OCHA in 2009 Cover

Strategic Plan 2010

Goal 1: A more enabling environment for humanitarian action

OCHA Partnerships and Relationships

Relationship-building has always been integral to OCHA efforts to foster an enabling environment for humanitarian action. Sustained relations, built on trust and mutual respect, are vital when preparing for and responding to humanitarian emergencies. Given the new challenges that are combining to increase vulnerability and limit acceptance of humanitarian action, OCHA must increasingly place relationships with a wider range of Member States and international and national organizations at the centre of its work.

More productive and predictable partnerships with IASC organizations were a centrepiece of the previous Strategic Framework. The new Strategic Framework builds on these relationships, and expands the breadth of partners with whom OCHA must work. Partnership underpins much of the new OCHA Strategic Framework, particularly Goals 1 and 2. And the first two objectives under Goal 1 focus exclusively on strengthening OCHA capacity to build, sustain, and manage its relations, and promote key advocacy messages through five sets of complementary effort:

In 2010, OCHA will map and better understand its present relationships; develop an organizational strategy for reaching out to new partners; manage those relationships more strategically; and utilize the five-year anniversaries of the Hyogo Framework, humanitarian reform, and the CERF to engage with partners around key areas of mutual concern.

Objective 1.1: Partnerships with a wider group of Member States and regional organizations in support of humanitarian action

“Individually these so-called mega-trends are likely to drive up humanitarian needs by creating more poverty and vulnerability; greater levels of inequality; higher unemployment; increased frequency and intensity of disasters; new kinds of conflicts; and major weather driven migrations. Combined, they threaten to create chronic vulnerability on a scale we cannot readily imagine now. If ever there were issues which called for more multilateralism, these are they.” — John Holmes, USG/ERC

Global challenges such as the food and financial crises, climate change, water and energy scarcity, migration, population growth, and urbanization have begun to change vulnerability patterns and increase the demand for humanitarian action. The breadth of challenges faced today calls for greater reflection on the extent of national ownership and support for principled humanitarian action. The challenges also call for proper emphasis on disaster risk reduction and response preparedness in humanitarian work, as well as the “boundaries” of humanitarian and development work, more broadly. They necessitate more focus on working with States to strengthen response and coordination capacity at the local, national and regional levels. They demand greater understanding of the skepticism of some States concerning the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian work. And, with acute needs projected to rise, they require a broader base of financial support.

In 2010, OCHA will aim to systematically engage Member States and listen to their concerns. In so doing, OCHA will be better positioned to propose a shared agenda of humanitarian policy, operational and financial concerns for the next four years. OCHA will aim to catalyse more diverse inter-governmental policy dialogue within the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Security Council on two questions: (i) How can States, development partners and humanitarian actors address acute vulnerability more systematically? (ii) How can humanitarian actors foster greater acceptance of humanitarian action by parties to conflict, communities, States and their armed forces? OCHA will strengthen and expand institutional cooperation with regional and national organizations to ensure timely and effective aid in emergencies. OCHA will work more systematically in expanding national capacities of many States and regional entities through existing networks like the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), Environmental Emergencies and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) – alongside the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

OCHA will further promote the CAP as a standard tool for more needs-based and accountable humanitarian response planning and resource mobilization in support of national response. OCHA will aim to expand the base of Member States who financially support the CERF.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Within OCHA, a mapping of partnership building activities being undertaken with Member States and regional organizations is produced and used to develop a Member State engagement strategy.
  • Strategy on Member State and regional organization engagement developed.
CERF fully funded on an annual basis.
  • 100% of fundraising goal as set out by GA met.
  • 10 new and/or returning Member States contributing to CERF in 2010.
Fundraising for CAP and Flash Appeals is targeted at donors in the affected region and regional organizations, to achieve better funding and more political support by Member States and regional organizations for international humanitarian action.
  • Increased number of Member States funding appeals in their own region, compared to 2009 (baseline 2009: 13 Member States).
Strengthened and expanded institutional cooperation with regional and national organizations in support of services and mechanisms provided by OCHA.
  • 3 new countries/regional organizations participating in UNDAC/INSARAG activities for the first time.

Enhancing the Security Council’s Role in the Protection of Civilians

A key component of OCHA efforts to seek better protection for civilians in situations of armed conflict is its engagement with the Security Council. In 2010, the Security Council will hold two open debates on the protection of civilians, where critical issues of concern and proposals for action will be brought to the Council’s attention by the USG. The Council will also receive the eighth Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in 2010. The report, prepared by OCHA, will contain recommendations addressed to the Council, Member States and other actors for responding to protection of civilians’ challenges in contemporary conflicts.

OCHA will also work closely with all parties in implementing the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1894, adopted in November 2009. The resolution addresses a number of the challenges identified in the Secretary- General’s seventh protection report of May 2009, as well as several key recommendations of the OCHA-DPKO jointly commissioned independent study on the implementation of protection mandates by peacekeeping missions.

A crucial vehicle for implementing Resolution 1894 is the Security Council’s informal Expert Group on the Protection of Civilians, entering its second year. The Expert Group provides an important forum for OCHA to brief the Council, on behalf of the humanitarian community. It serves to systematize consideration of specific protection issues, including efforts to address actions of parties to conflict and steps of peacekeeping missions to improve on-the-ground protection. Vital to the work of the Expert Group, and the Council more broadly, is a searchable, web-based version of the Council’s Aide Mémoire on the Protection of Civilians which will be developed in 2010, both to ensure its continuing relevance and broaden its accessibility and use.

The inclusion of protection activities in the mandates of peacekeeping missions is among the most significant of the Council’s actions to enhance the protection of civilians on the ground. To further improve their impact, OCHA, in close collaboration with DPKO, will disseminate and support implementation of the findings and recommendations of the above-mentioned OCHA-DPKO joint study. This will involve close consultation with the Council and other Member States, in particular troop and police contributors. Activities will include dissemination and consultation workshops with key peacekeeping operations and regional organizations, in addition to robust humanitarian actor engagement in the development of joint protection strategies with peacekeeping missions.

