In a complex emergency, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator plays a critical role in mobilising and coordinating an effective and timely humanitarian response. OCHA's mandate is to support this role. Humanitarian coordination is based on the premise that a coherent approach to emergency response will maximise its benefits and minimise potential pitfalls, such as duplication. A coordinated response will facilitate the development of common strategies and joint responses, thus maximisation of resources. OCHA promotes the respect for, and compliance with humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence and “Do no Harm”, in particular for the protection of vulnerable civilian populations. Advocacy is a key element to bringing international attention and support to crises but also engagement and commitment by national and local authorities. In this regard, OCHA is particularly vested in securing unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in need of assistance.
OCHA's presence in Somalia dates back to 1999 with the establishment of a UN Coordination Unit. A full-fledged OCHA office came into being in 2003. Since 1999, OCHA's coordination role has grown in relevance as well as in size as the humanitarian situation has developed in Somalia. Since 2004, as the country has experienced drought, the tsunami, floods, inter/intra clan violence, chronic food insecurity, environmental degradation and displacement, OCHA Somalia has persevered in its efforts to mobilise and coordinate an effective and principled inter-agency humanitarian response. It has also expanded its in-country presence, which now includes nine sub-offices in the three zones of Somaliland, Puntland and South/Central (see map). The field offices are supported by a central office in Nairobi.
OCHA's Mission Statement
To mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to:
Alleviate human suffering in natural disasters and complex emergencies;
Promote preparedness and prevention efforts to reduce future vulnerability;
Facilitate sustainable solutions by addressing root causes;
Advocate for the rights of people in need.
OCHA in Somalia in 2007
In 2007, OCHA will continue to conduct and lead interagency assessment missions, identify priority needs, and facilitate the planning of common responses to affected populations. In this regard, OCHA will seek to provide strong field coordination for the further strengthening of the cluster approach it helped establish in 2006 in-country with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Additionally, and security permitting, OCHA will shift attention, resources, and staff to the South/Central regions where the greatest needs and highest levels of vulnerability are found. It will continue to support grass-roots local reconciliation initiatives and negotiate humanitarian access with the relevant authorities, particularly in South/Central where access is limited due to insecurity. OCHA will continue to promote humanitarian principles, and a 'do no harm' approach in all humanitarian interventions. It will work to highlight the dire humanitarian situation and advocate for better allocation of financial resources across all sectors. In addition, it will coordinate the implementation of the joint IDP strategy to make a difference in the deplorable IDP situation, and make authorities accountable to contributing to a protective environment.
Specifically, OCHA Somalia has the following objectives for 2007:
i) Strengthen coordination and sustainable access to basic humanitarian services for the most vulnerable populations, in a state of humanitarian emergency and food and livelihood crisis, or displaced.
ii) Increase emphasis on early recovery in parts of Somalia transitioning from an emergency phase to rehabilitation and reconstruction.
iii) Strengthen humanitarian advocacy based on humanitarian principles, and improve resource mobilization.
iv) Improve level of preparedness of humanitarian partners and local communities to respond to natural disasters and complex emergencies.
v) Enhance protection of and respect for the human rights and dignity of IDPs, minorities, women, and vulnerable communities.
Following the 2005 Global Humanitarian Review, in early 2006, Somalia became one of four pilot countries to implement the cluster leadership approach aimed at improving the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of a humanitarian response. OCHA facilitated the establishment of nine clusters as well as the creation of a Somalia Inter-Agency Standing Committee to support the Humanitarian Coordinator.
(See Fact Sheet 'Humanitarian Coordination Mechanisms in Somalia').
OCHA Somalia Coordinating Tools and Mechanisms
Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) - Coordinated by OCHA, the CAP is an inclusive annual programme cycle to analyse the humanitarian context, assess needs, identify strategic priorities and plan programmes for humanitarian response. In short, the CAP is a coordinating, planning, advocacy and fund-raising tool at the disposal of the aid community.
Following the 2006 Gu rains, in August 2006, around 1.8 million people were identified in need of assistance. Based on these findings, the 2007 Somalia CAP - launched in November 2006 – targeted this identified group, in particular the 1.1 million Somalis in South/Central regions. The 2007 Appeal requested around US$ 237 million in support of 128 projects. Shortly thereafter, given the magnitude of flooding that resulted from heavy 2006/07 Deyr rains, a Flood Response Plan was presented to donors on 5 December appealing for an additional US$ 28.6 million to cover immediate life-saving activities. Around US$ 10.4 million was sourced from the CERF (see next section).
Despite causing the severe flooding, the 2006/07 Deyr rains also resulted in improved food security and livelihoods. In late January 2007, 1 million people were identified in need of assistance and protection at least until July. Owing to these improvements, the 2007 Appeal was thus revised and now seeks around US$253 million in support of 140 projects. The increase in the Appeal is explained by the inclusion of post-flood infrastructure rehabilitation needs, early recovery and disaster prevention opportunities, and new programmes to support Somali livelihoods, particular in areas where recovery has been noted.
