In 2008, OCHA will have a presence in 43 countries – supporting 22 major humanitarian operations, of which 14 are in Africa. Click Here to view Map
The focus of OCHA in the field is to facilitate and support
the coordination and advocacy of humanitarian issues with
governments, United Nations Agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, particularly through
direct support to United Nations Resident Coordinators/ Humanitarian Coordinators (RCs/HCs). The level of support
provided is based on need, the capacity of other actors and existing coordination mechanisms.
Regional offices provide support to country teams and
governments through Regional Disaster Response Advisers
(RDRAs), 15 National Disaster Response Advisers (NDRAs) and a number of field presences. Regional offices in
Nairobi (Central and East Africa), Johannesburg (Southern Africa), Dakar (West Africa), Dubai (Middle East, North
Africa and Central Asia), Panama (Latin America and the Caribbean) and Bangkok (Asia and the Pacific) extend the
implementation of OCHA’s mandate by providing support to regional networks, Resident Coordinators and governments
which are not serviced directly by OCHA headquarters or field offices. Regional offices also provide backstopping
and key services to all of OCHA’s field presences in their respective regions. Regional offices allow OCHA to respond
flexibly to needs at the regional and country levels, by rapidly deploying appropriate capacity for emergency response.
There are Regional Disaster Response Advisers located
in each of OCHA’s regional offices, with two standalone
RDRA offices in Almaty (Central Asia) and Fiji (the Pacific), which provide technical, strategic and training expertise;
assistance with contingency planning and preparedness capacity; and advice on monitoring and responding to
natural disasters. RDRAs also assist governments of affected countries, United Nations or IASC Country Teams and the
non-governmental community through direct support in the response and post-crisis phases.
In the field, OCHA will continue to be fully engaged in responding to the humanitarian needs of countries in crisis. Through its coordination activities on the ground and its interaction with Government and other partners, OCHA will be advocating for the preservation of humanitarian space and humanitarian access and will promote international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians.
In disaster-prone countries such as those in South-East Asia and in Central America, where hundreds of millions of people are concentrated in seismically active zones or in coastal areas increasingly at risk from intensive storms, rising sea levels, earthquakes, floods, droughts and other natural hazards, OCHA focuses on disaster risk reduction, increased preparedness and more effective response.
In 2008, OCHA will advocate for the need for equity and impartiality of assistance in forgotten or underfunded emergencies, where there is a lack of political engagement or an absence of media attention, such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, southern Africa and Haiti.
OCHA will reinforce its presence in Central America and the Andean region through the deployment of two additional RDRAs, and in Latin and Central America by establishing NDRAs in Bolivia, Peru and the Caribbean (in addition to the three existing offices in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador). The Regional Office for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia will also deploy additional NDRAs in Yemen, Armenia and Algeria, in addition to its presence in Iran, while the level of additional support is to be determined for Asia-Pacific based on risk profiling.
In 2008, OCHA’s large field offices in major crises such as Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be maintained and others strengthened further, for example in Iraq and Somalia. OCHA’s small field offices in Kenya and Haiti and its field presence in Madagascar will be reinforced in support of populations recovering from a series of natural disasters in 2007 and to strengthen emergency response preparedness. OCHA will continue with its reinforced presences in Niger, Guinea and the Somali region of Ethiopia in response to increasing instability and high levels of food insecurity.
Where the situation in countries in which OCHA has been present has attained a level of stability that allows for coordination activities to be handed over to long-term agencies or sustainable government structures, OCHA’s functions will be phased out in 2008. Positive developments in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Uganda call for a review of OCHA’s support to RCs/HCs, and discussions have begun in relation to the transition of OCHA’s operations. OCHA will promote and support inter-agency coherence during the transitional periods that follow, including ensuring clarity in the handover of activities to successor institutions, as well as the transition of intellectual capital and administrative arrangements.
During 2008, all of OCHA’s field presences will place particular emphasis on implementing humanitarian reform at the field level by establishing Humanitarian Partnership Teams, supporting rollout of the cluster system and facilitating applications for CERF grants and loans. During 2008, OCHA headquarters, field offices and regional offices are committed to broadening the implementation of the cluster approach, particularly in ongoing emergencies where a Humanitarian Coordinator has been designated.