Objective 1.2: Relationships strengthened with a wider group of operational partners and other relevant actors to advance humanitarian action

OCHA will seek to deepen relationships with its current partners, such as IASC organizations. OCHA will augment ongoing work with peace, security and peacebuilding actors within the UN, such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO). In 2010, OCHA will strengthen strategic and operational engagement in the integrated mission planning process (IMPP), Integration Steering Group (ISG), and peacebuilding and related transition efforts – including DPKO and DPA processes at the field level, such as Integrated Missions Task Forces (IMTF) and Integrated Task Forces (ITF). OCHA will also aim to cultivate new relationships with the wider group of operational and other relevant actors – from diasporas and non-Western charities to development banks and private corporations.

In 2010, OCHA will explore whether it is consistently speaking to the relevant national and international actors to achieve its country or region-specific aims and overall objectives. OCHA will aim to understand partner expectations of the organization and gather a dynamic picture of existing and potential stakeholders at the national, regional and global levels. This will lead into three broad areas of work, to be progressively incorporated into OCHA work plans. Firstly, OCHA will identify priority partners with whom to strengthen or develop more structured relations on specific areas of mutual interest. More structured relationships with international financial institutions such as the World Bank or UN political and security entities will help each OCHA CO work from a common “corporate” foundation toward a common goal.

Secondly, OCHA will begin developing improved institutional guidance on building, maintaining and leveraging relationships to affect humanitarian outcomes – to be incorporated into OCHA training programmes (see Objective 3.3). OCHA will thus empower staff to act as more effective interlocutors between the humanitarian community and UN peacekeeping, peacebuilding and special political missions.

Thirdly, OCHA will improve communications, information sharing and headquarters (HQ) support to the field on networks and partnerships. It will better coordinate analysis, reporting, information, policy and advocacy products regarding humanitarian situations and action, including the identification of key players.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Consistent OCHA country-level engagement with joint-planning mechanisms in all integrated UN presences.
  • Guidance developed to ensure all staff are fully aware of OCHA corporate positions on integration.
  • OCHA is a member of the Strategic Policy Group and Joint Planning Unit (or their equivalents) in all integrated UN presences where they exist and where OCHA has an office.
More consistent OCHA approach to building relationships with prioritized partners.
  • Prioritized set of partners identified and process to develop more structured partnership agreed.
Review and update existing OCHA guidance on partnerships.
  • A policy desk review, indicating gaps, and proposing a suitable package of guidance completed by end of Q2.
Review and make recommendations on how to adapt internal communications and practices to better support coordinated development and use of partnerships.
  • Internal communications and practices systems adapted.

Objective 1.3: Defined roles and responsibilities within OCHA and among international development and humanitarian partners to support Member States and regional organizations in response preparedness

The effects of climate change, and other global “mega trends” already impact the lives of millions of people and will increasingly do so. Climate change adaptation will require significant action to manage the direct impacts of extreme hazard events, but also of greater food insecurity, forced displacement and migration, potential conflict and adverse health impacts. For humanitarians, this will require an increased focus on prevention and preparedness, and capacity building to reduce demand for international response.1

The roles, responsibilities and accountabilities to support Member States and regional organizations to prevent, mitigate and manage risks; prepare for effective response; and eventually recover from disasters are sometimes unclear. Within its mandate, OCHA aims to sharpen its role in response preparedness and disaster risk reduction, and catalyse more systematic support from the international humanitarian system and national actors.

Over the next four years, through its convening role, OCHA will intensify dialogue with Member States and regional organizations to build understanding of the emergency response capabilities available from the international community. OCHA will thus facilitate a much more effective use of emergency response capacities (links to Objective 1.1).

OCHA will also work more closely with key preparedness partners, such as UNDP, ISDR and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to agree upon roles and responsibilities to support national and regional partners more predictably and effectively – including a review of the joint OCHA-UNDP-ISDR Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI). In parallel, OCHA will propose a dialogue with IASC organizations to achieve a greater understanding of how different organizations define preparedness.

Based on a 2009 review, OCHA will develop a unifying concept in 2010 to guide and more clearly define its own work in response preparedness, in line with its mandate, and develop guidance for staff. This work should lead to a more efficient utilization of resources.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
OCHA preparedness guidance (identifying how OCHA should discharge its core functions in the area of preparedness, priority targets and partner institutions) adopted by SMT and disseminated.
  • OCHA Policy Instruction on preparedness drafted, approved, and disseminated within OCHA.
OCHA role and engagement in the joint OCHA-UNDP-ISDR Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) is reviewed.
  • New arrangements for OCHA engagement in CADRI approved.
Discussions with UNDP/Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), ISDR and IFRC initiated at both senior and working level on respective roles and responsibilities in supporting Member States and regional organizations in preparedness.
  • High level and working level bilateral consultations held between OCHA and UNDP/BCPR, ISDR, and IFRC.

Objective 1.4: Humanitarian response and response preparedness is underpinned by integrated analysis and rigorous learning

To effectively support the USG/ERC, OCHA must understand present and future trends and challenges affecting humanitarian action. Essential analytical capacities and tools to identify these trends, and shape the humanitarian agenda, are already in place. Because of this, for instance, OCHA has catalysed a system-wide discussion to ensure IDPs received adequate protection and material assistance and supported the USG/ERC in launching and developing the humanitarian reform agenda, and CERF. However, OCHA can better organize and integrate such analytic capacities to support ERC leadership (see p. 36, “OCHA Analysis at Work”).

