Objective 1.3

HIGHLIGHTS 

  • By the end of 2012, OCHA’s institutional preparedness was strengthened and all OCHA regional offices (ROs) had integrated the Minimum Preparedness Package (MPP) into their work. For the first time, ROs will report on 2012 activities against a new set of indicators related to the MPP. However, country offices (COs) still require systematic support in rolling out this approach, particularly in prolonged conflict situations. Preparedness work at country level has been consistent with the MPP goals.
     
  • At the inter-agency level, a major milestone was achieved with the integration of the new Emergency Response Preparedness approach as part of the Transformative Agenda protocols, thus instituting a broad methodology for systemic preparedness including Minimum Preparedness Actions, contingency planning and immediate response Standard Operating Procedures. The newly adopted IASC Common Framework for national capacity strengthening has given new impetus to linking preparedness efforts to longer-term development goals. The same is true for the resilience country pilot, jointly developed by OCHA and UNDP under the UK-led Political Champions Initiative.
     
  • Evaluations by OIOS and an independent team on OCHA’s role in preparedness have given mixed results. They commended OCHA on its innovative approaches in responding to increased preparedness demands, but pointed to important shortfalls in attaining objectives set by the Strategic Framework.

YEAR IN REVIEW

OCHA continued to support the humanitarian system in enhancing emergency preparedness, including for national and regional partners, while also pursuing institutional preparedness targets.

All OCHA regional offices have integrated the MPP into their preparedness work, and some started developing tracking systems that will be pursued to develop a global analysis and tracking system. For the first time, ROs reported on their preparedness activities in 2012 according to corporate MPP indicators.

By the end of the year, OCHA was implementing the MPP in 29 at-risk countries: two in Central Asia, four in East Africa, six in the Middle East and North Africa, four in Asia Pacific, seven in West and Central Africa and six in Latin America. Selection was based on risk, vulnerability and capacity using OCHA’s country-prioritization tool: the Global Focus Model. The support focused on training in assessment and analysis of humanitarian needs, development of strategic response plans and development of inclusive humanitarian coordination structures. This is to ensure that HCTs and Governments can deliver on key response outcomes. OCHA also facilitated drafting of contingency plans in at least 26 of the 29 countries to anticipate possible or emerging crises. This was the case in Kenya ahead of the March 2013 elections, where OCHA supported national authorities with the humanitarian pillar of the contingency plan. In the Middle East, OCHA took a regional approach to support contingency planning for Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt/Gaza and Tunisia. It also partnered with the regional group of agencies to train trainers on contingency planning and simulation to build capacity, with a view to providing support where needed.

To ensure that adequate support is provided to meet preparedness requirements in different contexts, OCHA improved its overall understanding of the state of response preparedness globally. To support this, OCHA analysed the state of readiness in 70 countries. The mapping assisted OCHA and inter-agency partners in prioritizing and designing support programmes that respond to the field realities, and to ensure that guidance and support tools are targeted at meeting preparedness needs. OCHA will continue and improve on this process in 2013.

Through a survey of its COs in mid-2012, OCHA gained further understanding of the complexity of achieving preparedness objectives in crisis situations where the focus is on response. During the year, OCHA headquarters entities provided specific support to the implementation of the MPP approach through field visits and advisory services to its COs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. OCHA also focused on strengthening regional organizations’ disaster preparedness capacity. Most of this work is delivered by OCHA at regional and country level, but headquarters’ support is provided in specialized areas such as environmental emergencies. This was seen in the joint initiative between OCHA and ASEAN to organize a regional workshop on environmental emergencies, which brought together ASEAN environment and disaster management managers to discuss priority risks and needs. The outcome included a two-year workplan to strengthen national/regional capacities in environmental emergency response.

In the past year, OCHA examined how far it has come in relation to pursuing its Strategic Framework preparedness objectives. In this context, other external evaluations took place: an OCHA-commissioned independent preparedness evaluation, the OIOS five-year retrospective of OCHA and reviews of the work of its ROs. UNDP commissioned a review of the OCHA/ISDR/UNDP CADRI partnership. Some of these evaluations have yet to be finalized, but they have allowed the organization to take stock of achievements while also recognizing constraints and gaps.

In December 2012, a preparedness workshop examined preliminary findings of these studies, particularly the OCHA-commissioned preparedness evaluation. The study commended OCHA on its innovative approaches in responding to preparedness demands, particularly at regional and country levels. However, it pointed to significant shortfalls in attaining the objectives initially set by the Strategic Framework. Against this background, an OCHA internal task force on preparedness has been requested to make policy, structural and functional recommendations to the Senior Management Team (SMT) by the end of February 2013 on the basis of re-mapping OCHA’s role in preparedness.

In the IASC, the pursuit of the Transformative Agenda has given new impetus to the role of preparedness in the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). OCHA engaged with its agency partners in defining requirements of an effective response, such as the concept of empowered leadership, procedures for system-wide emergency activation, rapid response and accountability, all of which are essential ingredients of emergency readiness. OCHA facilitated an IASC midyear Level 3 simulation exercise, and inter-agency missions to South Sudan and Chad tested progress and gaps in operationalizing the HPC. In June 2013, OCHA established the new Programme Support Branch (PSB) to bring under one roof OCHA headquarters’ contribution to strengthening the HPC. PSB helped achieve a major milestone at the end of the year with the integration of the new IASC Emergency Response Preparedness concept as part of the TA protocols. The traditional IASC Contingency Planning Guidelines are part of a wider process, starting with preparedness according to Minimum Preparedness Actions, contingency planning and immediate response planning. The new OCHA policy on emergency response as a result of the TA will help clarify OCHA’s role in preparedness.

In December, the IASC Principals endorsed the common framework to support national preparedness capacity-building, which had been the IASC SWG’s focus since 2011. This included OCHA-supported country pilot exercises in the Philippines and Haiti in 2012.

OCHA linked its mandate to longer-term goals through its participation in the Political Champions for Resilience initiative led by the UK Government. OCHA defined its resilience-related role as being focused on emergency preparedness, early humanitarian action and transition towards recovery. OCHA and development actors also created a country pilot initiative under the joint lead of UNDP and OCHA. Its regional offices have developed strong collaboration with regional and inter-governmental organizations in preparedness. This endeavour has become an essential complement to the country-level preparedness work done by ROs and COs. Preparedness efforts across OCHA, at inter-agency level and among Member States, are progressing in anticipation of wider developments, as reflected by ongoing consultations around the post-Hyogo Framework.

In parallel, OCHA engaged with donors in preparedness initiatives launched by the Good Humanitarian Donorship Group and the German ODSG chairmanship, contributing to donors’ reinforced awareness of requirements and gaps in supporting emergency preparedness.

Progress against Performance Framework
RESULT 1 Governments and Humanitarian Country Teams better prepared to respond to new emergencies and make appropriate use of international response mechanisms.
INDICATORS
1. OCHA delivers a Minimum Preparedness Package at country and regional level.
BASELINE

The OCHA Minimum Preparedness Package (MPP) was agreed among all OCHA ROs and a number of COs at the Emergency Preparedness Forum. This was organized by OCHA’s Emergency Preparedness Section (EPS) in the Emergency Services Branch (ESB) in Geneva in September 2011. The MPP will focus OCHA’s preparedness support on activities that are consistent with its mandate and competence. The MPP is being integrated into the OCHA ROs, but more needs to be done to help OCHA COs interpret the MPP, particularly in situations of prolonged crisis where the emphasis is on response. EPS/ESB will coordinate the development and roll-out of MPPs. This will require OCHA’s Policy Instruction on Preparedness to be updated. Implementation will require a whole-of-OCHA approach, and further work is needed to clarify the support roles and functions of various headquarters’ units. The MPPs will be presented for SMT approval and subsequent internal and external dissemination. MPPs will start being rolled out in Q1 2012. They will guide the planning and implementation of OCHA preparedness activities. 

TARGET 2012

a) OCHA ROs meet region-specific targets for delivering the MPP (see RO Performance Frameworks for each office).

 

b) OCHA COs integrate the MPP as part of their preparedness-support planning by Q2 2012. 

PROGRESS REPORT 2012

a) OCHA implemented the MPP in 29 at-risk countries. They were selected based on risk, vulnerability and capacity using OCHA’s country-prioritization tool: the Global Focus Model. 

 

b) OCHA facilitated drafting of contingency plans in at least 26 of the 29 countries. Further MPP support focused on training in assessment and analysis of humanitarian needs, development of strategic response plans and development of inclusive humanitarian coordination structures to ensure that HCTs and Governments can deliver key response outcomes. Some OCHA ROs integrated the MPP into their preparedness work at the beginning of 2012 (ROAP, ROLAC). Others progressively adopted/adapted the framework during the year. ROAP and ROMENA have created monitoring databases to track the implementation of the MPP in focus countries. This practice may be replicated in other regions in the future. 

 

c) An SPU midyear survey of progress against the OCHA Strategic Framework objectives showed that OCHA COs’ preparedness work was consistent with the MPP. However, outreach and training are required to introduce the MPP systematically at country level. In particular, survey results reflected the complexity of achieving preparedness objectives for OCHA offices in situations such as DRC, Somalia and Syria. There was a high demand for support in ensuring Governments provide en enabling environment for response, and to develop a public information/crisis communication strategy.

 

d) Based on this survey and the midyear review of OCHA ROs’ preparedness activities, EPS developed an emergency readiness analysis that gives an overview of the state of readiness of HCTs in 70 countries. This aims to facilitate priority-setting for preparedness and overall HPC support. 

 

e) In 2012, OCHA promoted the roll-out and dissemination of the MPP to ROs and COs through field missions and trainings (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Senegal, Rwanda, Jordan, Comoros, Kosovo and Tunisia), along with presentations at headquarters in New York and Geneva. This overall support function will continue in 2013, but focus is needed on COs in prolonged crisis situations where the emphasis is on response. An MPP online platform with an accompanying toolkit is planned to support implementation.

TARGET 2013

a) OCHA ROs meet region-specific targets for delivering the MPP (see RO Performance Frameworks for each office).

 

b) OCHA COs meet country-specific targets for delivering the MPP (see CO Performance Frameworks for each office).

2. National Governments, civil society and regional bodies are better able to access and utilize international humanitarian response services and tools before, during and after crises.
BASELINE

A key element in the IASC Principals transformative actions for 2011-2012 has been securing the involvement of national authorities and civil society in international humanitarian response systems, particularly in crisis situations. OCHA ROs and COs are encouraging Member States, civil-society actors and regional organizations to use international humanitarian response services and tools.

TARGET 2012

a) OCHA ROs meet region-specific targets for delivering training and orientation to national Governments, civil society and regional bodies on international tools and services in preparedness/response (see RO Performance Frameworks for each office).

 

b) OCHA COs integrate training and orientation to national Governments and civil society on international tools and services in preparedness/response as part of their preparedness support planning by Q2 2012.

PROGRESS REPORT 2012

a) OCHA ROs’ efforts have continued throughout the year to ensure an enabling environment for humanitarian response by involving Governments and regional organizations in humanitarian preparedness/contingency planning. In West Africa, OCHA supported such activities in support of the ECOWAS EW Directorate. In November, OCHA conducted a regional environmental emergencies training in Abuja, Nigeria, with participants from five ECOWAS Member States (Nigeria, Gambia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal). 

 

b) OCHA has also strengthened regional organizations’ disaster preparedness capacity. As a result of regional consultations in Libreville (Gabon) in April, ECCAS adopted a Regional Disaster Prevention and Management Strategy and its Framework for Action in Central Africa, along with the Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Action Plan 2012-2017, through regional consultations supported by OCHA in Libreville (Gabon). In collaboration with ECCAS, ISDR and the regional meteorological organization, OCHA supported the adoption of the ECCAS Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan 2013-2015.

 

c) In addition, OCHA, the AU Liaison Office and regional offices organized a disaster management tools and services workshop to sensitize senior AU staff and the Regional Economic Commissions on the preparedness and emergency response tools and services managed by OCHA. The objective was to improve understanding of how these tools and services are accessed and used, and raise awareness of how they might inform policy.

 

d) OCHA training courses in Austria and Mexico on the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre familiarized representatives of national authorities, regional organizations and humanitarian agencies with coordination in sudden-onset emergencies requiring international assistance. Sub-regional awareness courses on INSARAG and UNDAC were held in Bangladesh, Belarus, Israel and Georgia. 

 

e) In Asia, OCHA and ASEAN organized a regional workshop on environmental emergencies, bringing together ASEAN environment and disaster managers to discuss priority risks and needs. The outcome includes a two-year workplan to strengthen national and regional capacities in environmental emergency response; enhanced national-level coordination between disaster management and environment authorities; and a major role for the OCHA/UNEP Environmental Centre. OCHA also supported the participation of representatives of five other regional organizations (AU, LOS, OIC, CEPREDENAC and CAREC).

TARGET 2013

a) OCHA ROs meet region-specific targets for delivering training and orientation to national Governments, civil society and regional bodies on international tools and services in preparedness/response (see RO Performance Frameworks for each office).

 

b) OCHA COs meet country-specific targets for delivering training and orientation to national Governments and civil society on international tools and services in preparedness/response (see CO Performance Frameworks for each office).

RESULT 2 Member States begin to receive more predictable IASC support to develop national preparedness and response capacity.
INDICATORS
1. Aligned approaches and coordinated support for preparedness among relevant international development and humanitarian partners.
BASELINE

In 2011, OCHA collaborated with a wide range of humanitarian and development partners on how best to strengthen international coordination on building country preparedness capacity. OCHA supported the IASC SWGs in developing best practice and common approaches in Ghana, Uganda and Nepal. For a successful common approach, predictable funding is needed, with stronger links between CCAs, UNDAFs, CHAPs and CAPs in working on preparedness.

TARGET 2012

OCHA supports the IASC to develop best practice and common approaches to strengthen national preparedness capacity in two additional countries.

PROGRESS REPORT 2012

a) In 2012, OCHA contributed to various inter-agency processes to strengthen national capacity preparedness through collaboration with the IASC SWG on preparedness, CADRI and ISDR. Outcomes are as follows:

 

- An inter-agency common framework on capacity development for preparedness was developed. The common framework is based on the IASC study on country capacity development for emergency preparedness, and on lessons learned from some of the SWG’s pilot country initiatives. The common framework will be disseminated to the field as part of the IASC TA protocol in mid-2013. 

 

- OCHA continued to support Haiti, one of the SWG's pilot countries. As a result, the national contingency plan on seismic risk was developed in Haiti.

 

b) In conducting these activities, OCHA worked with partners, such as CADRI, UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery and humanitarian agencies through the IASC SWG on preparedness, IFRC, bilateral/multilateral donors and UNISDR.

TARGET 2013

Agreed common framework for engaging development and humanitarian partners in supporting national preparedness and response capacity.

2. Improved inter-agency support to contingency planning and simulations with Humanitarian Country Teams and Member States.
BASELINE 2011

a) In 2011, OCHA continued to work with the IASC SWG, country teams and Member States on improving preparedness/contingency planning, while also supporting simulation exercises. OCHA will enhance this approach in 2012, refining and testing preparedness and contingency planning across agencies, and ensuring simulation exercises are used at global and country levels.

 

b) In 2011, OCHA continued working with the IASC SWG at the global level to improve guidance on inter-agency preparedness/contingency planning, and supporting the training of facilitators for simulation exercises. At the regional and country level, OCHA continued to facilitate preparedness/contingency planning and simulation exercises with country teams and Member States. Work will be carried out in 2012 to refine and test inter-agency preparedness/contingency planning approaches and simulation exercises, and increase the understanding and use of these tools at the country level.

TARGET 2012

Inter-agency guidance and support on preparedness/contingency planning and simulations are improved and tested in selected priority countries.

