Displaying items by tag: UN

The Ebola crisis marked a coming of age for the use of mobile technologies in the humanitarian sector, with food security assessments leading the way. Movement restrictions and quarantines, in addition to fear of contracting the disease, made implementation of traditional face-to-face food security assessments in Ebola-affected communities extremely difficult. The rapid spread of Ebola and concerns as to how the outbreak could negatively influence market access and food availability also created a need for regular updates on food security. To overcome these challenges, the World Food Programme (WFP) deployed a fully automated, mobile-phone based remote food security monitoring system…
As of the 31st of March 2015, 418 out of 815 infected health care workers1 had died from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to a recent WHO report. 217 recovered and the fate of the remaining 181 is unknown. These figures alone attest to the heavy price paid by medical staff responding to the crisis. In addition to the high risk of contamination, healthcare workers have regularly faced rejection by the communities they sought to help, which has sometimes led to direct violence, as well as stigma and social ostracism. Risk of contamination According to the…
In this blog series, key humanitarian thinkers offer their words of wisdom to Stephen O’Brien, as he prepares to step into his new role as the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator on 1 June 2015. In the second instalment, Joel R. Charny, InterAction’s vice president for humanitarian policy and practice, outlines five key reforms Mr. O'Brien should consider. You can read the first blog by Christina Bennett here. The position of Under-Secretary-General is one of the most powerful and coveted appointments in the entire UN system--a job to which many aspire, but few ever receive. On June 1st Stephen O’Brien, a…
In this blog series, key humanitarian thinkers offer their words of wisdom to Stephen O'Brien, as he prepares to step into his new role as the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator on 1 June 2015. In the first instalment, Christina Bennett, Research Fellow with ODI's Humanitarian Policy Group, outlines five things Mr O'Brien should keep in mind as he begins to tackle a daunting set of challenges.Read the second blog by Joel R. Charny here. On 1 June, Stephen O’Brien takes up his new job as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. This is arguably the most influential role…
The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General to set a vision, recommendations, and commitments on how to more effectively and inclusively, meet the humanitarian challenges of the future. Regional consultations so far have highlighted the urgent need for an 'urban track' towards the World Humanitarian Summit and beyond (ex. Habitat III, etc.). Using inputs from the regional WHS consultations and the reflections of an ‘Urban Expert Group’, a set of recommendations is being drafted which will be finalized at a meeting bringing together mayors, city operators, UN, INGOs, private sector, donors and urban experts in…
Since 2009 there has been a growing interest in defining and operationalising innovation for use in the humanitarian context. The increase in scale of new crises, the urbanisation of many displaced populations, and stretched financing for humanitarian assistance are forcing international aid agencies to think and act in new ways. Along with other international humanitarian actors, several United Nations (UN) bodies are engaging with new tools and practices to bring innovation to the forefront of their work. Within these agencies, there has been a growing movement to establish ‘innovation spaces’ or ‘innovation labs’. These labs take different forms – some…
Bring your lunch and join Amy Rhoades (IOM's Humanitarian Communications Programme Manager) and Sarah Mace (previously OCHA's Iraq Communication with Communities Coordinator), to discuss learning from setting up Iraq's first inter-agency two way communications centre for displaced communities. For the first time, a national toll-free hotline for populations affected by the recent displacements in Iraq is being implemented as an inter-agency initiative, involving IOM, NRC, UNHCR, UNOPS, WFP, and World Vision. The hotline provides information about humanitarian aid such as food distribution points, medical services, and shelter. Using Community Response Map, an online feedback platform, the call centre also registers…
In late December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly passed what may become a landmark resolution calling for concerted and specific actions by States to protect health workers from violence and to assure patients access to health care in situations of conflict or insecurity. Although the General Assembly had previously addressed the need for protection on humanitarian aid workers, it had never before called for specific actions to protect the human right to health in all situations of conflict and violence. The resolution, grounded in both international human rights law and international humanitarian law, was sponsored by Norway and other…
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on 8 November 2013, cementing the position of the Philippines as one of the countries most at risk from natural hazards. Within days of the disaster the Emergency Relief Coordinator formally activated a system-wide level 3 (L3) response – a designation marking the highest level of humanitarian crisis. In responding to the needs of 14 million affected people, the Haiyan response became the first large-scale relief effort for a sudden-onset disaster since the Inter-Agency Standing Committee protocols under the Transformative Agenda were adopted, setting the parameters for improved collective action in humanitarian emergencies. Scaling up Accompanying…
It has been five years since the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. To mark the anniversary, this blog series seeks to look at the disaster, the response, and the current state of humanitarian need in Haiti to date. In the first blog, former UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes reflects on the response and asks if, given what we know now, would the humanitarian sector make the same mistakes again? My experience as Emergency Relief Coordinator during the first few months of the response to the Haiti earthquake remains vividly in my memory as one of the two or…
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