A 2009 OCHA Policy Brief on Global Challenges (see box on p. 25). drew upon data, information and analysis from across OCHA and external sources to initiate the new Strategic Framework development process. The brief provided both a better understanding of the larger trends and an example of how best to structure an integrated, corporate OCHA approach to analysis. As a consequence, OCHA identified two key areas for further analysis and agenda development in 2010: (i) Acute vulnerability and the humanitarian/development spectrum; (ii) Acceptance of humanitarian action by parties to conflict, communities, affected States and their armed forces, and other actors that influence contexts where humanitarian action occurs.

In 2010, OCHA will work towards greater coherence in analysis efforts, including among COs, ROs and HQ entities, to support rigorous system-wide learning around humanitarian performance. Inter-agency real-time evaluations (IA RTE) were endorsed in 2009 by the IASC as a useful tool for supporting system-wide learning. In further developing the IA RTE tool in 2010, OCHA will engage the IASC in the development of improved methods that support more rigorous approaches to real-time learning. OCHA will also manage several other joint evaluations, for example on the impact of Common Humanitarian Funds (CHF) and an Inter-Agency Review of Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA).

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Development of options and models for linking OCHA field, regional and HQ based analysis to better support the ERC’s leadership role.
  • Model approved by the end of the year.
Review identified priorities of humanitarian system (e.g. gender, climate change, access, security,) for more systematic integration into OCHA plans at country, regional and HQ level.
  • Integration of SMT-approved priority areas into OCHA 2011 work plans.
Initiation through the IASC new procedures and methods for undertaking inter-agency real-time evaluations.
  • Three inter-agency real-time evaluations undertaken during 2010 using new procedures.

Analysis, Advocacy and Action


Getting a grip on the facts, the context and the undercurrents to a crisis is fundamental to an effective humanitarian response. IRIN’s (Integrated Regional Information Networks) award-winning news and analysis service was created to help fill the information gap left when a crisis strikes. It occupies a unique role at the junction of journalism and humanitarian action.

Created after the Rwandan genocide, IRIN now spans some 70 countries. Since its creation, specialist humanitarian journalism and information management has been professionalized. IRIN has become a familiar tool, complementing and supplying content to other OCHA services, such as ReliefWeb, and adding value to OCHA early warning, analysis and global advocacy campaigns. IRIN provides authoritative coverage of neglected crises for humanitarian decision-makers, governments, civil society, academia and the media.

IRIN is part of the OCHA Communications and Information Services Branch but is editorially independent. Its reporting is guided by strict professional standards, with rigorous controls to ensure accuracy, balance and fairness. Partnerships with other agencies (e.g., with the UN Environmental Programme on Climate Change) support research costs, as well as text and visual reporting.

The IRIN audience is about two million users online per year, while syndicated IRIN news, video and radio reaches millions more. Its core service produces about 5,000 articles a year in English, French and Arabic. This is complemented by a range of other multimedia services:

Regional desks in Bangkok, Dakar, Dubai, Johannesburg and Nairobi are staffed by some 25 experienced journalists. Their work is supplemented by news reports and features from a network of over 150 freelance field correspondents. They lend IRIN a long-term ground presence, and enable reporting from areas even too insecure for UN staff.


ReliefWeb is an online information service that provides relevant humanitarian content to better inform decision-making in natural disasters, conflicts and crises. ReliefWeb saw some 150,000 registered users and over nine million unique visitors to the website in 2009.

Based in Kobe, Nairobi, Geneva and New York, the ReliefWeb teams gather and sift through material from over 3,000 sources, rendering the most relevant content available on its website and delivering it to users by RSS, email, mobile and via social media networks.

In 2010, ReliefWeb plans to significantly improve its service by focusing on three priorities:

A new customer relations approach will also be introduced in 2010 to ensure that the views and needs of users remain paramount to the service in the future.

OCHA Analysis at Work – Understanding the Humanitarian Implications of Climate Change

In support of the USG/ERC, OCHA can play a key role in catalysing research – and sharing knowledge about where climate change adaptation and humanitarian concerns intersect.

An initial mapping of research last year highlighted three key gaps:

OCHA recently completed projects to look at each of these issues. First, OCHA mapped humanitarian hotspots, which made clear that existing vulnerabilities, including conflict risk, would greatly impact those most exposed to climate change. The joint study with the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, IDMC, on “Monitoring disaster displacement in the context of climate change” showed that more people in 2008 were displaced due to rapid onset disasters than by conflict and prompted a number of agencies to commit to monitor systematically climate related displacement. Finally, preliminary OCHA work on estimating climate change costs to humanitarian actors – “The Humanitarian Costs of Climate Change” – highlighted that by any methodology costs will increase and action now is cost effective. OCHA has also hosted research meetings bringing together key agencies, academics, think tanks and NGOs to discuss topics including: emerging climate change finance mechanisms and the IPCC Special Report on managing extreme events.

In 2009, a series of OCHA-facilitated field based IASC consultations showed that field operations were struggling to interpret complex and often contradictory climate change information. OCHA has now teamed up with the International Research Institute (IRI) at Columbia University on a one year pilot project to link climate experts to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs). The results should be a series of targeted climate information products for key regions, to inform choices based on seasonal and longer term climate projections.

There is a wealth of existing and emerging OCHA and partner work to help the climate change community fast-track adaptive action; however, the climate change community may not be aware of relevant humanitarian work. In 2010, the Noble Prize winning climate change research forum – the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – will have begun working on a special report on the management of extreme events and climate change. To seize this unique opportunity, OCHA is teaming up with the Journal, “Disasters”, to produce a special issue to feed into the IPCC drafting process.

Goal 2: A more effective humanitarian coordination system

The 2005 reforms underpinned the previous OCHA Strategic Framework for 2007-2009. During that period, significant progress was made in each of the four main focus areas of the reform process. OCHA continues to play a leading role in developing practical policies and procedures to implement the reforms, as well as supporting their further roll-out and providing training and other help where needed.

