FIELD OFFICES -
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Field Offices - Latin America and the Caribbean (map)

Colombia (map)

Colombia continues to experience one of the oldest internal armed conflicts in the world, affecting a large proportion of the population in both urban centres and rural areas. During recent years there has been steady improvement in overall human rights and violence indicators; however, serious breaches in international humanitarian law and human rights violations continue to be reported throughout the country.

With nearly 80,000 people displaced during 2007, the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is now more than 2.2 million. The key humanitarian challenges in relation to this situation are:

    1. insufficient protection measures for the full application of the Colombian legal framework for internal displacement;
    2. anti-personnel mines planted by illegal armed groups, the presence of explosive weapons in more than half of
      Colombia’s municipalities and the lack of humanitarian demining;
    3. the emergence of new illegal armed groups;
    4. the disruption of social cohesion in many rural areas due to the assassination of community leaders; and
    5. the humanitarian consequences (food shortages, lack of access to basic services) of an unknown number of rural communities trapped by the conflict.
Planned Staffing  
Professionals
7
National Officers
14
General service
16
United Nations Volunteers
2
Total
39
   
Total Costs  
Staff Costs
2,539,020
Non-Staff Costs
890,711
Total Requested (US$)
3,429,731

In 2008, under the guidance of the Resident Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC), OCHA will work with the United Nations and other stakeholders to ensure the effective functioning of in-country humanitarian coordination mechanisms (the IASC Country Team and thematic, sectoral and local humanitarian working groups), with a focus on the basic principles of accountability, predictability and partnership (including with key Colombian institutions and the Colombian organized civil society at national and local levels). OCHA Colombia will also continue to improve its information management infrastructure in order to offer information products that enhance the analysis and decision-making capacity of stakeholders.

The other activities that OCHA will undertake in 2008 in Colombia are:

    1. ensuring the alignment of its coordination services to the volatile environment and variable social and
      political conditions;
    2. continuing to play a central role in advocating for the rights of victims of the Colombian conflict; and
    3. supporting the HC’s work in ensuring a coherent approach to in-country emergency response according to
      the principles promoted by humanitarian reform.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

A predictable and needs-based humanitarian financing system
Outputs Indicators
Local-level partnerships with donors strengthened. Percentage of IASC joint sectoral plans in prioritized areas that have new donor funding.

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
National and local coordination mechanisms (thematic, sectoral and local humanitarian working groups) strengthened. National and local-level forums between the international humanitarian community and civil society supported. Number of joint sectoral plans formulated and implemented. Percentage of key decisions taken through IASC mechanisms where civil society representatives were informed and participated.

Strengthened OCHA emergency response capacity
Outputs Indicators
Field presence and surge capacity in newly prioritized areas increased. Partnerships with NGOs and colombian organized civil society consolidated and capacity training provided Number of newly established sub-offices in areas prioritized by the IASC. Number and percentage of NGOs and civil society counterparts stating that training improved their understanding and capacity to better address emergencies.

Greater incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches and strengthened preparedness in humanitarian response
Outputs Indicators
Natural disaster emergency preparedness strengthened at national and local levels. Contingency plans and risk analysis regularly updated. The United Nations Emergency Technical Team’s emergency preparedness strategy endorsed, enacted and implemented. Number of contingency plans produced and monitored with the support of national and regional IASC mechanisms in prioritized areas.

Haiti (map)

Conflict and a pattern of policies that deny the poor proper education, health care and basic services all contribute to the perpetuation of the poverty cycle in Haiti. The precarious health and nutrition situation – high rates of chronic malnutrition, the highest regional rate of maternal mortality and food insecurity – along with limited access to health care, education and employment has created heightened vulnerability. The persistence of extreme poverty in rural areas is a major factor in rapid population growth and rural-tourban migration, which in turn increases urban poverty. Furthermore, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters as it lies both on the hurricane belt and suffers from extreme soil erosion.

By early 2007, a renewed United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti strategy had contributed towards reducing gang activities and restoring a fragile calm. However, Haiti remains extremely vulnerable to the resurgence of community violence and manipulation by people in whose interest it is to keep Haiti in a state of chaos. In this context, and in support of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator, United Nations Agencies, NGOs, other humanitarian actors and national authorities, OCHA will pursue three areas of specific focus in Haiti in 2008: humanitarian coordination, information management, and disaster preparedness and response management.

In order to develop common strategies with humanitarian partners and reinforce sectoral coordination, OCHA will work on improving some of the tools and mechanisms that were established in 2007. Two multi-donor funding mechanisms have been put in place to support and maintain recent community stability and promote reconciliation: the Emergency Relief Response Fund and the Recovery and Reconciliation Fund – which OCHA will manage under the supervision of the Resident Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator. These aim to provide rapid and flexible funding to address gaps in response to natural disasters as well as for recovery and reconciliation activities.

Planned Staffing  
Professionals
3
National Officers
2
General service
2
United Nations Volunteers
-
Total
7
   
Total Costs  
Staff Costs
589,562
Non-Staff Costs
230,253
Total Requested (US$)
819,815

These funds also contribute to strengthening coordination mechanisms already in place, supporting the Government and ensuring linkages with long-term development programmes.

As a tool to improve joint needs assessment in the case of natural disasters, a baseline survey by area is being prepared which will allow for an earlier identification of needs, trends and priorities for response. To improve the quality and quantity of information collected by OCHA and better serve the humanitarian community on strategic analysis and operational decision-making, additional support from partners and the OCHA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean will be required.

OCHA will continue working with the Haitian Government and other humanitarian partners in supporting preparedness activities, including the contingency planning process. To improve its support to the Government and assist in coordinating the provision of rapid and equitable response to affected people, mechanisms for sectoral humanitarian coordination will need to be further strengthened. In addition, post-disaster interventions and prevention and mitigation activities must be developed and implemented under the leadership of local authorities.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

A predictable and needs-based humanitarian financing system
Outputs Indicators
Consolidated information on humanitarian funding mechanisms disseminated throughout the humanitarian community. Number of documents in french prepared and adapted to the Haitian context and disseminated to humanitarian partners.

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Emergency preparedness and response planning harmonized between national authorities and traditional and new partners. Number of joint activities carried out throughout the country.

Strengthened OCHA emergency response capacity
Outputs Indicators
Training for the United Nations Emergency Technical Team (UNETE) and humanitarian partners on emergency relief and preparedness tools (including humanitarian reform) conducted. Percentage of UNETE members and humanitarian partners trained in emergency relief and preparedness.

Greater incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches and strengthened preparedness in humanitarian response
Outputs Indicators
Contingency plans based on sound risk analysis developed. Number of key sector plans with risk analyses.

A strategy enabling seamless transition and early recovery
Outputs Indicators
Emergency preparedness and response planning updated, taking into account transition/early recovery. A list of transition/early recovery actions in the emergency preparedness and response planning identified and implemented.

Action-oriented analysis of humanitarian trends and emerging policy issues
Outputs Indicators
Information management structure and tools for improved analysis developed. Percentage of monthly situation reports including information analysis based on OCHA’s information management tools.