emergency response coordination

Coordination and Response Division

In working towards OCHA’s three strategic goals, the Coordination and Response Division (CRD) supports three primary clients: the Emergency Relief Coordinator, in his role as principal adviser to the Secretary-General and coordinator of international humanitarian response; in-country Resident Coordinators/Humanitarian Coordinators (RCs/HCs) in complex emergencies or natural disaster response; and OCHA’s field and regional offices.

CRD leads the provision of advice to the Emergency Relief Coordinator on all aspects of operational decision making in
response to humanitarian emergencies. In 2007, following the realignment of OCHA’s branches in Geneva and New
York, CRD assumed full responsibility for substantive support of humanitarian coordination to OCHA field and regional offices, and for the overall management of response to both natural disasters and complex emergencies. The Division has taken on the lead role in operational planning and monitoring for all emergency response coordination. It is responsible for supporting OCHA’s country-level humanitarian strategies, and it is the working-level interface with governments, partner humanitarian organizations, Secretariats and donors on country- or crisis-specific issues.

CRD serves as the main conduit of information between the field and headquarters, and facilitates effective interaction between all OCHA branches and regional and field offices. The Division convenes country-specific taskforces when necessary and holds regular regional teleconferences with all OCHA stakeholders. It is CRD’s responsibility to ensure that new initiatives, modalities and best practices promoted by OCHA branches are adopted into standard OCHA activities at the field level. CRD supports OCHA policy and guidance rollout in the field, and identifies activities for which greater guidance is required. This includes the humanitarian reform agenda, in particular: assisting RCs/HCs and country teams to ensure that inputs and project proposals are in line with the CERF guidelines; supporting the implementation of the cluster approach and advising on inter-cluster coordination; helping to strengthen the role of HCs through trainings and courses and by guiding field offices in their support of HCs; and enhancing partnerships with humanitarian partners at the field level. The Division also convenes thematic working groups consisting of other OCHA branches and sections,
regional offices and field offices to reach consensus on policy decisions affecting OCHA field-level issues.

CRD takes the lead in analysing the humanitarian situation of countries in order to make the best possible judgements
and operational decisions about OCHA’s activities, and in doing so it works closely with the Geographical Coordination
and Monitoring Section (GCMS). CRD provides briefing materials to donors, and consolidates and issues situation
reports on breaking emergencies. Working closely with the Consolidated Appeals Process Section, CRD supports the
development of consolidated and flash appeals.

In support of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, CRD contributes to the shaping of inter-agency policies on (table) country- and emergency-specific issues. The Division supports inter-agency coordination and strengthens dialogue between the United Nations Secretariat, United Nations Agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs through forums such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA). It also contributes to OCHA’s inputs to the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly, the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee and the Executive Committee on Peace and Security.

CRD provides substantive support to the Emergency Relief Coordinator in engagement with Security Council members
on countries of concern to the humanitarian community, and will continue to engage with donor countries and assist
the Donor and External Relations Section in fundraising for emergencies.

In 2008, CRD will continue to work with the Emergency Services Branch to strengthen OCHA’s capacity to rapidly deploy to new crises with appropriately trained staff and essential operational support equipment, while also maintaining the capacity to bolster response to escalating crises. The implementation of an improved Duty Officer System will continue on from accomplishments of 2007, as will the strengthening of OCHA’s regional offices in deploying surge and critical emergency equipment. CRD will also work closely with GCMS so that they can keep the Europe-based humanitarian and international donor communities fully informed of OCHA’s operations.

CRD will work closely with regional partners, in particular the African Union (AU). The Division will support the establishment of an OCHA–AU Liaison Office in Addis Ababa in 2008 to enhance OCHA’s strategic partnerships
on the continent in which 70 per cent of its operations are undertaken.

During 2008, CRD will continue to work with the IASC, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the
United Nations Department of Political Affairs and other OCHA partners to improve analysis of country humanitarian
trends, issues and required level of response – driving the process of producing timely and decision-oriented
information for OCHA’s senior management.