The reforms led to more consistent application of humanitarian architecture tailored to each country situation. A new HC Pool has been established, to provide high caliber candidates screened and approved by the IASC for humanitarian coordination leadership positions. Global clusters have built up global humanitarian response capacity systematically across all sectors; and the cluster approach is now routinely used in almost all large-scale humanitarian operations. The CERF has been used to kick-start emergency responses or address funding gaps in more than 70 countries since its establishment in 2006. Locally managed Emergency Response Funds (ERFs) and CHFs have provided more predictable and timely response to crises in 15 countries. And partnerships have been strengthened as a result of the Global Humanitarian Platform (GHP) and other humanitarian reform initiatives.

Goal 2 serves to consolidate the gains of humanitarian reform, and address areas for improvement, such as: leadership and accountability at all levels of the new coordination architecture; well defined and predictable inter-cluster support by OCHA at all stages of engagement (before, during and after an emergency); and an improved evidence base to underpin planning and resource allocation. OCHA must join the various elements of the programme cycle into a seamless, inter-dependent suite of tools to ensure well-planned, well-resourced humanitarian action according to need.

Objective 2.1: Effective mechanisms that manage and support accountable humanitarian coordination leaders

Much remains to be done to ensure that mechanisms at all levels (global, regional and national) enable humanitarian coordination leaders to perform their duties. This includes not only HCs but also RCs in disaster-prone or disaster- affected countries, representatives of cluster lead agencies (both Country Directors of lead agencies and Cluster Coordinators), and OCHA Heads of Office (HoO).

Over the next four years, the OCHA aim is for significantly more humanitarian coordination leaders to have the right skills, knowledge and experience; coordination mechanisms to be strengthened; policy issues to be resolved (particularly regarding cluster approach implementation and leadership gaps, as with protection during natural disasters); and institutional hindrances to be mitigated.

In 2010, OCHA will further enlarge the HC Pool and explore secondment opportunities for its members. OCHA will assess the knowledge, skills and experience of current humanitarian coordination leaders and develop a learning strategy for them. OCHA will also seek to manage better RC and HC performance through an improved RC/HC/Designated Official (DO) Performance Appraisal System that incorporates the ERC/HC Compact. In parallel, OCHA will strive to strengthen and systematically apply internal induction programmes for OCHA HoOs, which include improved monitoring and appraisal of HoO support to humanitarian leaders.

OCHA will provide targeted help to humanitarian coordination leaders at field level by supporting oversight and coordination mechanisms, and facilitating inter- cluster missions that provide targeted training on cluster roles and responsibilities. OCHA will also support ROs/COs through the deployment of gender advisors and senior protection officers (through GenCap and ProCap; see Annex III).

At the institutional level, OCHA will facilitate the development of an accountability framework for HCs, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinators (DHCs), Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs), cluster lead agencies and OCHA for IASC endorsement. OCHA will propose possible mechanisms to monitor stakeholder compliance with the framework, and begin to review and address more systematically non-compliance. OCHA will also aim to ensure that the results of the Cluster Evaluation (Phase II) are considered by the IASC and accepted recommendations are monitored for implementation.

OCHA will aim to strengthen further the global humanitarian architecture. This includes working with the Global Early Recovery Cluster to strengthen coordination mechanisms during the transition period and promote a seamless transfer of coordination responsibilities to development partners.

Finally, OCHA will continue to support partnership strengthening, including operationalizing the “Principles of Partnership”, through initiatives such as the GHP. GHP brings together NGOs, civil society, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and other international organizations in a forum where strategic and policy issues can be discussed. OCHA will focus on strengthening HCTs at the field level, ensuring that they are representative of the diverse set of UN and non-UN organizations involved in humanitarian response in the countries concerned.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Humanitarian coordination leaders (RCs, HCs, DHCs, cluster leads and OCHA HoOs) equipped with and use relevant knowledge and skills, and are held accountable.
  • Learning strategy for humanitarian coordination leaders developed and endorsed by the IASC by Q2.
  • 100% of new HoOs trained on key provisions of OCHA policy instructions on (i) emergency response, (ii) the role and responsibilities of COs, (iii) the relationship between HCs and OCHA HoOs in the field, and (iv) protection.
  • 100% of OCHA HoOs are appraised by the respective RCs/HCs.
  • 75% of HC Pool members trained on using international humanitarian law and protection in humanitarian coordination, and in working with UN and non-UN partners.
  • 100% of HCs engaged in a comprehensive performance management process, including regular performance feedback.
High calibre candidates identified for humanitarian coordination leadership positions.
  • An HC Pool member is proposed as candidate for 75% of vacancies for RC/HC posts.2
Regular and systematic review of response and coordination mechanisms.
  • Development by Q3 of a template to review response and coordination mechanisms (building on the Humanitarian Reform Tracking Tool) and application of this in 60% of COs by the end of the year.
  • Development of an IASC action plan based on the recommendations from the Cluster Evaluation (Phase II).
  • Development of an accountability framework for HCs, DHCs, HCTs, cluster lead agencies and OCHA for IASC endorsement.
Strengthened partnerships between UN and non-UN organizations.
  • Reviews indicate that NGOs are properly represented in 100% of HCTs.
  • Global Humanitarian Platform meets and agrees on concrete next steps for future initiatives.

Objective 2.2: An OCHA capable of responding quickly with clear triggers for establishing, phasing and drawing down operations

“We increasingly face a multi-hazard environment where there may be no individual trigger but rather a build-up of fundamental and interlocking factors which over time drive major new waves of chronic and acute vulnerability. These situations mean uncertain entry points for international humanitarian response and often non-existent exit strategies. Of course chronic need is itself hardly new. It is the likely scale and prevalence which pose such deep challenges to our current ways of doing business.” — John Holmes, USG/ERC

To provide effective humanitarian coordination support, OCHA country operations must be appropriately tailored and scaled to each situation. During the previous Strategic Framework for 2007-2009, OCHA put in place essential resources to help prioritize emergency situations; respond quickly with clearer triggers for operations; and manage the phase-down of operations with relevant development partners. Most notably, the IASC Early Warning Early Action report and the Global Focus Model provided a methodology to help identify countries that may be at risk of humanitarian emergencies and the Emergency Response Roster strengthened OCHA response to emergencies.

