of joint assessments and analysis, resource mobilization and response.
OCHA will ensure systematic coordination of the common humanitarian programme cycle. It will also guide discussions to determine the need for a CAP in 2013. If not deemed necessary, staffing levels will be reduced.
OCHA Zimbabwe will continue working with a range of humanitarian actors, including the Government, primarily through the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation. OCHA will support the extension of coordination mechanisms to areas within the country where they are needed. It will also focus on capacity strengthening of the national coordination structures, with a view to handing over functions where possible.
Consultations with relevant partners to clarify coordination responsibilities, capacities and available resources will be undertaken. Efforts to link humanitarian and development coordination structures will continue through a taskforce of cluster coordinators and ZUNDAF representatives.
To date, the CAP has been the framework for addressing humanitarian and early recovery priorities in Zimbabwe. OCHA will advocate a clearer separation between humanitarian and recovery through an approach that more closely links humanitarian planning with other transitional efforts.
Given the lack of an effective, inclusive national development coordination structure, OCHA will continue to advocate that the cluster system provides the forum for humanitarian and relevant recovery issues, including to facilitate coordination between activities programmed under the 2012 CAP, the 2012-15 ZUNDAF, and other relevant Government and NGO recovery/transition activities.
Clusters will eventually be replaced by a joined-up coordination system. To inform the humanitarian and early recovery response, planning will continue to be based on rigorous and joint needs assessments and situation analysis. OCHA will further promote mainstreaming of gender and HIV/AIDS in all joint planning.
Since 2009, the Information Management Unit (IMU) has aimed to improve information products and established a good working relationship with the Government and NGO community. During 2012 and 2013, OCHA will continue to tailor user-oriented information products to better support inclusive assessments and planning for a needs-based response. OCHA will engage partners, including those in the Government, to draft an IM strategy. The strategy will progressively transfer information services to the appropriate structure in the Office of the RC/HC, the Government or other partners. Planning will begin in early 2012, with implementation set for early 2013 as part of the transition plan.
With continued donor support and ongoing volatility related to the elections, OCHA will manage an Emergency Response Fund (ERF) as agreed with the HCT. It will continue to assist the HC and ERF board members with the ERF process until the end of 2012. NGO applications will be prioritized, given their capacity to respond effectively to residual needs and new emergencies. Responsibility for the ERF and CERF portfolio will be progressively handed over to the Coordination Management Unit in 2013.
Given the current economic and political context, OCHA will continue to monitor the potential for civil unrest, human rights violations, political instability and migration movements. In line with its Policy Instruction on Preparedness, OCHA will maintain partnerships with development and humanitarian partners, donors, line ministries at national, provincial and district levels, local media and community-based organizations. Updated information on humanitarian trends, needs, challenges and gaps will be maintained and disseminated through field missions, meetings, monthly humanitarian reports and briefing packs.
The annual exercise of updating the inter-agency contingency plan, undertaken jointly with the Government representatives, will remain an important component of developing a common understanding of the natural and man-made hazards faced by Zimbabwe. The exercise allows for discussions on various threats to the country, including politically motivated violence and displacement. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the role of UN and partner organizations in various situations.
The contingency planning exercise provides opportunities for better cooperation with civil defence counterparts. Through its partnership with Zimbabwe’s Civil Defense, the apolitical and neutral role of humanitarian assistance will be emphasized, including the UN as a trustworthy and dependable partner. OCHA will continue to facilitate responses to small-scale emergencies as a means of reaffirming the UN’s supportive role.
Through increased field missions and communication, OCHA will continue to facilitate timely preparedness and response to sudden-onset disasters, such as floods, and to disease outbreaks such as cholera, measles and typhoid.
Given the regional dimension of most outbreaks, closer coordination and cooperation with OCHA’s Regional Office for Southern Africa will be strengthened. The recent resumption of deportations of Zimbabwean irregular migrants from neighbouring countries, and the increased arrival of third-country nationals driven by natural disasters, highlight the need for this closer collaboration. Contingency plans for Zimbabwe and South Africa will be developed jointly.
Despite a legal framework for disaster preparedness and response, Government disaster-management capacity remains weak. OCHA will continue to support emergency preparedness and response planning workshops at the provincial and district level. Participation in public awareness campaigns on hazards associated with the rainy season in the country’s flood-prone areas will also continue.
These activities are in line with OCHA’s global mandate as provided for in the GA resolution 46/182
All the activities listed here will be in line with OCHA policy Instruction on Transition