Humanitarian Response Plans and Flash Appeals
Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) and Flash Appeals are inclusive, country-level planning processes for mapping urgent priorities and calculating funds required to meet humanitarian needs. Typically, HRPs are developed between September and December, though they can be issued and revised at any point in the year. While HRPs run anything from one to three years, Flash Appeals, designed to respond to sudden-onset emergencies, are by nature limited to a shorter timeframe of three to ten months. The GHO Status Report for 2017 comprises 30 HRPs and Flash Appeals.
Humanitarian Response Plans
There are now twenty-five Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) for 2017, seven of them stretching over two years or more. Requirements for several of the plans are under revision, a process likely to increase financial requirements. The Somalia HRP has already been revised in light of the surge in needs due to serious risk of famine in the country.
In an effort to respond strategically to protracted crises, a number of humanitarian country teams, for example those for Central African Republic and Haiti, have opted for multi-year plans starting this year. The purpose is to strengthen collaboration with development actors, promote more sustainable assistance in support of national and local actors, and strengthen inter-sectoral response analysis.
HRPs provide a unique platform for humanitarian partners, governments and other actors to consolidate and present collective strategic plans and programmes. The HRPs constitute an inclusive, country-level planning process for mapping urgent priorities, formulating a strategic approach for addressing them, and calculating funds required to meet them. The HRPs function as a guidance tool for humanitarian action and a resource mobilization tool for donors to finance rapid response. Although the contexts vary, the documents are structured along similar lines. This lends them to grouping in the Global Humanitarian Overviews, setting each one in the global context and drawing partners’ financial requirements into a single appeal. The HRPs are also the basis for monitoring, which increases accountability to affected populations and donors.
In comparison to previous years, the overall quality of HRPs has improved significantly. While 77% of HRPs met overall quality standards in 2016, this year the full range of HRPs met the same quality standards applying identical criteria. These standards prioritize targeting of the most immediate and severe needs, taking into account vulnerabilities of different groups of populations, and ensuring a holistic, well-articulated and realistic plan. HRP requirements are drawn either from activities or projects, and implementation and financial flows are rigorously tracked.
HRPs are evolving in line with Grand Bargain commitments. Improved costing approaches are enhancing HRP transparency. Coherence between humanitarian and development programmes, particularly through multi-year plans, is improving, and local actors are increasingly involved in coordinated humanitarian response efforts. Joint planning by local, national and international partners, rooted in coordinated and rigorous needs assessments, improves collaboration and increases the viability of humanitarian aid. As well as grouping financial requirements of the different sectors and organizations active within each plan, the HRPs list all partners active in the response to a particular emergency, thus improving transparency.
In identifying key objectives and indicators, the HRP lays the foundation for monitoring humanitarian actions.
The Response Monitoring Framework helps point out shortcomings in the response, capacity and/or funding, and measures whether the response is keeping pace with changing needs. Importantly, the HRP is a planning instrument and an appeal designed to increase accountability of humanitarian actors to affected people, to host governments and to the international community.
In the first six months of 2017, an unusually high number of Flash Appeals have been published. In countries with well-established HRPs and coordination mechanisms, dramatic spikes in humanitarian needs can be dealt with by expanding or reprogramming projects within the HRP.
Conversely, in contexts where no humanitarian planning frameworks are in place, the humanitarian community relies on Flash Appeals as mechanisms to formulate collective response and inform donor decision-making in sudden-onset or escalating crises—to ensure affected people receive life-saving assistance at a speed and on a scale commensurate with the level of need.
The first of this year’s five Flash Appeals was issued by the Resident Coordinator’s Office in Mozambique. When Cyclone Dineo made landfall on the evening of 15 February, winds of 160 km per hour tore along the country’s coastline leaving heavy destruction to infrastructure and agriculture in its passage. Many lives were protected due to early warning by the Government in affected provinces.
The Flash Appeal for the period from 1 March to 1 June sought $10.2 million to provide shelter, livelihood support, protection and access to health care and education for 150,000 particularly vulnerable people.
Intense Tropical Cyclone Enawo made landfall in Madagascar’s Sava region on 7 March before moving through the centre of the country as a tropical depression. Its winds and floods led to 81 deaths, displaced 247,000 people and damaged crops, infrastructure, schools and houses. The subsequent Flash Appeal (March-May 2017) required $20 million to provide life-saving assistance for people affected by the cyclone, to ensure continuity of essential basic social services for the most vulnerable people and to strengthen the resilience of affected communities to cope with and recover from the cyclone.
In February and March, heavy and incessant rainfall induced by the El Niño coastal phenomenon in South America led to declaration of a state of emergency on the northern coast of Peru, where landslides and floods affected 1.1 million people and destroyed or rendered uninhabitable around 33,000 homes. Many affected families were already grappling with poverty or extreme poverty. The Flash Appeal for the North Coast of Peru seeks $39.5 million with which to ensure rapid and life-saving assistance and promote early recovery through livelihood support and restoration of community infrastructure from April to October 2017 for the benefit of 320,000 people.
On 10 February the Kenyan Government declared the worsening drought resulting from severely reduced rainfall in 2016 a national disaster, and appealed for international assistance. UN agencies and partners reacted by developing a Flash Appeal to provide life-saving assistance, protection and livelihood support to 2.6 million people from March 2017 until January 2018. The Appeal for $165.8 also seeks to strengthen resilience of drought-affected communities to climatic shocks.
The Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Intense violence has spread into five provinces of Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prompted the humanitarian country team to launch a Flash Appeal to respond to the complex emergency in the region. Objectives of the ten-month plan issued in March are to reduce mortality and morbidity resulting from the fighting, to protect the human rights of affected people, to immediately improve the living conditions of people affected by the crisis and to provide rapid and adequate emergency assistance in hard-to-reach areas.
The Flash Appeal financial requirements of $64.5 million have been folded into the 2017 – 2019 Multi-Year Humanitarian Plan, which remains the authoritative humanitarian planning framework for all of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Commitments made under the Grand Bargain have amplified understanding of the Flash Appeal concept and have stimulated efforts by humanitarian country teams, UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams, Regional Coordinators’ offices and regional offices to produce sharply prioritized Flash Appeals and attract urgently needed resources for responding in the short term to sudden-onset crises and disasters.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.