However, with a growing number of situations that may require OCHA support, OCHA is intent on doing more to ensure that it has a clearer system for deciding: where and when it engages and disengages; the complement of services, tools and resources to be deployed; and the size and duration of its field operations. Such efforts will address situations where OCHA is not present but potentially should be – and vice-versa.

Over the next four years, OCHA will strive to make further progress in the following areas. Firstly, OCHA should have timely and accurate information about relevant trends and areas at risk of a humanitarian emergency. Secondly, OCHA should have clear criteria to determine when trends dictate that a situation may require more intensive response preparedness, response or reduction of OCHA support. Thirdly, turning information and criteria into action will require clear and consistent decision-making processes internally for determining whether vulnerability benchmarks have been surpassed. And fourthly, OCHA should develop a clear overview and guidance regarding the comparative advantages of the services and tools available and their suitability to different situations.

In 2010, OCHA will more stringently identify what it needs to know about a country or situation to inform sound decisions about OCHA engagement. OCHA will also develop criteria to support good decisions (based on existing tools like the aforementioned Global Focus Model), for prioritizing situations, and discerning potentially significant tipping points. Building on practice established in 2009 for phasing OCHA country operations in transition settings, in 2010 OCHA will develop longer-term strategies for each CO, using planning indicators and benchmarks to appropriately scale the OCHA presence and help plan transition. (For staffing solutions, see Objective 3.2.)

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
A pilot set of well-defined triggers for decision-making on phasing in, phasing out and scaling field operations.
  • Existing information and tools and methods for prioritizing situations, discerning potentially significant tipping or action points and deploying resources reviewed and refined and systematized.
A prioritized set of countries for preparedness and response support based on a consistently applied decision-making process.
  • Review present accountabilities and decision-making processes for current operations and deployments by the end of Q2.
A draft concept of operations clearly indicating the suite of “scalable” service options OCHA has to respond to evolving levels of vulnerability and humanitarian need.
  • Clear internal agreement on the type, scale and nature of support needed to address significant tipping points in high risk situations (carried out in collaboration with Objective 2.3).

Objective 2.3: A more predictable and scalable suite of OCHA services and tools to support leaders and partners in response preparedness, humanitarian response, and transition

OCHA recognizes that a critical next step in consolidating the reforms of the past few years is to ensure that the new coordination architecture is supported by appropriate, up-to-date and relevant tools and services. More than ever, OCHA is needed to support humanitarian coordination leaders in cross-sectoral humanitarian strategy development and risk management – through inclusive, rigorous and year-round processes that include preparedness, response and early recovery and transition considerations.

Over the next four years, in collaboration with its partners, OCHA will aim to standardize a proven suite of services and tools to support humanitarian coordination and advocacy at the country and regional level. Partners will have a clearer understanding of what they can expect from OCHA before, during and after an emergency.

In 2010, OCHA will build on the achievements of the previous Strategic Framework regarding strengthened and more systematic support to RC/HCs and HCTs; inter-cluster coordination; strategic advocacy for humanitarian principles and protection; preparedness in humanitarian response; and information management. OCHA will also begin to lay the groundwork for the next four years, by mapping existing tools/services managed by OCHA and by prioritizing those most essential. The exercise will build on the November 2009 review of IASC products and (expected) February 2010 review of OCHA Emergency Services Branch tools/ services. It will also include improving the menu of OCHA reporting and information tools (previously mapped in 2009) used by all OCHA ROs/COs and Humanitarian Support Units (HSUs).

In 2010, particular attention will be given to consolidating improvements that are already underway. This includes defining and beginning to roll out the Policy Instruction on the OCHA role in response preparedness (see Objective 1.3). This will enable COs/ROs to focus attention already in 2010 on a more defined set of minimum preparedness activities. Related to this is an important sub-set of activities to ensure more inclusive, rigorous, and evidence-based common planning, resource allocation, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting on results (see Objective 2.4).

OCHA will prioritize its efforts to establish systematic monitoring and reporting on access constraints, and develop and implement access strategies at the country level.

Finally, OCHA will define its role in ensuring effective security management within the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) to promote the development of clear security frameworks to support humanitarian programme design and implementation. OCHA will continue to promote the Department for Safety and Security (DSS) and IASC “Saving Lives Together” initiative (first rolled out in 2006) to further security management between the UN and NGO partners, and will assist in resource mobilization for security. OCHA will also further refine its own internal security management.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
An agreed suite of OCHA services and tools in different operational contexts: response preparedness, emergency response, and post crisis response during transition and humanitarian phase-down.
  • Suite of tools and services articulated, agreed and rolled out.
  • Standardised menu of reporting tools disseminated for use by all OCHA HQs, ROs, COs and HSUs.
Enhanced package of emergency preparedness services and support to country teams in countries of highest risk of crisis and countries emerging from crisis.
  • An agreed package of preparedness activities rolled out (contingent on development of preparedness guidance, as per Objective 1.3).
An agreed analytical framework for context analysis to support a common situation awareness, inter-cluster coordination and overall strategic planning.
  • Analytical framework to ensure enhanced analysis of cross cutting issues including protection and risks and threats, and to support inter-cluster coordination agreed and guidance developed and disseminated for use in all ROs, COs and HSUs.
Existing tools and services honed and fully implemented by country offices.
  • 100% of COs with contingency plans.
  • 100% of COs with dedicated capacity for inter-cluster coordination.
  • 100% of reporting products follow standard templates and information sharing platforms.
Systematic access monitoring and reporting, supported by a database established as an OCHA standard.
  • Fully operational access monitoring database used by at least seven OCHA COs in situations of armed conflict.
Guidance on OCHA role in promoting and ensuring security management.
  • OCHA role in promoting and ensuring security management agreed by Q3.

