The Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) is an OCHA-managed country-based pooled funding mechanism which enables the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) to provide an emergency response and timely assistance to urgent or chronic humanitarian needs of people affected by natural disaster or conflict. Prior to 2015, the MHF was known as the Myanmar Emergency Response Fund (ERF). Up to 2013, the Fund was known as the Humanitarian Multi-Stakeholder Fund (HMSF).
Since 2007, the MHF has mobilized US$80 million from donors, providing life-saving assistance through 205 projects. Throughout 2020, the MHF has been activated in three occasions: in April, through a First Reserve Allocation of $3.8 million to respond to the COVID-19 situation (see below); in July, through a First Standard Allocation of $7.2 million to support coordinated humanitarian assistance and protection, covering displaced people and other vulnerable crisis-affected people across Myanmar; and in November, with a Second Standard Allocation of $5.2 million to scale up the response to the protracted humanitarian crisis in Chin, Rakhine, Kachin, Shan and Kayin states. This last allocation also included a specific envelope to support inter-agency efforts on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) through a joint program for awareness-raising and strengthening of community-based complaints mechanisms for PSEA within affected communities in Myanmar. As of 15 February 2021, no allocations have been activated yet for the current year.
Ten donors provided financial support to the MHF in 2020, with total contributions reaching $16.7 million, in addition to contributions from the Access to Health Fund, managed by UNOPS in Myanmar, and the UN Foundation, which compiled private donations from individuals. As of 15 February 2021, three donors have already committed $4 million, out of a target of $30.9 million for this year (15 per cent of the total HRP funding received in 2020).
Due to the new political context generated on 1 February 2021, which has caused a new political and human rights crisis in Myanmar, the MHF may extend the coverage of its activities to other groups of people who may be affected by current situation and in need of humanitarian assistance.
As of 17 February 2021, Myanmar has seen an exponential increase in the incident of the virus since September 2020, with 141,659 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 3,192 fatalities. The already fragile situation and access to health care services affects in a most serious degree those population groups affected by humanitarian crisis including displaced people, stateless people and other vulnerable people, namely in Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Rakhine and Shan states. This context makes urgent to allocate additional funding to immediately boost the response capacity to meet the needs of the people and avoid the deterioration of their situation, including the risk of loss of lives and livelihoods. In line with the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, officially launched on 25 March 2020, and the 2020 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan Addendum on COVID-19, the MHF has allocated US$3.8 million through a First Reserve Allocation, with the generous support of the Access to Health Fund which contributed with $1 million. This allocation, launched on 13 April 2020, aims to support a coordinated response to COVID-19 related actions for displaced people and other vulnerable crisis-affected people in Chin, Rakhine, Kachin, Shan and Kayin states. Ten projects have been selected for funding during this process.
In addition, the MHF is supporting funded partners with ongoing MHF grants to re-allocate funds for COVID-19 related actions, including procurement of personal protective equipment; referral support for suspected cases; provision of emergency WASH activities, i.e. increased water supply, installation of hand-washing stations and soap distribution in displacement sites and crisis-affected communities’ settlements; risk communication and community engagement on COVID-19; and emergency food distribution for newly displaced people arrived to sites in Kachin from temporary job locations. As of 30 November 2020, $358,000 have been already reprogrammed in this regard. In addition, about $0.5 million from standard allocations were supporting COVID-19 related activities across the funded projects. Considering the reprogramming of ongoing funding and the funding allocated through the reserve and stardards allocation, the MHF allocated $4.7 million to COVID-19 related activies in 2020.
On the other hand, $1.25 million has been also allocated from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to WHO and UNICEF. A complete overview can be consulted in the COVID-19 Allocation Dashboard (CBPF-CERF).
This situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic has required the MHF to respond with greater flexibility, through simplifications in the current funding arrangements, yet keeping accountability over the use of funds. After an analysis of the evolving situation and related challenges which the Fund is beginning to face, and following requests from partners, OCHA at HQ level has agreed to put in place some extraordinary measures that will allow all key stakeholders to continue providing life-saving assistance to those in need. Here the MHF Flexibility Guidance on the context of the COVID-19, including also a revised risk analsyis and mitigation matrix.
Feedback and Complaints
With main purpose to ensure transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) management, a dual system of feedback and complaints mechanism is established within the MHF performance framework. One part of this system addresses directly any concern or complaint made by the MHF partners. The other part focuses in any concern and complaint from MHF funded projects’ beneficiaries and other stakeholders involved in the implementation process.
MHF Partners: Insufficiently addressed concerns or complaints by partners regarding MHF processes or decisions can be submitted at any point in time to a dedicated email address: MHFComplaints@un.org. Communications can include also reports on fraud and malfeasance. Complaints will be compiled, reviewed and raised to the HC, who will then take a decision on necessary action(s). When relevant, the HC will share with the Advisory Board any concerns or complaints and actions taken thereof. Complaints will be compiled, reviewed and raised to the HC, who will then take a decision on necessary action(s). The HC will share with the Advisory Board any such concerns or complaints and actions taken thereof.
MHF Beneficiaries: In order to facilitate the communication of any concern or complaint by project beneficiaries or other stakeholders related to the MHF funded project implementation, partners are requested to disseminate and publish the OCHA Humanitarian Financing Unit’s contacts (MHF-Myanmar@un.org, +95 1230 5682 ext. 204) in a visible place in the locations designated to implement MHF funded interventions, taking into consideration conflict-sensitivity analysis and other protection concerns, if any. OCHA HFU will compile, reviewed and raised to the OCHA Head of Office and the concerned partner, who will agree on necessary action(s), as needed. The OCHA HFU will share with the Advisory Board any such concern or complains and actions taken thereof.