CRD’s Early Warning and Contingency Planning Section (EWCPS) works closely with internal and external partners to translate early warning into preparedness and preventive action through inter-agency forums such as the IASC Sub-Working Group on Contingency Planning and Preparedness, the Emergency Directors Meeting and the Framework Team. In 2008, EWCPS will work closely with IASC partners to: roll out the revised Inter-Agency Contingency Planning Guidelines; develop a training module for RCs/HCs and country teams; develop an inter-agency roster of contingency planning facilitators for the provision of facilitation support; and develop simulations to test contingency planning assumptions.

In close collaboration with the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in 2007 CRD developed the Global Focus Model, an internal global risk prioritization and resource allocation tool which has been used by OCHA’s regional offices to determine their priority countries for 2008. Using this tool, OCHA decision makers are better informed about potential humanitarian crises and can make more accurate recommendations to improve response.

In collaboration with the Emergency Preparedness Section, EWCPS gathers information for the quarterly IASC Early Warning–Early Action Report and works closely with the IASC to develop HewsWeb. EWCPS represents CRD on the
humanitarian aspects of preparedness and response in meetings called by the United Nations System Coordinator
for Avian and Human Influenza.

CRD has thematic advisers on Field Security Management, Transition and Recovery, and Integrated Missions who actively provide guidance directly to desk officers on country-specific operations. The advisers maintain close contact with inter-agency initiatives and promote coherent inter-agency strategies.

    1. Field Security Management ensures Minimum Operating Security Standards/Minimum Operating Residential
      Security Standards compliance in the field, in addition to supporting humanitarian security coordination, such as
      the United Nations/NGO-endorsed ‘Saving Lives Together’ initiative. In 2008, CRD will continue to liaise with the
      United Nations Department of Safety and Security and participate in the Inter-Agency Security Management
    2. CRD’s responsibilities in relation to Transition and Recovery include joint agreements on OCHA’s phase-out
      strategies in countries and successor arrangements to continue coordination support functions where an OCHA
      field office or presence is phasing out. In addressing this issue, CRD represents OCHA in a collaboration with the
      UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery and the United Nations Development Group Office. In the coming
      year, CRD will promote a systematic approach to advising OCHA field offices on transitional strategies and lead
      inter-branch participation through the OCHA Transition Working Group.
    3. In 2008, CRD will engage a thematic adviser for Integrated Missions to work closely with the Policy Development and
      Studies Branch in establishing appropriate humanitarian coordination mechanisms in countries with integrated
      missions. CRD will ensure that HCs, country teams and OCHA field offices are appropriately advised and supported following the planning processes for integrated missions, including undertaking technical assessment missions.

In 2008, CRD will continue to build on progress made during 2007 to improve the day-to-day work of the Division, in particular supporting new initiatives and best practices. CRD will enhance its staff skills through a strategic capacity building initiative.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Support provided to RCs/HCs in establishing and leading effective Humanitarian Coordination Teams. Adequate humanitarian coordination mechanisms established in countries with integrated missions. Percentage of HC s satisfied with the support received from OCHA, measured through evaluation undertaken by the Humanitarian Coordination Strengthening Project. HCs, IASC Country Teams and field offices appropriately advised and supported following CRD participation in headquarters-level, country-specific integrated mission planning processes and technical assessment missions.

Strengthened OCHA emergency response capacity
Outputs Indicators
Geneva, New York and regional office response improved. Percentage of responses to new emergencies made more effective by following standard operating procedures.

Greater incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches and strengthened preparedness in humanitarian response
Outputs Indicators
Disaster risk reduction and preparedness measures incorporated into OCHA operations on the basis of a multi-hazard analysis. Percentage of priority countries with a new or revised contingency plan using IASC Contingency Planning Guidelines.

A strategy enabling seamless transition and early recovery
Outputs Indicators
Predictable and sustainable phase-out of OCHA field offices promoted and supported. Percentage of existing and new OCHA field offices that have a clearly stated exit strategy and transition timeline.

More strategic advocacy of humanitarian principles and issues
Outputs Indicators
Focused and strategic analysis briefings provided to OCHA senior management team to improve response. Timely correspondence with the Office of the Under-Secretary-General maintained with provision of regular advocacy messaging.