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OCHA AT WORK

 
 
Coordination and the Indian Ocean Tsunami
 
 
Evaluations at Work
 
 
OCHA Women and Men: Working Towards Gender Equality
 
 
Information Management and OCHA
 
 
Coordination Snapshot: OCHA in Sudan
 
 
Humanitarian Response Reform
 

 

Coordination Snapshot: OCHA in Sudan

OCHA’s work addressing some of the many crises in Sudan, which is by far OCHA’s largest field operation, provides a snapshot of some of the various challenges OCHA faces in humanitarian coordination. These challenges range from protection of civilians and IDPs to information management and evaluations. Below are a few examples of the range of situations in which OCHA is engaged in Sudan and elsewhere.

Khartoum Camps

Close to two million people live in the official IDP camps and unofficial ‘squatter areas’ in and around Khartoum, the vast majority without access to minimum basic services. The local government’s policy of demolition of squatter homes and forced relocations to desert areas tens of kilometers outside Khartoum with no services in place and little or no consultation with those affected has violated international human rights law as well as created urgent humanitarian needs. In 2005, OCHA led the way in raising the profile of needs for assistance and protection in the Khartoum camps, mobilizing donors, UN and NGO partners and the media for funding and advocacy purposes. The Humanitarian Coordinator has played a vital role, engaging the government in consultations with NGOs and UN agencies to ensure that future movements are to areas where minimum basic services are in place and are carried out in a manner which respects the dignity and physical safety of those involved and that the rights of IDPs are protected.

Returns/Tracking and Monitoring

According to a survey of IDPs in Northern Sudan, close to 70 percent will eventually return to homes in areas of Southern Sudan. A similar survey in the South to be completed by the end of 2005 will detail the intentions of the approximately one million people displaced in southern regions who plan to return to their home areas within the South. It is the core policy of the Returns Plan, which OCHA led the way in developing and then handed over to the UN Mission in Sudan, that IDPs are protected in their areas of assistance, as well as along return routes and in areas of return. OCHA has set up and salaried a network of more than 200 enumerators and monitors in key transit points throughout the country. The first operating way station and tracking point was set up at the White Nile town of Kosti, the key transit point for thousands of IDPs returning to the South on buses and barges on their way to points southward. OCHA, in partnership with NGOs such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, has been providing ongoing protection training for field monitors. An advocacy film produced by OCHA’s IRIN film unit in November 2005 traced the path of returnees from Khartoum to the South, accompanying them on the weeks-long barge journey from Kosti to the South, and providing a hard look at the challenges faced, not only in the camps and along the arduous journey home, but on arrival back in their home villages.

Resource Tracking

OCHA maintains a website (www.unsudanig.org/rts) for the Resource Tracking Service for Sudan as part of the UN Sudan Information Gateway. The website makes available more than 80 reports presenting details of international assistance in Sudan in 2005. The reports on the website are based on information from the Assistance Database for Sudan (ADS), which is developed and maintained by the resource tracking service under the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at OCHA/Sudan. The database contains detailed information on international funding towards activities inside as well as outside the framework of the 2005 Work Plan for Sudan, including development assistance and Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) contributions.

Darfur

Although the ongoing instability and violence in the countryside have made it impossible for the nearly two million IDPs to return in 2005, if conditions allow, some movement is expected to take place in 2006. OCHA is leading the development of a returns planning strategy and framework for potential return in the Darfurs. OCHA is and will continue to play a coordinating role with the African Union for interventions in camps and patrols, which is having a positive effect on the protection of civilians. IDPs have repeatedly confirmed that there are fewer attacks if foreigners are present, and that an international presence is fundamental to their sense of security. This coverage must be maintained and expanded if protection needs are to be addressed consistently.

Emergency Response and Contingency Planning

Early warning, contingency planning and emergency response coordination are key aspects of OCHA’s mandate. OCHA, in close collaboration with other UN agencies, partner NGOs and government representatives, regularly conducts assessment missions to areas throughout Sudan in order to monitor the humanitarian situation and signal any unmet needs to the relief community. Relying on the expertise of specialized agencies, OCHA strives to bring together key players to provide an accurate assessment of the situation and to mount an appropriate response. OCHA also maintains ongoing dialogue with donors to help ensure that necessary funding of humanitarian response is done in a timely and efficient manner. The Office continues to play a lead role in this respect across Sudan, particularly with regard to situations that could have international implications, such as in Darfur, where instability in neighboring Chad could exacerbate an already difficult situation; in Southern Sudan, where the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army has stepped up its brutal campaign against civilians; and in Eastern Sudan, which could experience a major influx of refugees from neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopia if fragile relations between those two countries do not improve.

Southern Sudan

OCHA was among the first UN agencies to relocate its base to Juba, the new capital of Southern Sudan, a move that has led the way for the relocation of UN agencies and programmes from Nairobi, Lokichoggio and Rumbek. OCHA’s new base in Juba is supporting the much-needed increased presence of the humanitarian community throughout the South, with Juba serving as the focal point for improved coordination of humanitarian affairs across the region. OCHA has also provided key support in the establishment and functioning of the government’s humanitarian offices in the ten states of Southern Sudan. The challenges facing the region – one of the poorest in the world – are enormous, and OCHA’s close collaboration with government authorities, UN agencies and NGO partners will remain one of the primary driving forces for relief and development efforts in 2006.