FIELD OFFICES - MIDDLE EAST

Field Offices - Middle East (map)

Iraq (map)

Iraq remains in a state of protracted humanitarian crisis as a result of ongoing conflict, including violence or the threat of violence against the civilian population, widespread abuses of human rights, and lack of capacity of the national authority to assist affected civilians. There are massive constraints on humanitarian access, impeding the humanitarian community in its provision of adequate and timely assistance..

According to UNHCR, over 2.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced. In addition, an estimated 2.4 million Iraqis have fled to neighbouring states. Freedom of movement is becoming more restricted, both internally (with several governorates closing their ‘boundaries’) and externally as Iraqi civilians are increasingly unable to seek refuge in other states. Key protection concerns include: the denial and obstruction of access to basic services, shelter and livelihoods; threats to physical safety; and the forced return of displaced persons. There is evidence of discrimination on the basis of religious, ethnic or political affiliation in access to basic services provided by authorities and some non-state actors. At the end of 2007, there was some return movement of both internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, but the extent and durability of this trend are not yet clear.

In 2008, security conditions in Iraq are likely to remain very difficult, affecting large numbers of people and compounding existing vulnerabilities. Despite these ongoing security constraints, the need to respond to the humanitarian situation in a more coordinated way demands an increase in the reach and impact of humanitarian agencies inside Iraq, including OCHA. The activities and outputs of OCHA’s Information Management Unit must be increased in order to better synthesize the multiple and disparate sources of information produced by a broad range of stakeholders into timely, credible and reliable data sets and derivative products. Using these, sector coordination and senior management teams will be able make better informed decisions in assisting the Iraqi population. In 2008, staff from the OCHA Iraq in Amman will visit the country

Planned Staffing  
Professionals
16
National Officers
8
General service
13
United Nations Volunteers
1
Total
38
   
Total Costs  
Staff Costs
3,749,159
Non-Staff Costs
1,225,372
Total Requested (US$)
4,974,531

more frequently as the security environment allows, and OCHA Humanitarian Affairs Officers will be placed within the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

While acknowledging that the development and reconstruction assistance provided since 2004 through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq has been of significant help in improving the daily lives of many Iraqis, there is widespread recognition of the need to continue to support the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Humanitarian Coordinator in defining an approach through which local needs determine the mix of humanitarian, reconstruction and development programming.

The key priorities for OCHA Iraq in 2008 will be:

    1. Strengthened advocacy on issues including protection of civilians, securing of access to vulnerable populations and promotion of humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law
      Evidence-based advocacy supported by strengthened assistance to protection-mandated organizations will be required to establish more effective and principled support of the rights of the civilian population, including the promotion of international humanitarian and human rights law.
    2. Substantial improvement in information management, reporting and analysis of the unfolding humanitarian situation
      OCHA will contribute to the provision of relevant, accurate and timely information products in order to facilitate strategic and operational decision-making. Quantifiable information on the conditions and needs of affected populations will be collated and updated on a regular basis and in a consistent format readily accessible by humanitarian actors – with a view to increasing the coordination, flow and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance.
    3. Promotion and establishment of effective and responsive humanitarian coordination mechanisms and resource mobilization
      While scaling up the humanitarian response, there is even greater urgency to support the resource requirements of humanitarian actors by increasing resource mobilization efforts, working towards a cohesive and coordinated humanitarian community and strengthening partnerships with all stakeholders for a joint humanitarian action plan. A coordination structure must be established through which: principled humanitarian action is coordinated with clear sectoral leadership responsibilities; dedicated funding for humanitarian action is maintained; emergency preparedness and response capacities are strengthened; and an overall humanitarian assistance framework is coordinated. Humanitarian action in Iraq should maximize opportunities in the changing situation, and it should be field-driven. Interventions should be made possible through the development of partnerships with local NGOs and other partners, using funding mechanisms such as the Expanded Humanitarian Response Fund, NGO micro-grants or the CERF. An effective and principled civil–military interface must also be established to ensure compliance with humanitarian principles.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

A predictable and needs-based humanitarian financing system
Outputs Indicators
Appropriate reporting, monitoring and evaluation, and needs assessment mechanisms on the use of funds in place. Humanitarian financing increased. Number of projects implemented with erf funds. Regular ERF reports completed. Monitoring and evaluation tools for needs assessment and performance finalized by target date. Amount of funds contributed to humanitarian activities.

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Appropriate and inclusive inter-agency coordination structures with NGO participation to sustain effective humanitarian action established and managed. An inter-ministerial emergency cell at the level of the Prime Minister’s office established and maintained. Terms of reference for each coordination forum agreed upon and implemented by target date. Staff seconded to Prime Minister’s office.

Greater Incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches and strengthened preparedness in humanitarian response
Outputs Indicators
Consolidated contingency plans developed and regularly updated. Early warning system for sudden emergencies established. Number of United Nations Agencies and NGOs involved in contingency planning process.

