OCHA in 2007
Activities and Extra-Budgetary Funding Requirements

advocacy and information management


 

Information Analysis Section


 

INFORMATION ANALYSIS

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
3
-
3
General Service
1
2
-
3
Total
1
5
-
6

Staff costs (US$)
75,204
747,753
-
822,957
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
289,280
-
289,280
Total costs (US$)
75,204
1,037,033
-
1,112,237

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
1,037,033

OCHA's Information Management comprises two sections: the Information Analysis Section (IAS) and the Information and Communications Technology Section (ICT). The sections work together to provide timely, relevant and reliable information services to the humanitarian community, maximising the use of information and communications technology in developing and providing information tools, platforms and communications, both internally and with external partners.

In 2007, IAS will conduct a comprehensive review of its information management role and functions to develop a more comprehensive information management strategy and multi-year implementation plan that more fully supports OCHA's goals, including implementing humanitarian reform, strengthening advocacy and ensuring more effective management and internal communications.

The information management review will look at OCHA's information management culture, practices and systems to assess the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the information tools, platforms and systems and the IT support capacity required to develop and maintain these systems, particularly in the context of humanitarian reform and the need for a dynamic systems infrastructure capable of supporting the latest technologies for future growth. Finally, there are ever more strident calls for principled IM practices to inform sound analysis, knowledge management and organizational learning.

The review will be undertaken with key focal points from the Information Analysis Section, including representatives from ReliefWeb and the Field Information Projects, and the Information & Communications Technology Section.

ReliefWeb Project


 

TOTAL RELIEFWEB PROJECT

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
-
8
8
General Service
-
-
5
5
Total
-
-
13
13

Staff costs (US$)
-
-
1,870,389
1,870,389
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
-
618,223
618,223
Total costs (US$)
-
-
2,488,612
2,488,612
RW Tech. Inf.
Upgrade Project *
-
-
372,505
0

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
2,488,612

* Total funds for the completion of this project have been received

 

RELIEFWEB PROJECT – NEW YORK

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
-
3
3
General Service
-
-
-
-
Total
-
-
3
3

Staff costs (US$)
-
-
479,807
479,807
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
-
163,850
163,850
Total costs (US$)
-
-
643,657
643,657

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
643,657


 

RELIEFWEB PROJECT – GENEVA

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
-
4
4
General Service
-
-
3
3
Total
-
-
7
7

Staff costs (US$)
-
-
1,017,664
1,017,664
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
-
337,192
337,192
Total costs (US$)
-
-
1,354,856
1,354,856

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
1,354,856


 

RELIEFWEB PROJECT – KOBE

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
-
1
1
General Service
-
-
2
2
Total
-
-
3
3

Staff costs (US$)
-
-
372,918
372,918
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
-
117,181
117,181
Total costs (US$)
-
-
490,099
490,099

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
490,099


ReliefWeb strengthens the response capacity of the relief community through the timely dissemination of reliable information on humanitarian response to natural disasters and complex emergencies. ReliefWeb provides guaranteed access around the clock to time-critical reports, maps and financial contributions, as well as links to multiple relevant sources. The ReliefWeb project is operated from three duty stations with teams in New York, Geneva and Kobe, ensuring 24-hour coverage for decision-makers at headquarters and relief teams in the field.

The site received an average of seven million page views per quarter during 2006 and is viewed by up to 400,000 individual users per month. More than 160 new documents and maps are posted daily from among more than 2,500 providers. These are viewed online or received via email by some 80,000 subscribers. ReliefWeb will continue to provide 24-hour weekday coverage of disasters and emergencies, consistently encouraging information exchange among more than 2,500 providers and will host the global "Symposium Plus Five" on best practices in humanitarian information management and exchange where cluster lead information requirements and the context of humanitarian reform will be addressed.

In the final phase of its 2-year technical infrastructure upgrade, ReliefWeb will continue to improve the stability of its online platform to ensure reliable information services to partners. This includes strengthening connectivity and underlying systems and more automation of content management tasks. The complete overhaul of search and information collection systems will continue and further technical enhancements will be informed by recommendations from the comprehensive, independent evaluation of 2006.

Challenges also identified by the evaluation include building on staff editorial competency to focus attention on critical humanitarian issues and response priorities building staff technological capacity to enhance the site's technical systems, automated partner services and automated content retrieval and posting. Additionally, an important challenge is to reinvigorate liaison and outreach at the regional and field levels with partners to provide more representative, linguistically relevant and comprehensive ReliefWeb services at all levels.

Against this background, ReliefWeb's key objectives for 2007 are as follows:

Improved tools and services for humanitarian reform: ReliefWeb will host the global "Symposium Plus Five" on information management and exchange, ensure 24-hour coverage of complex emergencies and natural disasters and promote site management stability through new features, bug fixing, replication and quality control. A technical design upgrade will enhance information collection capacity.

