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OCHA Field Presence
OCHA Natural and Environmental Disaster Reporting and Involvement
OCHA Organigramme
Budget Requirements and Staffing 2006



OCHA’s annual planning process situates the Office’s multi-year goals and strategic objectives within the broader context of our founding resolution and mission. One of the outcomes is OCHA in 2006, the Office’s annual funding document, which links the articulation of OCHA’s extra-budgetary financial needs to its strategic and work planning processes. The branch and field work plans, represented in OCHA in 2006 in condensed form, are directly based on OCHA’s multi-year strategic plan and reflect each office’s requirements in the coming year as it strives to fulfill OCHA’s mission.

Thus, OCHA in 2006 reflects OCHA’s current challenges and its budgetary and financial requirements for meeting them.This document also reflects our ongoing commitment to improving our performance and to more precisely determining the indicators that measure and report on the effectiveness of the activities of our various offices.

The organizational format of OCHA is reflected in the document that follows. Each branch, section, unit, project and field office has a narrative that places its work for 2006 in the context of its operating environment, outlining its major functions and activities for the coming year with indicators and budgetary requirements. Six “OCHA at Work” chapters, interspersed throughout the document, provide a brief narrative glimpse of some of the key challenges, activities, concerns and humanitarian issues with which OCHA is involved.

OCHA has developed its 2006 strategic plan and objectives in relation to its three year planning goals and in the context of the Secretary-General’s In larger freedom report, the follow-up to and implementation of the Humanitarian Response Review and the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. OCHA’s planning, based on its strategic goals (approved in 2005) groups its efforts into three functional areas: 1) effective and accountable leadership for coordination; 2) effective and proactive advocacy; and 3) effective and transparent management.

In the context of these goals, OCHA’s objectives in 2006 are to: 1) strengthen coordination and administration support for OCHA field offices, including the effective administration of staff; 2) further develop and maintain response mechanisms and tools, including OCHA’s surge capacity; 3) develop strategies and tools for resource mobilization, including relations with traditional and non-traditional donors as well as the private sector; and 4) strengthen information management, including financial tracking, needs assessments and assessments of gaps and capacity requirements. In implementing these objectives, OCHA will focus inter alia on mobilizing support for and adapting its own capacity to support the implementation of the humanitarian reform process.

In the coming year, we will address our first key objective, of strengthened coordination support to the field, through a focus on strengthening the Humanitarian Coordinator system. The strengthening of the Humanitarian Coordinator system is one of the crucial elements of humanitarian reform and OCHA will support this by enhancing our commitment to conducting common, joint and rapid early assessments and strengthening the capacity of the Resident Coordinator to fulfill her/his responsibilities. OCHA will also strengthen the Humanitarian Coordinator system by strengthening OCHA Heads of Offices and ensuring they are staffed to best support Humanitarian Coordinators.

At the same time, OCHA will improve the administration of its field staff. With the delegation of authority, OCHA will be able to directly recruit, deploy and administer its field staff. OCHA will also introduce a number of measures aimed at strengthening overall human resources management, including enhancing mobility through the implementation of a staff rotation system, expediting recruitment and deployment through the establishment of a pre-approved roster of external and internal candidates, harmonizing contractual arrangements, aligning conditions of service with those of other agencies of the UN system, and providing better career development opportunities. To effectively carry out the delegation of authority and these initiatives a major strengthening of OCHA's administrative capacity is envisaged, with emphasis on staff recruitment, deployment and administration. Most notably, the capacity of the Administrative Office in Geneva will be increased through 23 new staff positions.

Strengthened response capacity, OCHA’s second strategic objective for 2006, is equally vital to the humanitarian reform process. The Humanitarian Response Review, ongoing evaluation of the tsunami, and real-time evaluations in Darfur, Sudan have provided us with valuable insights into the workings of the current response structure and possibilities for increasing its capacity and accountability. OCHA is therefore strengthening its support to sectoral capacity, as well as to the overall coordination of all humanitarian aspects of an emergency under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator. The Office will focus on refining and developing response tools, targeted recruitment and training, and strengthened support for the Humanitarian Coordinators.

Working with governments on surge capacity and natural disaster response will also be a priority for 2006. Particularly, OCHA will work to improve and support the creation of regional natural disaster response networks. OCHA is exploring ways it can best support highly disaster-prone countries to implement better preparedness and response capacity as well as how best to mobilize response capacity within countries where the structures are already in place. OCHA is also strengthening its own capacity to address sudden onset emergencies and disasters through the expansion of the Surge Capacity Project into the Surge Capacity and Contingency Planning Section. Additional personnel and resources will enable OCHA to provide better support and response capability to HC/RCs and UNCTs by filling gaps at the onset of a new crisis or the intensification of an existing crisis.