The Humanitarian Information Products Working Group: Helping to Ensure System-Wide Agreed and Reliable Information

In response to the challenge of managing OCHA public information products as a coordinated portfolio, the Humanitarian Information Products Working Group was established to consolidate information collection, improve internal processes for managing collected information, and present the final products as a unified portfolio.

Drawing on the guidelines set forth in the Information Management Review, feedback from partner organizations, and general principles of information quality, the Group has outlined the following principles OCHA should pursue in the management of a coordinated portfolio of information products.

Information Collection

Internal Process

Product Portfolio

Objective 2.4: A more systematic coordination of the common humanitarian programme cycle (preparedness, needs assessment and analysis, joint planning, resource allocation, monitoring and evaluation)

At the country level, OCHA is responsible for supporting HCs and cluster coordinators in several aspects of the common humanitarian programme cycle. Each tool relies on others: joint planning without needs assessment would be unreliable; resource allocation without good joint planning will miss priority needs; monitoring and evaluation reinforces donor confidence and provides lessons learned for future planning; and so forth.

A more robust, better coordinated inter-agency approach to the common humanitarian programme cycle is especially important in the current climate of increasing beneficiary caseloads and tightening humanitarian aid budgets. Donors examine aid efficiency and effectiveness increasingly in funding decisions. This translates to increased scrutiny of performance against assessed needs; renewed focus on accountability measures and reduced transaction costs; and a growing demand for coordinated assessment, evaluation and more credible reporting on results achieved. Tighter humanitarian budgets also require the best possible targeting and use of resources.

Within OCHA, responsibility for the various components of the programme cycle is dispersed across the organization. To provide stronger and more coherent support to country operations, the OCHA HQ sections working on needs assessment, planning, resource mobilization, humanitarian pooled funds, monitoring and evaluation need to be better aligned.

In 2010, externally, OCHA will initiate discussions with partners for a stronger and more integrated approach to all aspects of the common humanitarian programme cycle, with particular attention to assessment, monitoring and evaluation. Emphasis will be put on better coordination of these aspects through clusters at the country level.

The IASC and donors have agreed to develop a set of information tools that correspond to the requirements of the humanitarian programme cycle. Agreed operational guidance on intra- and inter-cluster/sector needs assessment coordination will first be piloted in five countries. Progressively adapted prototypes of the Humanitarian Dashboard should evolve throughout 2010 based on field testing.

Improved tools will be developed to support RC/HC allocation of humanitarian pooled funds. Reporting on the use and added value of CERF funds will be enhanced through the introduction of the CERF’s Performance and Accountability Framework. Country-based pooled funds will increasingly be implemented according to commonly agreed guidelines and established best practices to increase effectiveness and accountability. Projects that support gender equity will be marked and tracked through a new tool to be piloted in 2010, and OCHA will aim to ensure that new tools rolled out in 2010 facilitate the disaggregation of data by gender and age.

In 2010, internally, OCHA will develop the appropriate policies and mechanisms to draw respective HQ units and COs together around a concerted effort to improve the common humanitarian programme cycle, particularly needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation.

These improvements will also contribute to ensuring that pooled funds managed by OCHA are efficiently and transparently disbursed – according to accurate evidence of need. Regarding CERF, in addition to the introduction of the Performance and Accountability Framework, guidance and training packages linked to other aspects of the programme cycle will be further developed. OCHA will also endeavor to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of pooled funds through the newly created IASC WG Humanitarian Financing Group.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Field use in selected countries of cross-sector needs assessment and a standardized tool and framework for consolidating needs assessment and other core humanitarian information for decision-makers (“Humanitarian Dashboard”).
  • Operational guidance on leading and coordinating needs assessment finalized and field tested in 5 countries (including primary and secondary indicator portfolios per cluster/sector).
  • Prototype Humanitarian Dashboard field tested in 4-6 humanitarian emergencies.
An enhanced framework to assist the RC/HC and humanitarian partners better prioritize humanitarian activities within and outside CAPs, in support of decision-making for OCHA-managed funds and other funding channels.
  • In partnership with respective RC/HCs and IASC organizations, an enhanced prioritization tool piloted in at least two countries.
OCHA supporting a system-wide approach to monitoring and evaluation linked to the programme cycle.
  • Undertake review of best practices related to monitoring and evaluation of common humanitarian planning instruments (e.g. CAP and CAP-like processes).
  • Develop a prototype for a new M&E model for common humanitarian planning instruments based on identified best practice.
  • Organize a pilot testing of the new model in two countries with a common humanitarian planning instrument for presentation to the IASC and for potential future replication and adaptation elsewhere during 2011.
Gender marker tool used in humanitarian crises with a CAP..
  • In consultation with respective RC/HCs and IASC organizations, gender tracking tool piloted and reviewed in at least three humanitarian crises with a CAP.
  • Data on gender marker for humanitarian pooled fund allocations tracked for three pilot countries.
Standard guidance related to the establishment and management of CHFs and ERFs established and applied systematically.
  • Guidance approved by Q1. 100% OCHA compliance with ERF guidance by end of the year.
Accountability measures for the CERF further strengthened.
  • Performance and Accountability Framework (PAF) introduced by the end of Q1. Implementation of PAF reviewed and action taken to define/establish any additional measures to ensure due diligence over CERF resources by the end of the year.

Goal 3: Strengthened OCHA Management and Administration

OCHA has grown rapidly, given increased needs in the field and greater responsibility at HQ. To support effective humanitarian coordination, the OCHA human resources system should more rapidly recruit, deploy and maintain qualified and diverse staff, and establish improved career development support. OCHA must strengthen internal and external surge coordination, ensuring a continuous and appropriate presence. It must seek to improve performance through managing for results, enhanced accountability and organizational learning that feeds back into the programme cycle.

