Over the last year, Yemen has experienced a deteriorating crisis that is likely to extend into 2012. Against a background of ongoing conflict, economic crisis, a loss of Government control and the breakdown of essential services, the population faces chronic and alarming poverty. The problems extend beyond Yemenis directly affected by conflict or displacement; there are also millions of people facing acute humanitarian needs, especially the most vulnerable categories, such as women and children.
The need for assistance is increasing, especially in protection, food and nutrition, health care, sanitation and clean water. With a rising caseload of 4 million vulnerable people, funding requirements have increased significantly. The Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) 2012 seeks $447 million, an increase of 95 per cent compared with the YHRP 2011.
Despite signs of a political breakthrough, notably the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement in November 2011, the security situation is increasingly unpredictable. This is hampering an effective and robust humanitarian response. Humanitarian needs are forecast to become significantly more serious in the next 12 months.
OCHA Yemen faces significant operational challenges due to the volatile security environment. This was made clear by the kidnapping of six staff in January 2012. A security ceiling was established for international staff, which greatly reduced the in-country international staff presence. This has affected the output and pace of delivery, aggravating access constraints in key humanitarian hotspots. Other constraints include difficulties in filling fixed-term posts. Inter-cluster analysis has been constrained due to the need to strengthen information management and coordination for key clusters.
Despite a highly complex humanitarian context, OCHA registered significant achievements in 2011. It is providing strategic leadership to the clusters, helping a more coherent sectoral needs-assessment framework. This also leads to stronger, more targeted strategic objectives for the YHRP 2012, targeting the needs of the most vulnerable people and creating strong links between humanitarian and early recovery planning tools and programmes. Clusters are engaged in gap analysis and supporting ongoing operational and strategic decision-making.
OCHA continues to support preparedness and contingency planning, monitoring the overall humanitarian situation and the humanitarian response. A country-wide strategy is being developed to ensure a more coordinated, evidence-based approach to assessment to help inform decision makers.
To strengthen preparedness, OCHA has developed three response, preparedness and contingency plans for the north, south and whole of Yemen. A monitoring system has also been launched to capture results at output and outcome level. It is linked to the strategic objectives of the CAP 2012.
Regarding improved information management, the introduction of IMMAP Oasis, an online shared-database platform, provides risk and prioritization analysis for the clusters and the entire humanitarian operation. IMMAP officers will also support cluster information management needs.
Supported by OCHA, the HCT shifted focus from conflict-affected and displaced people in the north, to covering the emerging crisis in the south and the need for humanitarian assistance in other parts of the country. OCHA has strengthened its field-level coordination by recruiting and posting new staff in key field coordination hubs in the north, south and the capital.
OCHA helped agencies bridge important funding needs. Two rounds of the CERF rapid response fund provided about $15 million, and there was an increased ERF contribution from donors. A total of $6.5 million was received from Sweden, DFID, Australia, Ireland and Switzerland. Twenty-one projects were funded through the ERF for UN agencies, and local and international NGOs in different clusters. These funds have helped address humanitarian needs in targeted areas. This assistance has greatly improved OCHA’s profile and leverage working with agencies and clusters.
The CAP benefited from OCHA-led analysis of the changing humanitarian context and the type of additional resources now required. The YHRP 2011 received $179 million, which represents 62.5 per cent against 2011 requirements at the mid-year review. OCHA organized a media event in the UAE to encourage Arab Gulf-country donors to support an increased funding request for the YHRP 2012.