Pacific Humanitarian Team Performance Review 2008-2012

The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) is a partnership of all agencies and organizations that have a mandate to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific Island region, and that agree to coordinate international humanitarian action according to a cluster or sector approach. It was established in July 2008 by humanitarian stakeholders at the Regional Inter-Agency Contingency Planning Workshop for Humanitarian Assistance in the Pacific to deliver timely, effective and coordinated international response to natural disasters in 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

This review examines PHT performance over a five-year period, from 2008 to 2012. The objectives are to document a background of the PHT, to assess if the PHT is meeting its objectives (accountability, leadership, coordination and partnerships), to identify recommendations to strengthen the PHT and to contribute to stakeholder knowledge of the humanitarian coordination mechanisms in place in the Pacific.

PHT performance is assessed based on PHT stakeholder feedback gathered in interviews and an online survey. The review also considers relevant stakeholder reports and documents, as well as researcher observations at regional and national workshops and meetings. Key areas assessed include accountability and leadership, crosscutting issues, effectiveness and timeliness of emergency response, information management, inter-cluster coordination, monitoring and evaluation, national engagement, partnerships and training needs. Respondents included individuals from Pacific Island Governments, UN agencies, NGOs, International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and national societies, donors, and international and regional organizations.

The review finds that the PHT is playing a positive role in improving partnerships and coordination of international humanitarian response in the region. PHT stakeholders have a better understanding of the coordination mechanism and how it supports member countries, as well as their role in the coordination mechanism. There is less clarity on other potential areas of support the PHT can offer PICs during and after disaster events. This can be addressed through further role definition and engagement at the national level to ensure PICs gain maximum benefit from the PHT.

The review findings are grouped under the three evaluation areas: appropriateness and relevance, effectiveness and connectedness. Based on the findings, the review identifies four key recommendations and proposes an implementation approach for follow-up of the recommendations.

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