OCHA is conducting an external review of selected management and administrative functions, focusing on roles and responsibilities; reporting lines and division of labor; management and delivery of administrative services; and measurement of performance and results, particularly in the areas of finance and human resources. The conclusion of the review in early 2010 will give OCHA a range of actionable recommendations to enhance administrative support and overall efficiency. In line with its commitment to strengthen its administration and management – and more effectively deliver on its new Strategic Framework priorities – OCHA will begin to implement agreed actions in the first half of 2010.

Objective 3.1: Effective, timely, transparent and accurate financial, budgetary and resource management and reporting

During the past few years, OCHA focused on exercising greater budgetary prudence and enhancing fiscal discipline. OCHA will continue its work to promote a financial management culture of increased accountability. OCHA will strengthen its processes and systems at HQ and in the field, to better support and facilitate informed decision-making and reporting. OCHA will also aim to present its extrabudgetary financial requirements earlier and improve linkages between performance planning and budgeting.

In 2010, OCHA will design and generate reliable standard financial reports, available to programme managers through an online portal. Data across HQ will be consolidated in a single repository, enabling more timely reporting, analyses and forecasts for OCHA staff. The standardized costing developed in 2009 will be further advanced, and OCHA will contribute to the development of the UN Enterprise Resource Planning project (Umoja).

More accountable and timely field support is likely to develop from the agreement on a field financial system, and greater devolution of administrative responsibilities to the field. With inputs from internal end users, OCHA will conduct an assessment of financial service requirements.

OCHA will put in place a more timely and robust supply and procurement mechanism. It will be linked to UN compliant inventory control and asset management, and focused on optimizing physical assets to improve performance and reduce security risks and costs.

Further development of the resource mobilisation strategy will improve targeting of fundraising and cash-flow. To support this effort, OCHA will ensure adherence to policy guidance governing resource mobilization. Resource mobilization and financial management will be more closely linked through gradual integration of financial reporting and contributions tracking data. Systems showing actual projected income against expenditure will be developed. Finally, OCHA will implement a plan to address fund management issues, including enhanced resource allocation and management procedures.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Strategy devised to ensure Member States support OCHA in meeting financial requirements for 2010.
  • Targeted resource mobilization strategy developed and approved by end Q1.
  • Funding increased (minimum $10 million more than in 2009).
Policy guidance on resource mobilization utilized by ROs and selected COs.
  • Policy Instruction on resource mobilisation approved and piloted by end Q2.
  • Strategies and guidance integrated into work plans of ROs/COs at Mid-Year Review.
Plan of action developed to strengthen resource allocation systems and procedures, for greater accountability, more coherent tracking of requirements, and more effective operations.
  • Action plan developed by end Q2..
Timely financial products provided to programme managers and client-oriented tools developed to assist OCHA staff in their financial responsibilities.
  • Agreed financial reporting products provided to programme managers on a monthly basis by Q2 2010; organization-wide financial tools agreed.
Action plan to address Regular Budget funding for OCHA, to ensure a more stable and predictable financial base.
  • Action plan developed and approved for biennium 2012-13 and beyond by end Q2.

Objective 3.2: Adequate and timely recruitment, deployment and retention of qualified and diverse staff

Deteriorating security conditions in some countries, rising competition for talent among humanitarian organizations, and limited opportunities for rotation and mobility have made it difficult to recruit staff to hardship duty stations. Nonetheless, the raised expectations among stakeholders have reinforced OCHA commitment to ensure adequate and timely recruitment, deployment and retention of qualified and diverse staff.

While the introduction of system-wide contract reform has severely complicated matters in the short-term, significant progress has been made through the Roster Management Programme for the field and the expediting of recruitment for HQ positions. There has also been steady improvement in workforce and succession planning activities and OCHA partnership with the UN Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). Subject to a competitive selection and review process by the Central Review Bodies, OCHA staff contracts are being simplified and standardized.

Over the next four years, efforts will enhance the understanding of programme manager roles, responsibilities and accountability in human resources processes. Current levels of delegated authority for human resources functions will be reviewed in consultation with OHRM for appropriate autonomy and expedited administrative processes. There will be continued emphasis on improving field staffing mechanisms – in particular by the adaptation of the new Pilot Roster Management Programme – through the new contractual framework and the evolving human resources policies of the UN Secretariat, including occupational networks and rosters and “mobility-for-promotion”. Projected staffing requirements, particularly in the field, will be matched to the supply of qualified and competent candidates. Enhanced workforce planning activities will attempt to better match staffing requirements with staff. Available vacancies and selections will be communicated on a regular basis, including a continuously updated compendium of HQ and field vacancies.

In 2010, OCHA will focus on enhancing internal and external surge coordination for seamless transition from surge to regular staff planning. While ROs will continue to provide the primary surge response capacity in new emergencies, OCHA will roll out two new surge mechanisms to complement the existing Emergency Response Roster (ERR) and Stand-By Partnerships Programme (SBPP). This will provide a “suite of surge solutions” to meet emergency staffing requirements, and better bridge gaps prior to the arrival of regular staff.

Two Roaming Emergency Surge Officers (RESO) will be newly recruited to stay on permanent surge duty. In addition, OCHA will establish an Associates Surge Pool (ASP) of internally pre-cleared consultants and independent contractors in a variety of disciplines. These contractors will be deployable at short notice to cover interim staffing gaps of three to six months in OCHA COs and Humanitarian Support Units.

OCHA will place renewed emphasis on human resources policy development. Mobility and rotation guidelines, which facilitate staff movement between duty stations of varying degrees of hardship, will be reviewed and supplemented. Minimum/maximum post incumbencies in duty stations will be given greater attention. OCHA will continue its efforts to develop strategies and initiatives for improved career/staff development.

