Objective 2.2

Scaling up and drawing down operations

  • OCHA rolled out comprehensive country office and regional office strategies to improve long-term planning.
  • The OCHA transition concept issued in a Policy Instruction in 2009 was applied in Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq, Nepal, Uganda and Libya. Drawing from these experiences, the PI will be updated in 2012.
  • OCHA developed an index of indicators to guide the transition decision.
  • OCHA agreed on a common typology for its different offices: regional offices (ROs), humanitarian advisory teams (HATs), country offices (COs) and liaison offices (Los).

OCHA developed a Policy Instruction on Transition in 2009, and has obtained considerable experience in how transition works in different contexts. It has analysed operational approaches, looked at issues such as capacity-building and attempted to improve its effectiveness during transition.

OCHA’s strategic planning process has focused strongly on the parameters guiding its work in transition settings. It has looked at identified gaps and actions required to ensure that transitional arrangements consider the existing humanitarian architecture in different countries, as well as OCHA’s structures.

Transition workshops have helped OCHA refine its approach. In 2010 and 2011, OCHA conducted several lessons learned exercises focusing on Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire and Nepal. The exercises highlighted key elements in securing a successful transition: clear communication, retreats (internal and external), early engagement with relevant stakeholders, quick decision-making and HC leadership, and ensuring that OCHA’s decisions and actions are integrated within the global humanitarian system and the UN’s strategic planning processes.

Additional recommendations included the use of planning indicators from the beginning of OCHA’s presence in a country as a reference point for an eventual withdrawal. OCHA is looking at how such indicators could be reflected in its annual planning processes. The indicators should also help OCHA assess its strategic imperatives and rationale for remaining in a country. A global index of relevant indicators has been identified, but it will be the responsibility of each country office to develop its core indicators, drawing on them to determine if and when a discussion on OCHA transition is merited.

OCHA has gained valuable lessons in handing over humanitarian coordination functions. Each country and each situation will be different. For example, when the Iraq Country Office closed, key OCHA functions were seconded to UNAMI. In Uganda, the office was completely closed, while in Nepal an HSU was established in the RC/HC joint office.

As OCHA seeks to improve its handling of transition, a CRD Transition Adviser will work with country offices and all relevant OCHA units, looking at practical actions to take and ensuring that transition is an important policy consideration during the life cycle of a country office.

OCHA developed a template and guidance for the associated Regional and Country Strategies during Q2 in 2011, which were field tested through regional meetings. Consequently, the strategies were incorporated into a standardized Performance Framework for the 2012-2013 planning period, and all field offices completed their first country strategy document.

In 2011, OCHA undertook a global review of its presence and coverage. As a result, OCHA will now deliver its mandate through country offices, regional offices and liaison offices. Any additional presences will be regarded as extensions of these offices. This exercise has also established clear criteria and principles for OCHA's presence and coverage of its engagement with all Member States.

These achievements will allow OCHA to effectively measure its field performance in line with the requirement for greater accountability outlined in the inter-agency Transformative Agenda. The initial benefits should be seen during 2012, most notably at the mid-year review period and at the end-of-cycle review, but also if there are dramatic developments at the country level that require a shift in strategy.

Performance Framework 2011
OUTPUT A pilot set of well-defined triggers for decision-making on phasing in, phasing out and scaling up field operations is defined.

Existing information, tools and methods for reviewing situations, discerning tipping points, and deploying resources reviewed and synthesized into a set of indicators by the end of Q1.


Regional and country strategies were developed and rolled out as part of the two-year planning cycle in the second half of 2011. A defined set of indicators to inform decision-making complemented the guidance for the strategy development. A revision of the strategies is envisaged for 2012 that will include a selection of the indicator index.

OUTPUT Multi-year strategies developed at the country level, in consultation with partners, outlining OCHA’s long-term engagement.

Standard Operating Procedures developed for OCHA Country Office strategies by Q2.


Templates and guidance for OCHA country and regional strategies have been completed, together with a methodology for how these should be developed. Transition variables will be integrated into the guidance that will inform the revision process.


At least 20 country office strategies completed and monitored by Q3.


The strategies were rolled out as part of the Performance Framework in Q3, and are incorporated into OCHA’s 2012-13 plans. All OCHA field offices provided an analysis of the current situation. OCHA’s operational planning for 2012 and 2013 was based on this analysis and its scenarios.