The humanitarian situation in Yemen remained dire throughout 2013. Of a population of 24 million, more than half were in need of humanitarian assistance across the sectors of water and sanitation, food security, nutrition, health, shelter and education.
Conflict in parts of the country led to new displacement and increased the need for humanitarian assistance, including the need for protection. In 2013, Yemen faced a very high risk of the spread of wild polio from an outbreak in the Horn of Africa. Its spread was prevented by a large vaccination campaign.
The 2013 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) was funded at only 56%. In response, 40 per cent (US$ 4.6 million) of the ERF allocations went to priority projects in the YHRP and 60 per cent of the allocations supported response to urgent unforeseen emergencies and capacity building of national partners.
In 2013, aid agencies submitted 54 project proposals to the ERF with a combined budget of $15.4 million. The ERF funded 38 of the projects, in the sectors of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, emergency shelter and non-food items, protection, early recovery, multi-sector, humanitarian action logistics, food security, nutrition, and education.
Sixteen proposals were rejected, because they did not meet the strategic objectives of the fund or because of a lack of capacity to implement the proposals. The approval rate in 2013 (70%) increased compared to 2012, when 51 proposals were submitted and 31 approved (61%). This was due to an improved quality of submitted proposals.
About 1.5 million people benefited from ERF funded projects in 2013, including 765,000 men and boys, 735,000 women and girl.
The ERF supported seven national NGOs, 15 international NGOs, and four UN agencies (several organizations had more than one project). In 2013, 52 per cent of funding went to international NGOs, 19 per cent to national NGOs, and 29 per cent to UN agencies.
Agencies asked for no-cost extensions for 12 projects in 2013, mainly due to access constraints and logistical or administrative delays. A relatively small amounts of funding had to be returned for three projects (a total of US$ 205,921) because full implementation according to plan was not possible for similar reasons.
In 2013, the ERF received generous contributions of $11.5 million from Denmark, Ireland, Norway,
Sweden and the UK (this includes $4.5 million received in December 2013, which will be used in 2014). Thus, the growth trend of the ERF continued; contributions amounted to $8.6 million in 2012 and $6.5 million in 2011. With $11.3 million disbursed in 2013, the utilization rate was 99%, an improvement over the 85% rate in 2012 and 57% in 2011.
Access constraints remained a challenge. As a result, it hampered monitoring and implementation of some ERF funded projects. Access was particularly constrained in Sa’ada, Abyan, Shabwah,
Marib, Hadramaut, and Al Jawf and to some lesser degree in Hajjah Governorates.
The fund supported efforts aimed at overcoming access challenges by financing capacity building for local NGOs which often have better access to insecure areas. This included two capacity building projects, which trained 160 local aid workers on the project cycle and outreach to 34 national NGOs by OCHA’s Humanitarian Financing Unit. In total, 43 national NGOs benefitted from capacity building, training and mentoring. The Fund maintained a flexible approach in administering projects to accommodate the security, access and logistical challenges that aid agencies faced in Yemen.
Improvements were made to the management of the Fund during the year. OCHA’s Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU) developed and implemented a monitoring strategy in 2013. By the end of the year, 73 per cent of the scheduled monitoring activities had been undertaken by OCHA’s staff.1 Some projects were only approved at the end of the year and it was thus too early to conduct project site visits. This was an improvement over the 2012 when only 51 per cent of scheduled on-site monitoring took place. The target for 2013 was to visit 70% of projects. Most projects were found to make good to very good progress towards goals, and delays could mostly be attributed to factors outside implementing partners’ control, such as insecurity and conflict. The findings of these monitoring visits inform the review of future proposals and the definition of the fund strategy.
Other operational challenges that affected the functioning of the ERF included the relocation of many humanitarian workers and the departure of OCHA HFU Manager in November 2013. These were addressed by a support mission from the Funding Coordination Section from OCHA headquarters, and the OCHA Deputy Head of Office taking on day to day running of the fund.
The Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) oversees the allocation of funding of the ERF, supported by OCHA, as the Fund Manager, and an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board provides overall strategic guidance and oversight of the Fund. The review of proposals by the relevant clusters, the Review Board and OCHA precedes the HC’s allocation decisions. The lead time from the submission of proposals to disbursement of funding was reduced from 33 working days in 2012 to 27 days in 2013.
In 2013, the ERF was used in complementarity with other humanitarian funding sources. For instance, funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was used to prevent a polio outbreak in Yemen through vaccination campaign, while the ERF covered other related health needs.
In 2014, the ERF’s accountability framework – including a risk management framework, capacity assessments, auditing and monitoring – will be further strengthened. The ERF will be used in an increasingly strategic way, by reviewing proposals in a coordinated, systematic way during ‘calls for proposals’, in addition to quickly funding emergency projects in response to new crises and humanitarian needs. OCHA will also seek to further reduce the lead time in the project approval process.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.