OCHA’s public and private advocacy raises awareness of forgotten crises, promotes respect for international humanitarian law (IHL), brings the voices of crisis-affected people to the forefront, and helps people obtain access to humanitarian assistance. OCHA uses its unique role and responsibilities when briefing the Security Council to bring attention to action to uphold IHL, facilitate humanitarian access and promote the protection of civilians.
As the organization tasked with coordinating international humanitarian response, our ultimate goal is to save more lives and reduce the impact of conflicts and natural disasters. Whether we’re mobilizing relief money after a massive earthquake, ensuring vulnerable communities are protected, or raising awareness of forgotten crises, it is our job to keep world attention focused on humanitarian issues.
To OCHA, advocacy means communicating the right messages to the right people at the right time. These people include humanitarian agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations, national governments, local and international media, parties to conflict, companies, donors, regional bodies, communities affected by emergencies and the general public. The aim is that they increase urgent funding or support, change their policies or keep to their commitments.
The most visible methods include media interviews with the Emergency Relief Coordinator, public speeches, press briefings, digital campaigns. Private advocacy – through quiet diplomacy with governments or negotiations with armed groups – is also a crucial element in bringing about change, securing access or building support. Regardless of the approach taken, OCHA always promotes the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality, and respect for international law. OCHA also supports field-based public advocacy, working with country teams to leverage and amplify their content so that it reaches broader audiences and inspires action.
As OCHA is judged on its response to crises, its promotion of and adherence to the principles of neutrality and impartiality, and the value of impact of the public funds it manages. OCHA’s public advocacy aims to support, complement and leverage private advocacy efforts, politically and operationally, aiming to gain support for humanitarian action and breakthroughs on the ground in crises. Based on the outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit, OCHA’s public advocacy efforts are framed by the priorities and commitments outlined in the Agenda for Humanity. In our advocacy for humanitarian financing, OCHA aims to highlight the real impact of strongly performing pooled funds, ensuring that communications activities are increasingly used to support resource mobilization for the annual humanitarian appeal, flash appeals and pledging conferences.