Inter-Cluster Diagnostic Mission to Pakistan (Islamabad and Peshawar), 13-17 Jul 2009

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The Inter-Cluster Diagnostic Mission was composed of team members representing the Global Cluster Leads and included Cluster representatives from Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Nutrition, Education, Early Recovery, Agriculture, Protection, Emergency Shelter, Camp Coordination & Camp Management (CCCM), NGO consortia (InterAction & ICVA), and the Humanitarian Coordination Support Section of OCHA.


The Cluster Approach was adopted by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in 2005 as a coordination mechanism to address the long recognized gaps in humanitarian response and to strengthen the predictability and accountability of international aid efforts.

It is envisioned that the Cluster Approach would ensure that 1) roles and responsibilities among humanitarian partners operate in an inclusive, consultative, and transparent manner, 2) leadership and responsibilities are established at the sector level, 3) all relevant sectors and cross-cutting issues are covered, and 4) accountability of humanitarian partners and their interventions will improve.

In April 2009, a military operation launched by the Pakistan armed forces against militants in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) resulted in a massive exodus of citizens seeking refuge. This produced one of the largest and fastest growing human displacements in over a decade.

In response to this extraordinary crisis, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) decided to upgrade and strengthen the Cluster Approach to ensure a coordinated humanitarian response. Although the Cluster Approach is not new to Pakistan, the scale of this emergency placed enormous challenges on newly established structures.

At the request of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC), this Inter-Cluster Diagnostic Mission was deployed. The mission conducted extensive key informant interviews as well as direct observation of Cluster meetings and coordination gatherings in both Islamabad and Peshawar. Individual faceto- face interviews and semi-structured small group meetings were arranged with the Resident Coordinator (RC), HC, Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), Pakistan Government officials, national and international NGOs, UN specialized agencies, GenCap advisor, and major donors.

The observations and recommendations of this report are organized along the themes that were consistently identified during this mission. These themes are, 1) Coordination, 2) Funding, 3) Cluster Leadership and Partnership, and 4) Strategy Development and Prioritization.

Annexed to this report are detailed descriptions of individual Cluster improvement plans relevant to WASH, Health, Nutrition, Education, Early Recovery, Agriculture, Protection, CCCM, and Emergency Shelter Clusters.

A proposed follow-up Cluster Support Mission has been recommended for deployment around August or September 2009. Terms of Reference (ToR) for this mission are also annexed to this report.