Objective 2.3

Scaling up and drawing down operations

  • The previously piloted Access Monitoring and Reporting System was upgraded and rolled out in conflict countries. The improved system provided humanitarian leaders with better data and analysis for decision-making and advocacy, while also accumulating important information on access constraints.
  • The first UNDAC review since 2001 was completed. It focused on UNDAC’s expertise in search and rescue and needs assessment, looking at how this knowledge and experience could be better integrated into the overall humanitarian system.
  • The completion of the Global Product Catalogue now gives OCHA’s partners a clear and well-defined range of information products. Internal guidance has provided staff with clarification on the procedures for creating and clearing information products. Efforts have also been made to streamline agency reporting by introducing a single reporting form that can cover all information needs, eliminating multiple requests for similar information.
  • IRIN’s move towards greater analytical coverage, particularly on humanitarian policy and crisis impact, combined with greater syndication, has helped boost online traffic by 36 per cent.
  • ReliefWeb undertook a long-overdue overhaul of its website. In April 2011 it launched a new Web platform using the latest open-source technology. To cut costs and achieve greater operational efficiency, ReliefWeb implemented a new business model. This included relocating two of its three offices to less-expensive duty stations, outsourcing Web development and technical support to technology companies and making greater use of its contractors. These changes have improved ReliefWeb’s site performance and generated significant savings for investing in new innovation in 2012.

OCHA remains strongly engaged in developing a standard set of tools that can help the humanitarian community prepare for and respond to emerging and protracted crises.

OCHA’s role in the ever-changing humanitarian world has significantly expanded since the last UNDAC review in 2001. The 2011 UNDAC review addressed these changes, providing recommendations to the UNDAC governance system on the accountability framework of RC/HCs, the cluster coordination mechanism, the needs-assessment framework and increased partnerships with operational humanitarian partners. Guided by the review’s recommendations, OCHA began refining the UNDAC methodology to ensure consistency with agreed approaches in the humanitarian field. OCHA will ensure that relevant training programmes are updated.

In 2009, OCHA created a monitoring and reporting framework to better identify the constraints and underlying trends and patterns that can impede access to affected people in emergencies. In 2011, 12 OCHA country offices used this framework. This enabled them to collect data on access constraints, and compile enhanced reporting that led to better informed decision-making by the HCT. These reports have fed into operational planning, advocacy efforts and negotiations on access to affected communities. For example, the OCHA Access Unit in the occupied Palestinian territory has helped 125 international NGOs overcome access challenges relating to security checkpoints, visas and travel permits. In Pakistan, OCHA had better knowledge on possible constraints and could therefore work with the Government to issue visas on arrival for humanitarians responding to the 2010 floods.

In 2011, OCHA and CARE supported the Feinstein International Center to conduct a research study titled “Sex and Age Matter: Improving Humanitarian Response in Emergencies". The study showed there had been a serious deficiency in the humanitarian community’s collection and use of sex- and age-disaggregated data to inform its programming. From Haiti to Pakistan, case studies show that this type of data is crucial in minimizing the risks to the lives and livelihoods of different groups.

OCHA is now working to ensure that data on sex and age are fully considered when framing policy and issuing new products. For example, project template designs, target population projections for CAPs, CERFs and pooled funds, and single request formats and indicator registries all consider sex and age data, as does protocol development in needs-assessment methodologies.

OCHA’s Global Product Catalogue was produced in 2010, bringing a fast-expanding range of information products into one publication. Staff members have been briefed on the products available, how they have been developed and the clearance procedures required. By using easily accessible communications channels and improving the e-mail system, OCHA products should find a larger audience across the global humanitarian system and beyond.

In 2011, OCHA simplified and streamlined its information collection from the field during humanitarian crises, particularly from clusters. Several OCHA offices now use a single request form. This form will allow clusters to provide the essential information for all of OCHA’s main information products. Following internal consultation, a new and improved version of this form is being developed for 2012, further tightening OCHA’s information-gathering.

IRIN continued to deliver high-quality humanitarian news and analysis to an influential audience. In 2011, the service produced over 3,200 reports, along with photos and related video material in English, French and Arabic. A strategy to produce more in-depth coverage of humanitarian policy and crisis impact has helped boost growth in online traffic. Page views have risen by 36 per cent and there has been a 15 per cent increase in subscribers. New syndications, including a partnership with the UK’s Guardian Development Network, have boosted online traffic.

ReliefWeb launched its new platform in April 2011. It also introduced a new business model that provides a better all-round service and cut costs to release funds for future investment. This involved outsourcing web development and support to technology firms and contracting-in expertise for content management and other services. ReliefWeb also relocated two of its three offices to less expensive duty stations, from Geneva and Kobe to Nairobi and Bangkok. The approach has led to improved performance, a flexible editorial team and the ability to invest in new innovative tools and services in 2012. With over 9.3 million visits and 50 million page views, the service was heavily used in 2011. 

Performance Framework 2011
OUTPUT Greater clarity on: a) existing tools and services currently deployed in country offices and humanitarian support units; b) new tools and services that could be adopted; c) how these relate to agreed country-level priorities for OCHA.

All OCHA tools and services mapped out and prioritized in advance of 2012 planning.


A first draft of OCHA services and tools was produced in July 2011 and presented at the Global Management Retreat. Following discussions with senior staff, it was determined that parallel initiatives were underway, namely CRD-led efforts to better define regional and country office roles and responsibilities; development of performance indicators for regional and country offices; and circulation of the latest edition of the RC Handbook, which lists tools available for RC/HCs.

OUTPUT Access monitoring and reporting established as an OCHA service, including corresponding IM system and tools, yielding actionable policy and practical recommendations.

At least five country offices producing regular reports on access trends and their humanitarian consequences.


OCHA's Access Monitoring and Reporting Framework was rolled out across 15 country offices. In 2011, 12 country offices were systematically collecting data on access constraints and producing country-specific access reports and/or maps.

OUTPUT Distribution systems for all field and global information products clarified and refined.

Options for effective distribution systems reviewed, governance of distribution defined and technical solution implemented by end 2011.


Options for effective distribution systems have been reviewed. MailChimp will be procured and tested by mid-2012.

OUTPUT Launch of upgraded ReliefWeb platform.

New platform launched in January 2011.


ReliefWeb site launched on 12 April with latest open-source technology (Drupal 7). It took a further six months of Web development before site was ready for further expansion. Ongoing site enhancements made. Planning and preparations for Phase II underway (strategy, organization and procurement).


Increase in Web traffic, subscription levels and positive client feedback.


New monitoring indicates that over 65 per cent of user visits are for reporting content (as opposed to jobs or training). People spend less time on the new site (-17 per cent) but access more content per visit (+16 per cent).

There is also a marked growth in African and Asian visits, and over twice as many visits from mobile devices as compared with 2010.