OCHA Annual Report 2007

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Executive Summary

In 2007, donors contributed an unprecedented US$ 139.3 million in support of the activities detailed in OCHA’s appeal, OCHA in 2007. These generous contributions – for which OCHA is extremely grateful – allowed OCHA to implement 89 percent of its planned activities. In addition, the well-supported Central Emergency Response Fund – contributors to which included 67 United Nations Member States, and notably a number of developing countries – allowed the increasingly rapid provision of assistance to populations affected by sudden-onset disasters and underfunded emergencies.

The intensity and frequency of natural hazards striking vulnerable communities in 2007 resulted in an unusually high number of disaster situations to which OCHA was called on to respond. Complementing government responses, OCHA’s regional offices – which serve as the first port of call to support government and United Nations Country Teams when disasters strike – provided key support in: mobilization of the financial resources required within short timeframes (fifteen flash appeals); coordination of public information; and deployment of immediate surge capacity and United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams.

Regional office responses were bolstered by preparedness work undertaken by National Disaster Response Advisers, who are co-located in the offices of Resident Coordinators and collaborate closely with National Disaster Management Offices in contingency planning. The Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific invested in developing country-specific data preparedness plans, ensuring that a minimum set of information standards, tools, data sources, actors and forums are in place to enable effective and immediate information management coordination in the event of an emergency – allowing OCHA to ‘hit the ground running’ in the event of a crisis.

Following the adoption of a three-year Strategic Framework in late 2006, work planning across OCHA – both at headquarters and in the field – was brought into alignment with the organization’s three overarching goals and 21 objectives. A reporting process was instituted through which all work units and management monitored their progress in meeting performance targets (the 2007 Annual Report presents information on all work units’ success against their key performance indicators). OCHA also tracked its overall performance against core indicators with the aim of measuring organization-wide performance and institutionalizing results-based management practices.

OCHA completed its ‘re-alignment’ in 2007, with the consolidation of geographical desk functions in New York. A new External Relations and Resource Mobilization Branch was established in order to streamline a number of activities that focus on resource mobilization and external relations, while some functions of the former External Relations Branch (such as the management of surge capacity) were absorbed into existing structures. The capacity of the Administrative Office was reinforced in preparation for the delegation of authority to OCHA to administer its field staff in 2008. While the re-alignment was completed in 2007, the forecast improvements in efficiency were not expected to be fully realised until 2008.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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