OCHA in 2007
Activities and Extra-Budgetary Funding Requirements

coordination activities in the field


 

REGIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE ADVISOR FOR CENTRAL ASIA

The Central Asia region is highly prone to a wide range of natural disasters. It is one of the most seismically active areas of the world, and seismic and hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods and droughts regularly cause substantial economic and environmental damage. Uneven and unsustainable development and economic stagnation have increased the vulnerability of local communities to natural hazards, aggravating the lives of the poor, who are already subject to continuous setbacks. The impact of natural disasters tends to be regional, and events in one country have consequences for neighbouring countries.

The level of preparedness and the response capacity vary greatly between countries in this region, but overall there is an important need to coordinate planning, preparedness and capacity building. In addition, there is a need to evaluate response systems and improve early warning–early action mechanisms and procedures to trigger and receive international assistance. Another focus area is work in support of a coordinated response to an outbreak of Avian and Human Influenza (AHI). Last year, the region saw numerous cases of the disease in birds.

The role of the RDRA is to support the UN Resident Coordinators, UN Country Teams (UNCT) and National Disaster Management authorities in their response to disasters in the region. The RDRA will provide the international community with a systematic flow of information and will act in general as a focal point for preparedness and response issues.

The RDRA will strengthen the capacity of the UNCTs to assist national authorities in coordinating their response to natural disasters, enhancing regional cooperation and creating networks for disaster management. The RDRA will further strengthen and improve regional coordination of UN processes in relation to disaster preparedness and response in order to make these available for use in the region. The RDRA will work with regional organizations and networks where these exist, and cooperation will involve training of disaster management practitioners and stakeholders in the region, encouraging them to join United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) systems.

Against this background, RDRA Central Asia’s key objectives for 2007 are as follows:

Strengthened in-country coordination: To be achieved through the creation and strengthening of regional networks and Humanitarian Partnership Teams and by disseminating emergency preparedness kits. OCHA will also ensure greater engagement and coordination with national and international NGOs.

Improved tools and services: OCHA will ensure increased awareness and utilization of UNDAC and INSARAG systems, the establishment of Regional emergency preparedness priorities as well as the adaptation of Regional emergency tools and services.

Greater incorporation of risk reduction objectives into humanitarian strategies: Will be achieved through increased and strengthened partnerships and commitment to natural disaster preparedness and response.

Key indicators for 2007

  • Number of UNCT trained in UNDAC SOPs; number of Humanitarian Partnership Teams formally established
  • Number of Disaster Management Agencies informed of UNDAC/INSARAG systems through a familiarization module
  • Number of emergency preparedness guidelines adapted and translated for regional use; number of countries where emergency preparedness kit has been disseminated
 

RDRA-CENTRAL ASIA

Planned Staffing
Extra Budgetary

Professional
3
National
1
Local (GS)
2
UN Volunteers
0
Total
6

Staff costs (US$)
564,882
Non-staff costs (US$)
313,471

Total costs (US$)
878,353


REGIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE ADVISOR FOR THE PACIFIC

Pacific island countries located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” face a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, floods, volcanic eruptions, and cyclones. The geographic spread and isolation of small island nations makes disaster response challenging. Many communities have poor telecommunications systems and lack regular transport links. In addition to geophysical and weather-related hazards, some Pacific island nations, notably the Melanesian countries, have long histories of conflict and the potential remains for civil conflict to break out during times of increased tension due to natural disaster or political developments.

Pacific Island countries vary in their level of preparedness to respond to disasters and their reliance on international partners and donors for assistance in larger emergencies. OCHA’s key partners in the region include other UN agencies on the UN Disaster Management Team (UNDP, UNICEF, WHO) as well as the IFRC. OCHA cooperates with the FRANZ group, made up of the governments of France, Australia and New Zealand as an informal partnership to collaborate in disaster response operations. The U.S. government is another key partner, particularly in the North Pacific. OCHA is a member of the Pacific Partnership Network Initiative to support Pacific Island countries to develop and implement National Action Plans for Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management, led by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC). OCHA is also a member of the Pacific Emergency Management Training Advisory Group (PEMTAG) along with the Asia Foundation/Office of the Unites States Foreign Disaster Assistance (TAF/OFDA), SOPAC, and the IFRC.

Challenges for 2007 include the strengthening of the Pacific UNDAC team for enhanced capacity for deployment; capacity-building of National Disaster Management Offices by assisting in the revision and testing of disaster plans; launching and maintaining the Disaster Database in partnership with UNDP, SOPAC and IFRC; improving coordination and operating procedures of the recently established UNDMTs in Fiji and Samoa; and providing support to UNCTs and national governments in pandemic planning and preparedness including work in support of a coordinated response to an outbreak of Avian and Human Influenza (AHI).

Against this background, RDRA Pacific’s key objectives for 2007 are as follows:

Strengthened In-Country Coordination: RDRA will support training and orientation of Disaster Management Teams for effective disaster preparedness and response and provide general and specialized support during emergencies to RCs/HCs and UNCTs. Governments in the region will be provided with training, technical assistance and advice on disaster response, preparedness and management.

Improved tools and services: Priority countries will be assessed for preparedness related to information management and activities intended to improve preparedness. The Pacific Disaster Net will become operational and OCHA will improve the tool with its partners: SOPAC, UNDP, IFRC. The UNDAC Pacific team will be strengthened with tighter active membership and improved capacity for deployment.

Greater incorporation of risk reduction objectives into humanitarian strategies: Pacific countries will receive support from the Pacific Partnership Network Initiative, in which OCHA has membership, to develop and implement National Actions Plans for disaster risk reduction. UN strategy on disaster management for the Pacific will be developed including transition from relief to recovery, jointly with UNDP/Pacific Sub-Regional Center.

Increased and strengthened partnerships for humanitarian action: Regional bodies (SOPAC, SPC) will be supported with technical assistance regarding disaster preparedness and response (including AHI preparedness). RDRA will improve cooperation with donors (FRANZ group and U.S. government agencies) and obtain MCDA support from these donors for UNDAC deployments as required.

Key indicators for 2007
  • Number of UNCTs with joint preparedness activities with NDMOs
  • Number of UNDAC deployments in proportion to disasters
  • Number of countries finalizing disaster response SOPs/plans
  • Percent of requests for disaster preparedness and response consultations fulfilled
  • Number of inter-agency coordination groups functioning
 

RDRA-PACIFIC (FIJI)

Planned Staffing
Extra Budgetary

Professional
2
National
0
Local (GS)
1
UN Volunteers
0
Total
3

Staff costs (US$)
364,787
Non-staff costs (US$)
216,516

Total costs (US$)
581,303