Action-oriented analysis of humanitarian trends and emerging policy issues
Outputs Indicators
Information management tools for analysis of humanitarian trends and their implications improved. Coordination mechanisms involving local and non-state actors to expand humanitarian space established. Information management tools developed by target date. Mapping of non-state actors operating inside iraq completed by target date. Number of missions carried out to previously inaccessible areas.

More strategic advocacy of humanitarian principles and issues
Outputs Indicators
Advocacy work plan developed, agreed upon and implemented by United Nations Agencies. Appropriate messaging on key humanitarian issues, including funding and access, produced. Public awareness on humanitarian issues and principles increased. Frequency of humanitarian messages released by the offices of the deputy special representative of the Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator/ Humanitarian Coordinator. Number of accessible areas and presence of operational agencies. Number of trainings and workshops conducted.

Protection agenda advanced at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Operational and strategic protection coordination forum established. Capacity building undertaken for humanitarian staff through targeted trainings. Protection information management systems developed, including protection monitoring tools (reporting formats, database), trend and gap analysis, and information dissemination. Protection working group meeting regularly and engaged in targeted discussions. Frequency of news items and op-eds on key protection issues published. Number of systematic protection data products and tools produced at timely intervals.

Strengthened information management based on common standards and best practices
Outputs Indicators
New series of baseline mapping information and place-codes developed. ‘Who does What Where’ database maintained and expanded. databases of humanitarian information created, maintained and used. GIS maps created and disseminated. OCHA Iraq website maintained, improved and expanded. United Nations humanitarian reporting centralized through the OCHA Iraq office. Frequency and veracity of dataset updates. number of ‘Who does What Where’ records, frequency of updates and number of derivative products issued. Number and type of maps available.

 

occupied Palestinian territory (map)

With the removal of Hamas from the emergency government, the international community resumed direct support to the Palestinian Authority, and Israel has also resumed the transfer of Palestinian customs and tax revenues, including arrears, to the emergency government. Despite this, for the majority of residents of the occupied Palestinian territory, the situation in 2007 was worse than the previous year – characterized by a dramatic increase in deaths and injuries due to internal Palestinian violence.

Throughout 2008, it is envisaged that Palestinians civilians will continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing crisis, in addition to the poverty rate standing at 57 per cent and food insecurity affecting 34 per cent of the population. The impact has been particularly severe in the Gaza Strip which has been largely sealed off from the outside world since mid June 2007. Few residents can now leave Gaza, even in the case of medical emergency, and only limited – and declining – commercial and humanitarian supplies are able to enter the area.

Planned Staffing  
Professionals
12
National Officers
11
General service
23
United Nations Volunteers
4
Total
48
   
Total Costs  
Staff Costs
3,635,752
Non-Staff Costs
1,089,094
Total Requested (US$)
4,724,846

In the West Bank, the Government of Israel’s closure regime continues to impede access to workplaces, markets and basic services. It has continued constructing the West Bank Barrier, despite the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice not do to so. Permit and physical restrictions to accessing east Jerusalem for West Bank Palestinians are likely to continue, and eligibility requirements for Palestinians entering the closed areas to the west of the Barrier in the northern West Bank will continue to be tightened. Israel’s expansion of settlements, military bases and other infrastructure in the West Bank has added to the geographic, political and economic fragmentation of the occupied Palestinian territory – to the detriment of both present livelihoods and future viability. In 2008, OCHA will continue to support the humanitarian community, including the United Nations system and NGOs. In particular, OCHA will build on achievements of 2007 to strengthen coordination mechanisms. Given the complexity of the situation, accurate information from the field and appropriate advocacy will also be a crucial component of OCHA’s work in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2008. Ensuring the quality of field research and its effective dissemination to stakeholders remains an ongoing challenge.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

Action-oriented analysis of humanitarian trends and emerging policy issues
Outputs Indicators
Monitoring of humanitarian situation and identification of emerging trends undertaken. Continued in-depth research to strengthen humanitarian analysis produced. High-quality field information collected for the use of all units and field staff in order to increase participation in the analytical process. Percentage increase in information-sharing for field-based reports. Percentage increase in ‘hits’ on the OCHA website. Number of presentations made to key actors and interlocutors. Broadening of target audience through advocacy among local and international media.

Protection agenda advanced at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Vulnerable communities and human rights/protection violations identified. Use and dissemination of the OCHA Protection of civilians database and analysis improved to raise awareness on protection concerns. Active participation of OCHA in protection and child protection sector groups. Close cooperation with Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including regular support provided to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory during bi-yearly missions. Number of presentations on protection issues. Number of protection-related reports drafted.

More strategic advocacy of humanitarian principles and issues
Outputs Indicators
Key issues identified and documented for advocacy purposes. Integrated production of OCHA’s reports and targeted information products with the participation of humanitarian partners. Tailored briefings provided and field trips organized for key stakeholders highlighting areas of urgent need. Frequency of participation in coordination meetings and United Nations joint press statements. Number of joint United Nations reports issued on an ad hoc basis.