advocacy and
information management

Information Technology Section

The Information Technology Section (ITS) is responsible for the provision of ICT infrastructure, services and support to
OCHA, including:

    1. development and maintenance of applications (administration, websites and databases);
    2. provision of internal information management support (advice, guidance, standards and policies);
    3. improvement of internal communication (through OCHA’s knowledge/content management systems, including the
      Intranet); and
    4. coordination of inter-agency emergency ICT activities.

A key challenge for ITS in 2008 will be to define and implement the multi-year ICT strategy for OCHA, which will include upgrading OCHA’s technology platform. The strategy will address the requirements identified in the 2007 Information Management Review, including maximizing the functionality and interoperability of all online platforms, tools and applications – starting with ReliefWeb, OCHA Online and field websites.

Another challenge will be to implement an integrated field office administration system at headquarters and initially in a minimum of five field offices. ICT support to field offices will be enhanced through: expanded service desk support; Office-in-a-Box solutions for new offices; more training and collaboration with ICT staff in the field on OCHA strategies, policies and standards; and an annual workshop for all OCHA ICT staff worldwide.

Effective knowledge sharing will be the primary driving force behind OCHA’s Intranet portal. AIMB will adopt a user-centred design approach to ensure that the Intranet maximizes opportunities to increase OCHA’s return on ICT investment – improving productivity and the sharing of knowledge. ITS will also introduce best practices in portal
management for the Intranet involving cross-functional ownership and management – without losing sight of the
value of small-scale autonomy and innovation.

With the aim of ensuring timely inter-agency information technology response to emergencies, ITS, as chair of the IASC Sub-Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET), will continue to promote the standardization of emergency telecommunications and information technology solutions in the humanitarian community, and as process owner will coordinate and lead Emergency Telecommunications Cluster ETC) activities.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

Strengthened information management based on common standards and best practices
Outputs Indicators
Core ICT services, system and platforms upgraded and strengthened in relation to business continuity and disaster recovery. an appropriate content management platform selected and implemented to meet OCHA wide content management requirements. Iimprovements to ReliefWeb, OCHA Online, the intranet, internal communications and dissemination of information among external partners implemented. Biannual user surveys of information management and web-based tools undertaken to determine level of satisfaction. Capacity required for all mission-critical systems met; services restored for such systems within six hours. Content management system implemented, migration plan established and at least one application migrated. search page on OCHA Online extended to include multiple public websites. Search function on Intranet to include multiple internal sites. Metadata database implemented and used on at least one application. Comparative level of user satisfaction with information management and web-based tools established.

Application of better financial management tools
Outputs Indicators
Requirements analysis, functional design and applications development for field office administrative system completed. Fully operational infrastructure installed. System successfully implemented and operational in six field offices; deployment plan defined for other field offices.

Strengthened OCHA emergency response capacity
Outputs Indicators
ICT capacity in the field strengthened. Partnerships expanded. ICT surge capacity kits and staff in headquarters and regions ready for rapid deployment. Detailed system specifications for field offices established. Software packages delivered from headquarters. Scope of existing partnerships with the private sector, governments and NGOs extended to support field activities.

Greater incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches and strengthened preparedness in humanitarian response
Outputs Indicators
Awareness programme for the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations developed. Awareness programme for State Parties on the benefits of the Tampere Convention undertaken and assistance package for governments on its implementation prepared. Database of in-country ICT capacities to respond to emergencies developed.

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications supported. Standardization of emergency telecommunications and information technology solutions among the humanitarian community promoted. WGET draft standards for digital mobile radio and adoption of Cellular Emergency Alert Services supported. Report on field testing of the Emergesat crisis management solution prepared. Implementation plan for the United Nations telephone country code for disaster relief established. Timely information technology response of the ETC ensured, including provision of security and data communications.