OCHA in 2009 Cover
Map of ROWA

Regional Office for West and Central Africa


Fast Facts

The trans-national nature of issues at stake suggest that priorities for OCHA should be on principled humanitarian response, linking relief to development, advocating for hidden and neglected vulnerabilities, and streamlining specific protection needs into preparedness and response mechanisms and tools. In 2010, the RO will also assume responsibility for Central Africa, following the joining of Eastern and Southern Africa and will therefore expand its coverage to include preparedness and regional coordination to RCs in these countries. As a RO, it will also provide surge capacity to country offices in the region when required.

Over the years, ROWCA has developed regional coordination networks with governments and external partners, such as donors – both within the United Nations and NGO communities working in West Africa, and at HQ level. As an example, sustained engagement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is bearing fruit. ECOWAS regularly consults ROWCA on all humanitarian matters in West Africa. And a significant achievement has been the decision by ECOWAS Heads of States to establish a humanitarian depot in Bamako, Mali. In 2010, OCHA will nurture ongoing regional coordination services (preparedness, advocacy, information management, support to regional thematic working groups, natural disaster management and resources mobilization) centred on the regional appeal for West Africa – the main tool for responding to the intertwined and trans-national nature of crises, threats and risks affecting the sub-region.

Over the past year, preparedness – notably in the area of disaster management – has led OCHA and IFCR to organize annual consultations ahead of the flooding season to build the capacity of national actors in dealing with such disasters. The successful holding of the first UNDAC training for Francophone Africa is another example of OCHA ROWCA support to preparedness and emergency response, and support to West African Member States. In 2010, ROWCA work will be guided by:

In 2010, the RO will seek to strengthen its support to all stakeholders and continue to provide countries with the tools to maximize available resources (technical and financial). This includes ensuring that countries understand, for example, how to request assistance from the humanitarian stockpile; tap into identified resources; or implement minimum preparedness activities. Overall, the RO aims to remain a “one-stop shop” for states and partners as they seek information, guidance and assistance in tackling the multiplicity of humanitarian challenges. The RO will also provide support to the transition of OCHA country offices, such as Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, to HSUs and the absorption of management responsibilities in the future.

Policy dialogue is today bearing fruit as humanitarian, development and other actors are increasingly discussing the links between humanitarian needs, development and other emerging threats. The dialogue will further be strengthened, notably through the RDT.

IM and public information capacities will continue to be strengthened to facilitate decision-making processes and analysis of risks and vulnerabilities. Efforts such as the introduction of innovative approaches for the early identification of humanitarian risks – as well as triggers for emergency humanitarian response and activities – will be improved.