- Niger is ranked 182 of 182 on the Human Development Index – lowest in the world.
- Under-development, weak governance, chronic food insecurity, very high malnutrition rate, the impact of climate change, urbanization and commodity price fluctuations creates acute pockets of vulnerability and humanitarian need.
- The political and social environment is becoming increasingly fragile since the referendum of 4 August 2009.
- Access remains limited in the region of Agadez, where the armed conflict between the government and the Tuareg armed opposition groups is yet to be fully resolved.
- Presence of land mines is an important issue made worse by the absence of a de-mining programme.
- The global acute malnutrition rate has deteriorated from 10.7 to 12.3% in a single year.
- Floods affected over 100,000 people in 2009. The Region of Agadez was the hardest hit.
Having reinforced its presence in Niger with a new CO in Niamey and five sub-offices located in Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder, Diffa and Agadez, OCHA is now much better positioned to support early warning, humanitarian coordination, and the cluster approach throughout the country in 2010. OCHA will now need to enhance government capacity to adequately prepare, coordinate and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters by developing appropriate contingency plans.
OCHA will also support the HC in humanitarian advocacy to improve access and foster better collaboration between the government and the humanitarian community. As lack of funding constitutes one of the main impediments to humanitarian activities in Niger, OCHA will help strengthen humanitarian financing mechanisms. This will include: encouraging stronger Niger country team participation in the West Africa Regional CAP; supporting CERF requests; and possibly establishing an ERF. Through its various information tools and products, OCHA will help present humanitarian requirements to donors, and facilitate coordination and response at field level. In addition, as the reliable/accurate source of information on the humanitarian situation, OCHA will support IM initiatives – critical for advocacy, early warning, preparedness, coordination and response.
In 2010, OCHA Niger will focus on contributing to: (i) a more enabling environment for humanitarian action; and, (ii) a more effective humanitarian coordination system. In relation to Objective 1.1 (partnerships with a wider group of Member States and regional organizations in support of humanitarian action), OCHA will liaise with regional organizations. Developing partnerships with these organizations will also benefit ROWCA. Agrhymet, a specialized institute of the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) in Niger, and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in Burkina Faso, represent a few of the main state organizations where links must be established or strengthened.
And scientific information and expertise will be shared and used for early warning, preparedness and action purpose. In relation to Objective 1.2 (relationships strengthened with a wider group of operational partners, and other relevant actors to advance humanitarian action) OCHA will reinforce ties with traditional partners, and strengthen government structures such as le Centre d’information et de communication (CIC), le Système d'alerte précoce (SAP), la Cellule crises alimentaires (CCA), as well as the Ministries of Rural Development, Agriculture and Humanitarian Action. This will enable joint planning and actions regarding preparedness, contingency planning, CAP and response. In addition, information exchange mechanisms and tools will also be jointly developed. In relation to Objective 2.1 (effective mechanisms that manage and support accountable humanitarian coordination leaders), OCHA will strengthen and support sector coordination leadership.
OCHA will assist with the coordination of trainings and coaching to build capacity and enable cluster leads to fulfill their responsibilities. In relation to Objective 2.2 (a more predictable and scalable suite of OCHA services and tools to support leaders and partners in response preparedness, humanitarian response, and transition) OCHA will support more rigorous humanitarian context analysis. OCHA will support a preparedness contingency plan which will include the identification of threats, actions and resources needed to address the different scenarios.
In addition, the OCHA role, strategy and structure regarding Niger transition will be clearly addressed. OCHA will focus the next two years on supporting in-country structures and capacities to transition responsibility for humanitarian planning, IM, preparedness and response.