OCHA’s third key objective is the strengthening of humanitarian financing, especially through the effective management of the upgraded Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Given the ERC’s responsibility for the upgraded CERF, OCHA will establish a small Unit that will service the CERF, support its implementation, advise the ERC on the best use of funds and ensure that funds are disbursed in a timely and efficient fashion.

The ERC will be supported in analyzing developments on the ground, suggesting appropriate use of CERF funds, supporting HCs/RCs in the prioritization of projects, and reviewing grant proposals. OCHA will also identify funding gaps and requisite programmes that could benefit from CERF funding. CERF fund-raising efforts will focus on reaching the US$ 500 million goal and on traditional donors and the private sector, new initiatives that will be particularly labor-intensive in the medium-term. At the system level, OCHA support to the upgraded CERF will involve strengthening the CAP, especially in the area of under-funded emergencies, and strengthening the Financial Tracking System to include expenditure. Additionally in 2006, OCHA will continue to advocate for the full funding of the CAP.

OCHA’s fourth strategic objective in 2006 is strengthened information management tools. OCHA needs to serve effectively as a service hub for humanitarian information, including financial tracking and analysis. Along with the commitment to improved financial tracking mechanisms and OCHA’s ongoing strengthening of assessments for the CAP, 2006 will see the continued dissemination and improvement of information management tools throughout field locations. During 2005, OCHA’s information management work focused on two key areas: the creation of a mainstreamed information management capacity within OCHA’s field offices and the development of information management systems, applications and tools designed to improve OCHA’s information management service. As these structures to collect and disseminate information are strengthened, OCHA will also emphasize the analysis of information in order to better provide strategic advice to partners.

Additionally in 2006, OCHA plans to ensure that its field offices are in full compliance with UN security standards through upgrading facilities and providing training to all staff. To assist with this, OCHA has recently assigned a full-time Assistant Security Focal Point dedicated to providing full time support to OCHA offices on security issues, including Minimum Operating Security Standards and Minimum Operating Residential Security Standards upgrades.

In order to meet the above objectives, OCHA will require US$ 139 million in extra-budgetary resources for its activities in 2006, including US$ 50 million for headquarters and US$ 89 million for the field. This is in addition to US$ 12.7 million that OCHA will receive from the regular budget of the United Nations.

These extra-budgetary requirements include one-time requests of US$ 3.6 million to fully meet the security needs of the field offices and US$ 0.5 million for the technical upgrade of ReliefWeb. The US$ 139 million requirement also reflects a statutory cost of living adjustment, applicable to the Geneva duty station and the field, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of the increase.

OCHA remains committed to maintaining its overall requirements, in real terms, as closely as possible to those of the preceding year. For ongoing and recurrent activities, every effort has been made to limit the growth to within the terms of inflation. However, the field has experienced a net 11 percent increase over last year's revised cost plan due in part to the recent South Asia Earthquake, the need to strengthen offices in Asia in response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the continuing crises in the Sudan and the DRC.

In the last few years, OCHA has generated a relatively stable income from the Programme Support Account. While the support account is normally used only for administrative support purposes OCHA, in 2006, intends to use US$ 11 million from the Programme Support Account to finance part of its extra-budgetary requirements, notably in the strengthening of the Executive and Administrative Offices as well as Information Technology. Thus, while OCHA will require US$ 139 million for its overall extra-budgetary requirements in 2006, OCHA will only request from donors a net amount of US$ 128 million.

Since funding remains a concern for OCHA, there is a need to bring stability and predictability to its financial base. In the first instance, OCHA needs to secure a larger share of the UN regular budget to meet its core needs and enable it to discharge its coordination mandate flexibly and to maximum effect. It has to ensure it receives a larger proportion of unearmarked funding in order to effectively cover its expenditures across different activities and field offices and thus avoid cash flow difficulties. It also needs to address the imbalance in overall funding due to earmarking, with some activities being generously funded while others suffer from severe funding shortfalls. Accordingly, OCHA invites donors to increase the proportion of their unearmarked contributions and to continue the trend towards less rigid earmarking. OCHA also requests donors to support the establishment of a US$ 30 million reserve fund to help meet critical cash requirements at the end of each year for statutory and management obligations. Such a cash reserve will enable OCHA to extend staff contracts for one year and to cover the first three months of operational requirements.

With generous donor support, more unearmarked donor contributions, and a greater share of secure and predictable funding from the regular budget OCHA will be fully equipped to respond rapidly and effectively to sudden on-set disasters and large scale emergencies, to recruit and deploy skilled and experienced staff as and when needed, and to successfully fulfill its mandate as envisaged in GA resolution 46/182.

OCHA thanks its donors for their continued support and commitment. Their contributions to the Office's work in 2005 and throughout the crises of the year are much appreciated, as is their dialogue with OCHA on how best to fulfill the goals of our shared mission of humanitarianism. In particular, OCHA thanks its new donors and looks forward to the continued broadening of its donor base in 2006.