Democratic Republic of the Congoochaonline.un.org/drc
- DRC is ranked 176 of 182 on the Human Development Index.
- More than five million people have died since 1998, as a direct and indirect result of the war.
- 1.8 million people are still displaced throughout the country due to conflicts.
- Even areas not affected by conflicts record high rates of mortality and malnutrition due to structural limitations.
- Protection of civilians remains the most urgent humanitarian concern.
- Sexual violence is rampant: one woman is raped every two hours in the eastern province of South Kivu.
- The number of attacks on humanitarians from January to October 2009 has already exceeded those of all of 2008, and eight humanitarians have perished since January 2009.
In 2010, OCHA expects to face four major types of challenges, some of which have changed or intensified since 2009:
- Security and access: The delivery and coordination of humanitarian assistance will continue in areas where security permits. In collaboration with the Protection Cluster OCHA will increase efforts to obtain access for the delivery of assistance and advocate for improved protection of civilians.
- Neutrality in humanitarian action: OCHA will encourage the active involvement of all humanitarian partners in the clusters and the development of provincial and national strategies to address humanitarian needs in a neutral and impartial way.
- Response in Western areas: OCHA will support the assessment of humanitarian needs in non-conflict areas and coordinate the development of an appropriate response strategy where required.
- Transition to early recovery: In 2010, new government and United Nations initiatives, e.g. the Stabilization and Reconstruction Plan (STAREC) and the United Nations Security and Stabilization Support Strategy (UNSSSS), will be implemented, with components of early recovery and transition. The challenge for OCHA will be to coordinate complementary mechanisms.
OCHA engagement in DRC is based on the following areas of action:
- Humanitarian leadership and coordination: OCHA provides overall guidance and serves as a first point of contact for clusters, both at the national and field level.
- A bridge between the humanitarian actors and MONUC: OCHA ensures essential coordination with MONUC in the areas of protection of civilians, humanitarian access, and other issues of humanitarian concern, and advocates for MONUC logistical support to humanitarian operations.
- The Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP), a planning and fund raising tool: OCHA acts as the secretariat for the HAP, the country’s key planning, fund raising and tracking tool produced by all humanitarian actors. It provides the humanitarian community with a platform for coordination, joint assessments, analyses and monitoring.
- Innovative funding mechanisms: OCHA, in support of the HC, manages the pooled fund, a country-level CERF, which provides significant funding – usually to address the most urgent needs – for humanitarian activities within the HAP framework.
- A humanitarian information and analysis service: OCHA supports the humanitarian community by advocating with the government, donors, and the community at large, and by providing information and analysis, through public information and information management activities.
In 2010, OCHA engagement will entail the following plan of action:
- Improving the HAP process: Keen to build on the lessons learned from the 2010 process, OCHA will strive to make the HAP an even more inclusive, consultative process that will result in an accurate picture of the humanitarian needs. With effective indicators and response triggers in place, this approach will produce an adequate plan of action, as well as a resource mobilization tool to approach the donor community.
- Collaboration with the DRC government: Where and when possible, OCHA will work closely with the government in all phases of humanitarian action, from monitoring, to assessment and response.
- Acting as the gatekeeper of humanitarian principles: OCHA will work with the humanitarian community to ensure that the basic humanitarian principles are respected when implementing response activities.
- Participating in integrated planning and coordination mechanisms: OCHA will work with partners, including MONUC and government, to achieve complementarities in the areas of early recovery and development and to avoid overlap with humanitarian assistance.
- Taking the lead in advocacy and information management: OCHA will serve the humanitarian community by producing regular and ad hoc information products for a variety of audiences will all aim to be based on an inter-agency approach.
In the first quarter of 2010, OCHA will work together with the government and the humanitarian community to develop criteria and conditions necessary for the opening/closing of sub-offices and antennae in the field, and ensure smooth transition from a humanitarian to a longer term development approach where appropriate.
The Pooled Fund in DRC: An Innovative Funding Mechanism
The Pooled Fund was established as a pilot in DRC in 2005 and became fully operation in 2006. It is supported by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The Pooled Fund has increasingly attracted donor support and, in 2009, nine donors contributed to the fund for a total of $101 million.
The fund aims to ensure prompt, needs based allocation of humanitarian aid resources. It channels resources directly through the office of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) and aims to increase the effectiveness of the humanitarian response based on the analysis of priority needs. The fund is comprised of a Standard Allocation window, and a Rapid Response Reserve (RRR), which is used as a rapid and flexible mechanism to fund emergency and priority projects, in particular through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). Since its inception, the Pooled Fund became the first source of funding of humanitarian programmes in DRC.
United Nations agencies and international and national NGOs have access to the fund through a participatory and inclusive decision-making process. CPIA (local inter agency standing committees) and clusters play a crucial role in the entire process. OCHA in collaboration with UNDP act as secretariat for the management of the fund through an integrated Pooled Fund Support Unit. Given the success of the DRC Pooled Fund, other countries are considering replicating this model.