OCHA in 2009 Cover
Map of ROLAC

Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean


Fast Facts

Due to the present trends, an increasing number of international, regional, sub-regional, and national government partners are involved in humanitarian action. This poses important coordination challenges, and roles in preparedness and response require clarification. Still greater commitment is required from humanitarian agencies in terms of coordinating actions. And there is a necessity for strengthened support from cluster leads and external agencies, particularly with regard to transition and early recovery.

The key challenge for ROLAC is to address an increasing number of emergencies due to an increasingly complex environment with global economic crises, pandemics, food insecurity, urbanization and chronic poverty. The significance of OCHA efforts and activities has not gone unnoticed; however, partner expectations have now been raised. Within its existing capacity, ROLAC must maintain its credibility and ability to lead humanitarian coordination under changing circumstances. ROLAC therefore plans to identify clearer benchmarks for when and where it will engage – and with what resources, tools, services, size and duration. In addition, ROLAC must ensure that its high quality products and services, and its role as facilitator and honest broker, continue to add value.

To tackle these coordination challenges, ROLAC will work with RCs to strengthen partnerships with humanitarian organizations, agencies, governments, and existing networks to ensure more coherent humanitarian response, greater clarity on tools offered, and good information available for decision making.

The office will widen dialogue and support to capacity-building efforts with regional organizations and countries traditionally less involved in United Nations activities in disasters. ROLAC will continue to bring together United Nations agencies and partners. It will share best practices and lessons learned to better facilitate preparedness and response. The office will promote the development of regional and national coordination networks, including the Regional Director Team aimed at inter-agency preparedness and disaster awareness-raising. ROLAC will pursue discussions among partners to provide greater understanding and predictability on institutional roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. ROLAC will explore key regional partnership opportunities and pursue organization-wide strategic partners.

ROLAC will promote the systematic use of humanitarian financing tools, such as CERF and flash appeals, and of the cluster approach. ROLAC will continue to deploy surge capacity of trained disaster management professionals to respond rapidly – at the request of governments and RCs/HCs – to countries affected by sudden or slow onset disasters.

Humanitarian actors from the region will be encouraged to join international response systems, such as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) or the UNDAC. Through its network of Humanitarian Support Units (HSUs) present in seven vulnerable countries, the links between the United Nations system and national authorities will be strengthened during emergency response. Staff of the HSUs can also travel within the region to assist other countries, increasing ROLAC surge capacity.

ROLAC will continue to identify and organize relevant information and provide analysis, particularly through the humanitarian information website Redhum. Meanwhile, through the regional group REDLAC and national HCTs, ROLAC will lead the humanitarian community on advocacy. Finally, ROLAC will systematically and accurately communicate its findings to facilitate decision-making and policymaking on disaster management.

Redhum – Humanitarian Information Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (www.redhum.org)

Completing its second year, Redhum is continuing to grow. This is measured not only by website visits, but also by the interest generated through the networks created with the presence of the Information Assistants at the country level. The project and its achievements include: