UNJLC Afghanistan review project - Summary report
UNJLC Afghanistan (Phase 1: October 2001 - March 2002, Phase 2: April 2002 - March 2003) represents a critical step in the UNJLC's evolution as the operations ultimately led to formalising its concept by the IASC - WG in the UN system. A comprehensive review was carried out to derive lessons leamt and best practices for improving the application of the concept in future deployments.
UNJLC activities included logistic information management, identification of logistic bottlenecks affecting humanitarian operations, co-ordination and prioritisation of airlifts, and augmentation of inter-agency logistics capacity. Later, UNJLC was also involved in logistic support for nation building activities, like the Loya Jirga election and Currency Conversion projects, as this was considered supporting the whole humanitarian community in Afghanistan.
Assignment of logistic staff from other agencies to UNJLC took off rather slowly and financial resources became available only after about two months, resulting in reduced activities in the first months. UNJLC should communicate and be transparent on its concept and tasks to UN agencies and NGOs at HQs and the field, thereby substantiating its added value in providing support related to UN agencies core tasks. Some stakeholders interviewed called for more independence from WFP to increase UNJLC's effectiveness and neutrality.
Co-ordination of airlift operations was experienced as strong added value for UNJLC, specifically in the first months. In this respect, de-conflicting with the military on the use of limited local infrastructure capacity, particularly in respect of air space and airfields, was very useful. UNJLC's initial involvement in actual tasking of planes was later corrected.
UNJLC's efforts in solving transport infrastructure bottlenecks were successful in clearing border passage crossings, tariff negotiations, and negotiations with the government on warehouse facilities. Their role in arranging warehouse space between agencies received mixed judgements. UNJLC was instrumental in identifying infrastructural bottlenecks through assessments and in a number of cases linked donors and implementing partners.
UNJLC should consult with UN agencies and NGOs on their specific requirements for logistic information and need for infrastructure assessments. Due action should be undertaken to ensure proper access to the UNJLC web-site in the field. Their maps with logistic information were experienced as very useful.
UNJLC Kabul office was not seen as at level with the other agencies. UNJLC should ensure that their staff / teams are adequately qualified and frequently meet each other to exchange experiences. The WFP financing mechanism was very complex with many layers for support functions and strict application of WFP rules and regulations, thereby affecting a quick response of UNJLC in emergency conditions. A separate SO for UNJLC operations would strongly contribute to transparency on costs.
The UNJLC developed a proper exit strategy arranging for capacity building and transfer of tasks to concemed UN agencies in a timely manner.
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