Operational Handbook for Country-based Pooled Funds (Version February 2015)


  1. Introduction

  2. Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) are multi-donor humanitarian financing instruments established by the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) and managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the country level under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC). While OCHA has managed humanitarian pooled funds at the country level since 1995, CBPFs are rooted in the 2005 Humanitarian Reform and the Secretary-General’s report “In larger freedom”1 , which calls for predictable and flexible humanitarian funding to meet the needs of vulnerable communities.

  3. CBPFs are critical tools to support the delivery of the OCHA’s humanitarian coordination mandate.
    They receive un-earmarked funding from donors and allocate it in response to priority humanitarian needs through joint planning and an inclusive and field-driven decision-making process. OCHA’s approach to the management of CBPFs is anchored in the principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda, which stresses the importance of providing predictable, timely and consistent resources towards principled humanitarian action. This approach is reinforced in the 2014-17 OCHA Strategic Framework, which highlights the role of CBPFs in promoting timely and un-earmarked funding allocated based on priority needs. The Strategic Framework calls for the use of CBPFs to enhance coordination and complementarity among humanitarian financing mechanisms. CBPFs promote diversity and partnership by supporting a variety of humanitarian actors, including national NGOs, with the resources they need to contribute to humanitarian response operations, and by engaging them in the governance and management of CBPFs.

  4. CBPFs promote coordinated humanitarian response through their close alignment to the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC)2 . Harmonized CBPF processes and tools aim at making the mechanisms more effective and efficient in supporting the implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs).

  5. CBPFs also enhance resource mobilization efforts and make more resources available for humanitarian response activities prioritized under the HRP.

  6. The CBPF Operational Handbook (hereinafter referred to as the Handbook) sets the minimum global standards for effective and efficient management of CBPFs. The Handbook responds to the need for standardized management arrangements and builds upon the vast experience gained by OCHA over the years in managing CBPFs in different country contexts3 .


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