Humanitarian Response Fund for Somalia (HRF) - Administered by OCHA Somalia and in existence since early 2004, the HRF aims to improve the timeliness of aid responses through the provision of a flexible resource that can be drawn on by aid partners. Working through an Advisory Board, the Fund supports rapid response projects developed in the first phase of an emergency before mainstream responses come into play in addition to filling gaps at later stages of an emergency. To date, the HRF has supported 79 projects responding to various emergency situations throughout the country. Around US$ 13.2 million has been disbursed to various NGOs and UN agencies and it is estimated that about 2 million people have directly benefited from these initiatives. Given the protracted humanitarian situation, the Fund will continue to play this key role and develop to become an even stronger strategic tool, particularly as more Somali NGOs seek support for their projects through this funding mechanism. (See HRF Fact Sheet).
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) - The existing CERF managed by OCHA at the global level has been strengthened to promote early action and response, enhance response to time-critical requirements, and strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises. Approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2005 and launched in March 2006, the modernized CERF targets US$ 500 million to be made available from additional voluntary contributions. Benefiting the Somalia operation, Somalia has so far received over US$ 17 million to respond to the drought (US$ 6.2 million) and the flooding (US$10.4 million) in 2006, and then to enhance security of operations in 2007 (US$ 1 million). OCHA Somalia administers the disbursement of CERF grants.
Access and Protection - Given the complexity and volatility of the operational environment in Somalia, OCHA Somalia leads the UN's initiative and supports the IASC to maximise access opportunities where local administrations have shown commitment to engage with the aid community. Unhindered and sustained humanitarian access remains paramount to meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, yet years of a lack of such access and restricted humanitarian space – particularly in south/central – have been major factors affecting human survival. An Access Working Group in Nairobi advises on priorities regarding access to populations in need of aid; recommends on UN support to, and involvement in local reconciliation initiatives; and rethinks ways of providing assistance and protection in light of hostile conditions.
With a vested interest in the protection of civilians, OCHA Somalia holds the protection of vulnerable populations - including internally displaced (of which there are up to 400,000 in Somalia), minority groups, women, returnees, and urban poor - high on its agenda. Since the collapse of the government in 1991, civilian populations became the target of serious violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. Extortion, looting of property, physical attacks, rape and exploitation became rampant causing many Somalis to flee the country or their area of origin within the country. The protective environment in Somalia has not improved much over time with many abuses going unrecorded, unchecked and subjected with impunity. A UN Joint Strategy on Internally Displaced finalised in 2005 guides programming and aid responses related to IDPs, while a protection cluster established in early 2006, outlines priority interventions to meet protection needs throughout Somalia. In the field, IDP/Protection working groups exist in Somaliland and Puntland. One will soon be established in South/Central Somalia.
OCHA CONTACTS IN SOMALIA
Hargeisa Sub-office - Abdulkarim Ali, - Office Tel: + 252 8283702/3 Cell: 252 24425701
Garowe Sub-office - Aminata Mansaray, Office Tel: + 252 5 846354
Cell: + 252 5794047 Sat: + 882 164 333 9909;
Saed Farah: Cell: + 252 5 763617, Sat: + 882 165 1121074
Bossaso/Galkayo Sub-office – Odd Einar Olsen: Office Tel: + 252 5829346 Cell: + 252 5704361
Baidoa Sub-office - William Desbordes, Office Tel: + 252 4364143
Cell: + 252 1 528829, Sat: +882 164 333 s8242
Yusuf Ali Salah: Cell: + 252 1559007, Sat: + 882 165 112 1075
Dolow Sub-office - Hassan Shirwa, Office Tel: +254 721 226630, Sat: +882 165 1105 5451
Jamame Sub-office - Mumin Ali Mumin, Office Tel: +252 3492005
Cell: + 252 1 568356 Sat: + 882 165 110 5457
Mogadishu Sub-office - Abdulaziz Mohamed, Office Tel: +252 1 659830 / 505926 Sat: + 882 165 112 1073 Cell: 252 5960935
Abdullahi M. Ali - Cell: + 252 1 564062 Sat: + 882 165 112 1071
Wajid Sub-office - George Yongo, Cell: + 252 1 555134 Sat: +882 164 333 8245
Throughout 2006/2007, OCHA Somalia has received funding from: Australia, ECHO, Ireland, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom
7th Floor, Kalson Towers, Crescent Street, off Parklands Road,
P.O. Box 28832, 00200 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel No: (254-20) 3754150-5; Fax No: (254-20) 3754156; http://ochaonline.un.org/somalia
Updated 12 April 2007
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.