OCHA in 2007
Activities and Extra-Budgetary Funding Requirements

 

Introduction

OCHA in 2007 is used and read both by OCHA's donors and its staff. For donors, it is an important way to understand the work we will be undertaking in the coming year and how it is linked to OCHA's strategic vision and framework. For staff, it is a way to understand contextually what our colleagues - both at the field and HQ level - are doing, to situate our work within a broader context, and to reference the work and financial planning elements of the various sections and elements of OCHA. This document should help all readers, external and internal, donor and staff, better understand what OCHA is doing on a macro level and how that fits into its corporate strategy and policy. Through a focus on the key objectives, outputs and indicators for each element of OCHA, OCHA in 2007 shows in detail how OCHA gets results and its plans for assessing and reporting on them.

OCHA in 2007 is organized to generally reflect the structure of OCHA at both the branch and field level. Each branch, unit, project and field office has a narrative outlining its major functions and activities for the coming year, along with performance indicators and budgetary requirements. The structure of the document also reflects internal adjustments in the form of a re-alignment, which clarifies functions and relationships between OCHA New York and Geneva and removes any confusion in reporting lines that might have existed. The re-alignment has no immediate implications on OCHA's costs or staffing; it is an internal clarification of functional responsibilities to make OCHA's structure more responsive and strategic.

Highlights of the re-alignment include a consolidation of the Coordination and Response Division in New York, and the re-organizing of Geneva into three major groupings on a functional basis. The first group focuses on emergency capacity and resources and on support services to the field. The second group is the newly formed External Relations and Support Mobilization Branch, and the third group consists of sections whose main functions are of an inter-agency and coordination nature. The specific responsibilities and deliverables of each group can be found in their individual narratives.

Finally, OCHA in 2007 provides examples of OCHA's work in the field in a thematic sense through "OCHA at Work" chapters, highlighting the far-reaching implications of humanitarian reform, the responsiveness our regional offices bring to our work, the planning for disasters that is such an important component of humanitarian work today, and OCHA's own internal planning process.

In 2006, OCHA undertook a strengthening of its strategic planning processes. As a result, OCHA's new planning cycle and strategic framework has been developed and implemented and a Strategic Planning Unit will be formed in 2007 to significantly strengthen OCHA's ability to monitor, manage and report on results. Readers will note that the objectives listed for each section and office of OCHA mirror the objectives of the strategic framework, a reflection of OCHA's new dedicated strategic planning function. OCHA has also continued its work to improve its performance indicators, and the performance of each section and office of OCHA will be measured against progress made during OCHA's new mid-year review in June 2007 and again at the time of the 2007 year-end review.

OCHA's new planning process and Strategic Planning Unit will play several roles: coordinate the implementation of the strategic plan; coordinate the OCHA-wide work planning processes; ensure the incorporation of risk management into the planning process; monitor performance and risks and ensure that timely action is taken; evaluate performance and ensure that the results and recommendations of evaluations, reviews and audits are addressed and ensure a higher quality and results-orientation of reporting instruments such as the Annual Report and the Annual Plan. For complete details of the process, please see page 29.

OCHA in 2007 illustrates how OCHA negotiates cycles of expansion and contraction in its field operations so as to be both fiscally responsible and flexible as field situations demand. In Sudan, for example, OCHA had expanded to meet the changing needs in Darfur and Southern Sudan and is now able to contract its operations in the South as development operations get underway. Yet as the effects from the Darfur conflict spill over regional borders, OCHA is responding by expanding operations in Chad and the Central African Republic in anticipation of increased need. Additionally in 2007, OCHA will further strengthen its ability to rapidly deploy to a new crisis with appropriately trained staff and essential operational support equipment, and also to have the ability to backstop escalating emergencies. OCHA's Regional Offices will also be equipped with improved surge capacity and dedicated regional pandemic contingency planning capacity. To read details about OCHA's regional offices at work, please turn to page 80.

OCHA in 2007 lays out the total resource requirement for OCHA for the fiscal year 2007. The financial tables bring together amounts received from the regular budget with the amount requested for extra-budgetary activities. The actual amounts requested from donors are the totals represented as extra-budgetary and projects.

In order to meet our objectives for 2007, and fulfil our commitments, OCHA will require US$ 146.4 million in extra-budgetary resources, including US$ 58.6 million for headquarters and US$ 87.7 million for the field. This is in addition to the US$ 12.7 million that OCHA will receive from the regular budget of the United Nations.

OCHA's extra-budgetary requirements include requests of US$3.5 million for support to inter-agency Avian Influenza and Contingency Planning, including US$ 1.4 million at headquarters and US$ 2.1 million for the field, US$ 2.2 million for a regional Emergency Preparedness Project for regional surge capacity, and US$ 2.8 million to support the Humanitarian Reform, with US$ 1.4 million for the Humanitarian Reform Support Unit and US$ 1.4 million for the Strengthening of the Humanitarian Coordinator System Project.

OCHA is also requesting US$ 14.5 million to support its Regional Offices, in addition to the US$ 2.1 million for Avian Influenza and Contingency Planning support. Out of a total budget for field operations of US$ 87.7 million, the Regional Offices comprise 16.5 percent of the field budget.

Over the past year, OCHA continued to generate a relatively stable income from the Programme Support Account. While the support account is normally used only for administrative support purposes OCHA, in 2007, intends to again use US$ 11 million from the Progamme Support Account to finance part of its extra-budgetary requirements. Thus, while OCHA will require US$ 146.4 million for its overall extra-budgetary requirements in 2007, OCHA will only request from donors a net amount of US$ 135.4 million.

OCHA continues to work toward securing a larger share of the UN regular budget to be able to meet its core needs and to most flexibly and effectively fulfil its mandate. Additionally, while OCHA is very grateful for its strong donor support, it remains challenged by pledges which are delayed and by the earmarking of contributions. In order to be flexible and responsive, we need predictable and unearmarked funding to effectively cover expenditures across different activities and field offices and to avoid cash flow difficulties. While OCHA is appreciative of the downward trend in earmarked contributions, it remains concerned with the imbalance in overall finding due to earmarking, with some activities being generously funded while others suffer from severe funding shortfalls. Accordingly, OCHA continues to invite donors to increase the proportion of their unearmarked contributions and to continue the trend towards less rigid earmarking.

OCHA also asks donors to continue to support the US$ 30 million Budgetary Cash Reserve Fund (BCRF), which in 2006 received US$ 11 million, to help meet critical cash requirements at the end of each year for statutory and management obligations. The BCRF is critical to enable OCHA to extend staff contracts for one year and to cover he first three months of operations requirements.

OCHA remains deeply grateful to its donors for their ongoing support. OCHA knows that budgets are constrained and fiscal accountability requires a strong focus on results. It also knows that emergencies and disasters aren't predictable and that humanitarian need is overwhelming. OCHA strongly believes that the way to get results is by working together with its donors and other partners in all aspects of operations.

As the humanitarian world, and indeed the globe itself, changes, OCHA is responding. To help meet the needs of the millions of people around the world who must have our support, OCHA will continue to respond as speedily and flexibly as possible, in concert with its partners, on our shared mission of humanitarianism.