Displaying items by tag: Coordination

This article questions whether the humanitarian cluster system’s mechanisms for strategic thinking really allow plans to be adapted as situations change, with a particular focus on the Shelter Cluster during the Haiti earthquake response Using strategy documents, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service and minutes of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the Haiti Shelter Cluster (the coordination structure for shelter agencies), we ask whether different decisions could have been made in early 2010. The article seeks to determine whether more questions could have been asked about the assumptions underpinning the response; learn from…
Inter-Cluster Coordination (ICC) requires clusters to work together to identify and reduce gaps and duplication, establish joint priorities and address cross-cutting issues in order to improve humanitarian response.[1] Information sharing is a first step, but ICC groups can also establish joint assessments and indicators, align training opportunities, set priorities, make recommendations to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) and develop proposals for the Central Emergency Response Fund and other funding pools and engage in other activities. In a recent evaluation of global cluster performance, ICC was judged to be 'ineffective in most cases and there is little integration of cross-cutting issues'.[2] Coordination…
The world of science and technology has a lot to offer those affected by or responding to the risk of disasters. But producing and using knowledge about disaster risk is far from a straightforward process. At-risk people and communities, humanitarian and development agencies and those with formal scientific and technological training are all producers and users of disaster risk knowledge – but with different ideas about what is useful or important information. The challenge is in bringing together this wealth of local and scientific knowledge to enable communities to become more resilient in the face of disasters. One crucial way…
Twenty years ago in the first week of April, an ODI colleague and I were in Brussels to launch a new network for relief workers (what later became the Humanitarian Practice Network). It was there we learnt that ten Belgian paratroopers forming part of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force in Rwanda had been killed trying to protect the Rwandan Prime Minister. The Prime Minister had also been killed. This came just one day after the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi had both been killed when their aircraft crashed on its approach to Kigali. It later emerged that the plane…
Syria is a highly urbanised country, and the conflict there has had a particularly devastating impact on its cities and towns. Homs, Aleppo, Damascus and many smaller towns have served as battlegrounds for government and rebel offensives, with tragic humanitarian consequences for their inhabitants. The battles for these cities have caused the breakdown of entire urban systems, destroying homes and public services and distorting urban markets and economies. Urban demographics have changed significantly as millions of Syrians have abandoned their homes. People displaced from one city to another or from rural areas to urban environments are forced into close proximity;…
A political or military solution to stop the carnage in Syria seems as remote as ever. The war seems only to bring even worse depths of human suffering and diplomatic impotence. Syrian civilians are in a state, not just of terror, but of horror – hostages in a geopolitical, ideological and sectarian catastrophe. On the face of it, getting humanitarian assistance to the millions affected should be easier to deal with than the political and military mess. In the space of two years, a major relief operation within Syria has indeed come to life despite the extreme circumstances. But these…
In late 2012, Oxfam and WFP collaborated on a joint review, entitled, 'Engaging with Markets in Humanitarian Responses', which aimed to understand how humanitarian agencies are engaged in supporting markets. The review found that, beyond the basic consensus that agencies should 'do no harm' to markets, and use them where they are sufficiently functional, there was a range of perceptions regarding the extent to (which humanitarian organisations should and could support and strengthen markets to improve their functionality. There is no doubt that, for many international organisations, humanitarian interventions today are very different to those in the past. Now, working…
The South Sudan NGO Forum is widely recognised as playing a key role in humanitarian coordination in South Sudan. This article identifies key precedents, principles and modalities which may be useful in strengthening NGO coordination in other situations, while recognising that the unique context in South Sudan has shaped the evolution of the Forum. The South Sudan NGO Forum and Secretariat Although the history of the NGO Forum can be traced back to the early 1990s, when it was established to improve NGO representation within Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), the mechanism in place today has changed considerably with the addition…
In natural disasters and complex emergencies, access to high-quality, timely information is a critical precondition for effective aid delivery. Unfortunately, recent crises have exposed the shortcomings of the humanitarian community in rapidly gathering and effectively using information on the key needs and priorities of affected populations. Such shortcomings are largely due to the lack of dedicated interagency resources for the collection, analysis and dissemination of key information. As a result, post-emergency contexts are often characterised by significant gaps. The first gap concerns the emergency phase of a crisis, when the supply of data is insufficient to meet demand. As data…
In November 2011, fighting in Blue Nile State in Sudan led to the flight of some 25,000 refugees to Maban County, in Upper Nile State in South Sudan, where they were settled in two refugee camps, first at Doro and then, from December, at Jamam. More continued to arrive over the subsequent months. Six months later, in May 2012, a second wave of 35,000 refugees arrived, in very bad condition with some dying of dehydration from their journey. After an initial period in transit camps en route, most of this second wave was moved to Jamam camp; new camps were…
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