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Disaster response: How local and global actors come together to help crisis-affected people

07 Nov 2017
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Disaster response begins at the local level yet it is often carried out within the context of the global humanitarian system. Meaningful humanitarian action must bring local and global actors and systems together.

OCHA launches today Guide for Governments: International Humanitarian Action, a tool to help governments navigate between these two levels and the many linkages between them. OCHA’s mission and vision reflects the ambition that better coordination can help save more lives and bring urgently needed relief, faster and better:

What is the purpose of the Guide?

The Guide aims at promoting knowledge and understanding of the international humanitarian system in Latin America and the Caribbean to facilitate, when needed, the rapid mobilization of humanitarian assistance and help governments respond to the immediate needs of those affected by emergencies. This is not a prescriptive guide, but rather a resource that aims to support growing national disaster response capabilities across the region.

Why now?

The guide is a revised and updated reference document from the original 2011 publication. It is a starting point to enable humanitarian coordination at all levels. Crises are becoming more complex and require increased engagement between multiple actors, locally, regionally and globally.

Who is the guide for?

This guide is for all government employees working on emergency response and operational readiness, including but not limited to defense and civil protection. It also serves as a reference to civil society actors, international partners, intergovernmental organizations and disaster-affected people both nationally and regionally.

How to use this guide?

  • This guide has six main sections:
  • Humanitarian action and its normative framework
  • Coordination of humanitarian action
  • Technical expertise
  • Humanitarian financing
  • Humanitarian resources and tools
  • Operational readiness

The content in these sections are organized as file cards, answering frequently asked questions about the different tools presented. For additional information, web links and resources are provided for each section.

The tools and procedures identified in this guide are more effective in a previously agreed upon coordinated context. Each institution and its personnel are encouraged to reach out to partners through humanitarian networks or other humanitarian coordination platforms and to promote coordination in alliance with the United Nations system.