PROGRESS REPORT 2012

a) In 2012, OCHA led the efforts of the IASC SWG on preparedness to develop the inter-agency approach for Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP). A major milestone was achieved when the ERP was included as part of the IASC Transformative Agenda (TA) protocols endorsed in December 2012. The protocol document, Responding to Level 3 Emergencies: The Humanitarian Programme Cycle (http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/IASC%20Humanita...), refers to ERP as the model inter-agency preparedness approach. According to this new approach, contingency planning is part of a wider preparedness process and specifically addresses an imminent or recurring humanitarian risk. In this context, the IASC places at country teams’ disposal a simex model for inter-agency ERP and specific contingency planning, and for national Governments’ requests. 

 

b) In all simulation cases, close cooperation among the international and national country capacities are systematically encouraged. For example, Mexico held its first INSARAG earthquake response simulation exercise in 2012, designed by Mexico’s National Civil Protection System in coordination with humanitarian actors to test Mexico’s seismic response plan. The exercise was complemented with training on humanitarian architecture, funding and information management, and resulted in specific recommendations to strengthen preparedness for a more effective response.

 

c) Furthermore, the SWG on preparedness finalized the IASC simulation package targeted to Governments adapted from the inter-agency version. OCHA supported the roll-out of this package along with other emergency preparedness activities, including response capacity assessment and contingency planning for Governments, regional organizations and inter-agency teams in Africa (Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria/ECOWAS, Cameroon, Madagascar, Gabon/ECCAS, Comoros, South Africa, Senegal) and the Middle East (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan). OCHA provided technical guidance on preparedness and contingency planning in Kosovo and the Philippines. It also developed eLearning modules to enhance national responders’ capacity to prepare for and respond to environmental emergencies. It will be hosted on the Environmental Emergencies Centre’s website (http://eecentre.org.148.gppnetwork.com).

 

d) OCHA updated the reference guide for developing the environmental and other preparedness aspects of the 2013 CAPs. Best practices were introduced, such as the environment marker piloted in Sudan and South Sudan. 

 

e) At the Secretary-General’s request, OCHA—in consultation with the IASC SWG on preparedness and the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE)—commissioned a study to examine ways to enhance the link between the international system of response to nuclear/radiological incidents and the international humanitarian preparedness and response coordination system. The study recommends that the IASC develops technical guidance to address nuclear emergencies and increased interface between the IAEA and the IASC. 

TARGET 2013

Preparedness/contingency planning and simulation exercises are consistently used to support the development of preparedness capacity in all priority countries.

RESULT 3 OCHA’s internal preparedness strengthened.
INDICATORS
1. OCHA better prepared to deliver emergency tools/services.
BASELINE

Recent evaluations show OCHA’s need to speed up in establishing a presence in new emergencies. OCHA has given much attention to increasing the quality and predictability of its staffing arrangements in emergency scenarios (see Strategic Objectives 3.2). However, obvious deficiencies have to be addressed, particularly in terms of start-up issues. OCHA has to ensure that deployed staff have the right equipment to perform their functions; can quickly establish in-country logistics and administrative support; can develop and cost workplans; and can recruit local staff. Internal preparedness is a core component of OCHA’s policy instruction on preparedness and its proposed MPP. However, more needs to be done to ensure a clear demarcation of roles within OCHA to ensure an all-round readiness to respond.

TARGET 2012

A clear concept of OCHA readiness articulated, with roles and responsibilities incorporated into respective units’ workplans by Q4 2012.

PROGRESS REPORT 2012

a) During the latter part of 2012, OCHA worked to determine and identify key actions that each of its five core areas need to take during the start-up of operations. This has direct bearing on what OCHA needs to be prepared to do. This work will become a key component in OCHA’s evolving role in preparedness. In this context, OCHA reviewed independent evaluation results on its role in preparedness and formulated a related Management Response Plan. In December 2012, the dialogue was expanded to include consultations with heads of regional and selected country office,s with a view to recommending a course of action to the SMT in early 2013.

 

b) The OCHA-commissioned evaluation of its role in preparedness was supported in 2012 by a reference group comprising OCHA staff and IASC SWG members. Its recommendations, along with those of the OIOS five-year evaluation of OCHA, will constitute important bases for OCHA’s preparedness work in 2013.

TARGET 2013

All concerned OCHA entities implement their role in ensuring OCHA’s response preparedness.