Safety and security conditions, especially in critical duty stations, will continue to deter staff and complicate retention efforts. In addition, the streamlining of human resources policies and practices may adversely impact OCHA operations in the short-run, given the time necessary to fully implement the new talent management system, occupational networks and mobility schemes. Therefore vacancy rates are expected to increase during the early months of 2010, hopefully meeting established targets by year-end.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Improved integrated surge and staffing solutions for OCHA in the field.
  • Establishment of standing joint AO, CRD and SCS review entity for urgent staff situations; inter-active guidance material and related training sessions for field and CRD on integrated field surge.
Timely surge deployments through official surge mechanisms.
  • 80% of ERR and SBPP deployments within one week and one month respectively (in scenarios without force majeure hindrances such as severe visa issuance delays).
Timeliness and efficiency in field recruitment improved.
  • Field vacancy rate reduced to 15% by end of year.
Recruitment mechanisms re-established following contract reform.
  • 70% of field vacancies filled through the Roster Management Program.
Improved compliance with the Human Resources Action Plan (HRAP).
  • Budgetary vacancy rate for all posts below 15%; candidates selected within 100 days for field; 200 days at HQs; 40% female representation in all P and D staff; percentage of staff from un/under-represented Member States increased.

Objective 3.3: Improved organizational learning and development to achieve better results

 To ensure it delivers high quality service and support to its clients, OCHA aims to set clear and consistent expectations regarding the achievement of results by managers, their teams and individual staff members. OCHA will lay out and communicate its expected results through a better integrated planning, guidance, training and information system built on lessons learned and best practice. This system will provide a stronger basis for individual and team performance monitoring and accountability. As it strives to equip staff with clearer expectations on corporate policies and objectives, OCHA will also work to develop guidance on decision-making by middle management.

Over the past three years, OCHA internal “corporate strengthening” systems have matured. OCHA has developed a more structured approach to strategic planning and guidance across the organization. In particular, since 2008, OCHA has established clear guidance on a number of critical topics, from field operations to integration. At the same time, internal evaluations, after-action reviews and best practices have identified a number of recurrent recommendations crucial to improved performance.

The OCHA Strategic Framework 2010-2013 has in part been shaped by these and has identified priority areas for improved organizational development and learning in the coming years. As reflected in other parts of OCHA in 2010, the new Strategic Framework will require even greater demand for new guidance to address the evolving context of humanitarian action and coordination.

In 2010, OCHA will aim to reach organization-wide clarity on core areas of knowledge and essential skills that OCHA staff need. As a first step, OCHA will develop a strategy for how learning needs will be prioritized in both HQ and the field. OCHA will draw upon the organizational learning practices of other agencies and departments to design a mechanism linking the results of evaluations and after- action reviews to planning and guidance. Such a system should allow OCHA to identify areas of work that require additional training – and to adjust priorities, as necessary. OCHA will also ensure that internal learning priorities are better linked to its external training.

OCHA will begin benchmarking the necessary knowledge and competencies for each occupational group at each level. Once these key elements are established, OCHA will review and revise the training programmes it manages and supports – including the staff induction programme, the Handbook, which is underway, and the Humanitarian Field Coordination Programme.

While past evaluations have already informed the current OCHA learning needs, the organization has recognized the need for a more systematic approach to internal evaluation. OCHA will finalize its evaluation policy, which covers both the external and internal evaluation function, as well as a multi-year plan of evaluations linked to the new Strategic Framework. The evaluation plan, which will be finalized in late 2009, and will begin to be implemented in 2010, will identify two to three areas from the Strategic Framework to be evaluated each year.

Accepted recommendations from these evaluations will be integrated into the organizational development and learning system. Furthermore, performance monitoring and reporting will be strengthened through the introduction of performance review meetings and workshops. Monitoring will also be introduced for the Strategic Framework as a whole.

OCHAnet, the intranet portal, will be used as a vehicle to assist the organizational development and learning system. Through OCHAnet, substantive information, such as policy and results of evaluations will be disseminated, and cost-effective, on-line training provided. In the coming years, OCHA will also start making use of a specialized system to track learning activities of staff in a comprehensive way.

Strengthened Internal Evaluation in OCHA

In early 2010, OCHA will develop a new evaluation policy and strategy aligned to the new OCHA Strategic Framework. The policy expands and strengthens OCHA internal evaluation function. It aims to make independent evaluation a routine practice within OCHA as part of a broader effort to strengthen OCHA overall performance management framework. Internally, OCHA will undertake during 2010 evaluations of its gender equality policy as well as a thematic evaluation of the role of OCHA in strengthening the HC system. In addition, OCHA will begin to examine more systematically its performance in select countries and regions through the application of country-level evaluation processes. Evaluation findings that are accepted by the SMT will be systematically integrated into work planning and performance frameworks, and internal OCHA guidance, as needed. OCHA Annual Reports will provide an appropriate vehicle for reporting on lessons learned arising from evaluations. Evaluation reports will be widely disseminated while improved procedures for the systematic application and monitoring of lessons learned will also be put in place.

Key outputs and indicators
Outputs Indicators
Mechanisms developed for identifying and prioritizing core areas of knowledge and essential skills OCHA needs its staff to have and use in an effective, consistent manner.
  • 2010-2011 learning needs identified by end of Q2.
  • Evaluation framework including priority areas for evaluation endorsed by end of Q2.
  • OCHA internal training programmes reviewed to reflect learning strategy.
Key gender issues and findings integrated into OCHA planning.
  • Accepted recommendations from Internal Evaluation on Gender Equity integrated into work planning by Q3.
More systematic processes for After Action Reviews (AARs) and evaluations so that planning, guidance and training reflect OCHA best practice.
  • Templates, roles and responsibilities and clear guidance on undertaking evaluations, and AARs developed and rolled out.
Improved and timely cross-branch monitoring.
  • 100% of strategic objectives reviewed jointly in Mid-Year Review, including recommended actions for addressing under-performance.