Improved, and publicly profiled, analysis of global and country humanitarian trends and issues: Humanitarian trends highlighted will be made more meaningful by "issue framing", and visualization tools and metrics packages will be installed. Access to site content will be facilitated through "sketch" versions of maps, lighter pages and enhanced email services.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles: ReliefWeb will build internal links to draw attention to underfunded emergencies, reorganize the home page to reflect the changing humanitarian agenda and begin designing multi-lingual content capacity.

Increased and strengthened partnerships for humanitarian action: A communications strategy will be developed to encourage information submissions from partners and increased collaboration with OCHA websites at global, regional and country levels. Content partnerships will be bolstered through publication of editorial policies, personalized content portfolios, and accompanying metrics.

Improved management and internal communication: Strategic planning cycle will be observed and risk analysis undertaken. Staff competencies will be strengthened with implementation of a training plan. ReliefWeb will ensure the timely observation of performance appraisal cycles and knowledge management systems will be conceptualized including proactive participation on intranet to enhance internal communications.

Key indicators for 2007
  • Percentage increase in e-mail subscriptions and in posting of trainings and vacancies
  • Number of days for which site functions at optimum level
  • Degree of satisfaction recorded in feedback from user testing sessions on accessibility and utility for decision-making
  • Number of editorial policies updated and published online
  • Number of content partnerships established


Field Information Services Unit


 

FIELD INFORMATION SERVICES

Planned Staffing
Regular Budget
Extra-budgetary
Projects
Total

Professional
-
-
9
9
General Service
-
-
3
2
Total
-
-
12
11

Staff costs (US$)
-
-
2,144,914
2,144,914
Non-staff costs (US$)
-
-
1,371,255
1,371,255
Total costs (US$)
-
-
3,516,169
3,516,169

Total requested (US$)
 
 
 
3,516,169

The Field Information Services Unit (FIS) focuses on supporting and improving information management in existing or new OCHA field offices and deploying Humanitarian Information Centres (HIC) or small information management teams to sudden-onset emergencies. Working with UN Agencies, local governments, NGOs and donors, FIS develops and implements information products and tools to improve the coordination of humanitarian assistance. In the context of the humanitarian reform process, FIS is also active in inter-agency initiatives to develop common approaches to information management. FIS serves as the secretariat for the Geographic Information Support Team (GIST), a corps of information specialists from UN, NGO and donor agencies that develop and promote the use of geographic and data standards in humanitarian relief.

Key challenges for FIS in 2007 will relate to providing leadership to the humanitarian community in adapting its information management practices in light of humanitarian reform. Ensuring a system wide approach to allow for managing information across clusters will require building consensus among cluster leads and their implementing partners to standardize and adapt IM processes and tools. Their willingness, participation and agreement to implement and follow up will be critical.

OCHA is challenged internally to better integrate and mainstream information management practices to support analysis for advocacy and coordination in the new reform environment. Meeting this key challenge will require cross functional team approaches - from headquarters to the field and across all branches - and must include reaching agreement on ways forward, implementation and follow up.

Against this background, FIS's key objectives in 2007 will be as follows:

Fully deployed and functioning cluster system: FIS will build inter-agency consensus through the IASC to define a new framework for managing humanitarian information and data. This includes clarification of information management roles of both OCHA and the HIC; a stocktaking of inter-agency information management tools, products, data and capacities; working with partners to establish agreements on information exchange practices, standards and principles and on shared data preparedness measures. This will require agreement and clarity on the analytical scope and expectations within and between clusters.

Improved tools and services to adapt to humanitarian reform outcomes: FIS will adapt information management tools and services, including the humanitarian information centre, on the basis of the above mentioned inter-agency process, thereby strengthening OCHA's capacity to provide information management support in emergencies.

Strengthened in-country coordination: FIS will mainstream field information management tools into strategic planning and decision-making processes in OCHA regional and field offices; provide RC/HCs with access to relevant, timely information to inform decision-making through the humanitarian information centre, including building awareness of information management and humanitarian information centre roles in cluster coordination.

More coherent and sharpened advocacy on humanitarian issues and principles: FIS will work with partners to revalidate the 2002 agreed Principles of Humanitarian Information Exchange at the global "Symposium Plus Five". FIS will also support regional and field offices to ensure information management tools, systems and products, including encouraging the integration of ReliefWeb, IRIN and FTS on field web sites to support advocacy strategies.

Improved management and internal communications: FIS will ensure that the strategic planning cycle is observed and risk analysis is undertaken; staff and management competencies are strengthened with the implementation of a training plan, and the timely observation of performance appraisal cycles. FIS will develop policy materials and standard operational procedures per OCHA standards and conceptualize a knowledge management system including proactive participation on the intranet to enhance internal communications.

Key indicators for 2007
  • Using the South Asia earthquake operation as a baseline, the degree to which stakeholders (in a survey) consider information management has improved in the cluster system
  • Number of information management surge staff deployed within 72 hours of a new crisis
  • Number of field office work plans that incorporate information management components
  • Number and percentage of international humanitarian organisations participating in the Humanitarian Information Network and submitting outputs to OCHA's information dissemination portals
  • Number of SOPs, policies and guidelines developed and percentage approved by the Branch Chief/SMT