Madagascar is an island prone to natural disasters (floods, cyclones, drought, and locusts) and epidemic outbreaks (Rift Valley Fever). The political crisis which has been ongoing since early 2009, with no certainty of a settlement in the near future, has been challenging for the UN Country Team, which has struggled to address longer-term transitional and development programme issues. Most donor aid to Government is currently suspended, and public spending has dramatically decreased while unemployment and food insecurity, exacerbated by a severe drought in the south, have risen. Another concern is the disruption in the provision of basic social services, which has increased urban vulnerability. Suspension of donor funding for development and humanitarian projects also poses difficulties for agencies in securing funds for their regular programmes. The current political crisis has increased poverty levels by more than 9% between 2005 and 2010, constituting 77% of households, the highest rate in Africa (World Development Indicators, 2011).
Since 2007, OCHA ROSA has been supporting various activities in Madagascar, including:
- Recruiting a Senior Humanitarian and Early Recovery Officer and National Humanitarian Officer in 2007, and a Public Information and Advocacy Officer in 2008;
- Funding one national staff in the country’s disaster management institution to strengthen its information management system;
- Deploying, at the onset of the political crisis, its Regional Disaster Response Advisor and, subsequently, two Humanitarian Affairs Officers to support the UN Resident Coordinator/UN Country Team in coordinating the response to this new scenario;
- The development and subsequent annual revisions of the national contingency plan;
- The development of CERF Rapid Response projects (from 2007 to 2011) and Flash Appeals (2007 to 2009), as well as CERF Underfunded Emergencies Window projects (2010 and 2012).
- Led, in 2010, a regional Director’s Team mission to support the UN Resident Coordinator/UN Country Team in redefining their humanitarian response strategy based on the new political climate, and participated and facilitated a strategic workshop led by the UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) to support the UN Resident Coordinator/UN Country Team in identifying new programmatic approaches, including reformulating the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), based on the new political climate;
- The holding of a workshop to review coordination mechanisms as part of recommendations formulated during a strategic workshop on new programmatic approaches;
- The holding of a strategic workshop to identify a long-term strategy to address chronic drought in the Greater South. This led to the development of a funding request proposal to donors;
- Facilitating the annual national workshop in the revision of national CPs and simulations prior to the cyclone and flood season.
- Deploying a Humanitarian Affairs Officer prior to the landing of Cyclone Giovanna in February 2012 to support the UN Resident Coordinator.