The Cluster Approach: Strengthening humanitarian response capacity by enhancing leadership, accountability and predictability.
Overview: The Cluster Approach is currently being implemented in Uganda, Somalia, DRC and Liberia (IASC agreed roll-out countries). It was also used in Pakistan, Lebanon and Yogjakarta, Indonesia. It is now also being introduced in other countries such as Cote d'Ivoire.
Policy: An IASC Preliminary Guidance Note on Implementation of the Cluster Leadership Approach was sent to the field in June 2006. A revised version was discussed at the 9 October ad hoc meeting of the IASC Working Group and is currently being finalised.
Self-Assessment: The IASC interim self-assessment of the Cluster Approach is underway in advance of a larger external evaluation to be undertaken in 2007. This will include a summary of existing reviews of the cluster approach to date (roll-out and non-rollout countries) together with workshops in each of the four IASC roll-out countries (DRC, Liberia, Somalia and Uganda). A draft report is expected to be presented to the IASC WG in November, and would support discussions of the IASC Principles meeting in December.
2006 Cluster Appeal: The Cluster Appeal, which requested $39 million is currently 57% funded. Top funded clusters are Camp Management and Coordination (100%), Protection (96%), Watsan (90%), and Emergency Shelter (86%). Remaining clusters are between 40-50% funded.
News from the Clusters - Key Highlights
Camp Coordination/Camp Management
CCCM training: First training held in June in Addis Ababa/Ethiopia
Donor Consultation: Early Recovery Cluster members met with donor representatives in Geneva in July to discuss progress and next steps for the cluster.
Lebanon: The Government of Lebanon is leading recovery and reconstruction efforts with background support from Early Recovery Cluster members.
Uganda Needs Assessment: An early recovery rapid needs assessment is currently ongoing in northern Uganda, involving early recovery cluster members and national authorities.
An NGO Reference Group was created to enhance the capacity of the Emergency Shelter cluster.
Congo (DRC): WHO undertook a high level mission to the DRC involving global and regional offices to assess the functioning of the cluster, discuss mechanisms for furthering the roll out process, and move towards the formulation of a results based action plan for 2007.
Lebanon: A Health Cluster Field Coordinator was deployed and as of the end of August, WHO Lebanon began compiling and disseminating an interagency "Health Cluster Bulletin."
Global Health Cluster: The Health Cluster Support Hub was established at WHO/Geneva; basic documents were finalized and endorsed.
UNICEF has seconded a staff member to the global logistics cluster team for total of 14 months to work on stockpile mapping and supply tracking.
At the onset of the crisis in Lebanon, the cluster established bases in Beirut, Damascus, Cyprus and, at a later stage, Tyre. The bases were staffed by WFP, UNJLC, UNICEF, UNHCR, and NGOs. From these hubs the cluster teams coordinated humanitarian consignment movements by specially contracted trucks (overland through Syria and within Lebanon), a time chartered vessel (from Cyprus to Lebanon) and air (from Cyprus to Lebanon) with a combination of UN and German aircraft. Apart from operating/tasking the transport assets, the logistics coordination role, which is inherent in any logistics cluster, entailed prioritisation, consolidation of pipeline information and mapping.
A specially chartered passenger ferry made regular voyages between Larnaca and Beirut carrying staff and officials dealing with the crisis. The ferry was also available for staff evacuations and therefore contributed significantly to proportionately lift staff ceilings in Lebanon.
In April, UNICEF led Cluster Support Team visited Kenya, Somalia and Eritrea to provide technical support for strengthening capacity on Nutrition Cluster Leadership and Coordination.
In June, Health and Nutrition Service Tracking Proposal was finalized as part of joint efforts of Health and Nutrition clusters. Pending the final approval, the proposal was presented to the IASC WG meeting in July.
The Nutrition cluster also developed self-assessment checklists and TORs for cluster and cluster coordinators to be used as part of filed guidance initiative. The checklists are designed to be used by the UNCT to determine if it is appropriate to implement the cluster approach.
In March, the cluster partners (UNICEF, WFP, WHO, IFRC, ACF) reached an agreement on the 'essential package' of nutrition cluster interventions. It was agreed that the conceptual and analytical framework for nutrition would remain broad regardless of which components were addressed by clusters and sectors. A tool kit will be completed by the end of 2006
ProCap: 11 ProCap staff members were deployed to assist cluster members with protection operations.
The Emergency Telecommunications cluster conducted an ETC Emergency Response Simulation Exercise for Data Communications in July in Norway. Among the major results of this event were: 1) improved ETC partner coordination, 2) a three-phased response approach tested, documented and proved successful, and 3) a comprehensive interagency action plan.
In September, the cluster fielded an assessment mission to Yogyakarta and other areas impacted by the Indonesian Earthquake to assess the ETC project activities and identify lessons learned.
Also, the ETC participated in TRIPLEX 2006, an IHP sponsored event in Finland to improve collaboration in emergency response within the international humanitarian community. The event simulated the emergency response to a natural disaster with standby partners such as Ericsson Relief, SRSA, TSF, and Telenor.
Water and Sanitation
In June, the Cluster partners (UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR, OCHA, Oxfam, ACF, NRC, CARE, World Vision International, Concern International, CRS, RedR, IFRC and ICRC, with participation of SCHR and Interaction) met in Geneva to clarify the work plan and agree on they way forward.
In August, WASH Cluster reviewed its approach in Java Earthquake with the participation of ACF, UNICEF, Oxfam, UNEP and an independent consultant. A report will be circulated shortly. A review of the cluster approach in DRC Congo will be carried out either in November or early December.
In July, during the Lebanon crisis, UNICEF led the WASH Cluster Coordination. The operation was set up in Beirut and also in Tyre after the cease-fire. The coordination involved several INGO's, local NGO's, UN agencies and the Water Authority. The coordination function was used to get an overview of the damage done to the water systems in the South. In addition, it ensured that mechanisms were in place to address the needs. Gap analysis proved to be a challenging task in such a complex environment and restricted access due to security. One of the major donors (DfID), funded some of the NGO's through the Cluster process. The coordination of the WASH Cluster is still ongoing.
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