Looking back over the first seven months of 2016, FCSS can celebrate several successes. The INSARAG network and Emergency Medical Team have delivered a successful side event at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and we have rapidly responded to natural disasters in Fiji and Ecuador…to name but a few. The INSARAG Steering group launched several initiatives including the establishment of framework for domestic classifications, recognition of Light USAR Teams, defining INSARAG capacity building, and the concept of “beyond the rubbles”, as well as support for the close cooperation with the WHO Emergency Medical team concept. As INSARAG Secretariat we are glad to recognize the external classification of two USAR teams that recently underwent the exercise, one is Emercom Siberia classified this September as Medium USAR team and the other is the Malaysia SMART team classified as Heavy team last June. The New UNDAC Team leader’s course was piloted this spring hosted by the government of the Netherlands, while the first of two Induction courses took place in Singapore hosted by the Singapore Civil Defence Force. We have completed the series of Consolidation courses and are in the process of developing the next round of refresher training courses, which is expected to have more field operational focus.

A Functional Review of OCHA was commissioned by Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien shortly after he took office in July 2015. The overall purpose of the Functional Review is to improve OCHA’s effectiveness and efficiency by ensuring that it has the optimal structure, resources and capacities to deliver on its mandate and commitments, which emanate from GA Resolution 46/182 and OCHA’s 2014-2017 Strategic Framework. The aim of the Functional Review is not to evaluate OCHA’s performance to date, but rather to identify existing challenges and to specify opportunities for improving the organization’s long term effectiveness. On the basis the recommendations of the review, and following the final consultations at OCHA’s Global Management Retreat late August, an implementation plan will be developed to address the issues identified in the review. There is a clear pathway to resolve most of these challenges within a relatively short time.  Some, however, may require longer-term solutions and sustained efforts to address them.

OCHA’s current financial situation is tight and the organization might be facing a deficit in 2017 without additional income in 2016. As such, FCSS had to reduce its budget and activities for the second half of the year. An updated calendar of FCSS’ activities in 2016 is attached to this newsletter (add link), together with a new organigramme (link) of the Section reflecting most recent staff movements. Claudia and Majid left FCSS at the end of August. Ben will temporarily be taking over as the training Focal point with the OCHA Surge Capacity Section, while George Murray temporarily will be joining the FCSS team as focal point for the Middle East and Central Asia and supporting Peter with the UNDAC System.

The second Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 1 to 4 February, 2016. The purpose of the event was to provide a platform for networks and partnerships to explore ways to strengthen their interoperability, and to improve their cooperation in areas of common interest. The event brought together 825 experts and members of various emergency response networks from national institutions and governments. The HNPW 2017 is planned for 6 – 10 February in Geneva. Its main focus will be on follow up to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), and examine how the humanitarian networks and partnerships can contribute or support the implementation of WHS recommendations. Please note that the UNDAC Advisory Board will take place on Tuesday 7 February, while the INSARAG Steering Group Meeting on Thursday 9 February 2016.

We continue to collaborate closely with our Operations Support Partners who throughout the years have been supporting  UNDAC activities, both in the preparedness and response phases. We now bring our partners together on an annual basis during the HNPW in Geneva. This Operations Support network is featured on the HNPW website where you can also find a new brochure that talks about the network, available here: http://hnpw.org/?speaker=operational-support-partners). As we continue seeking ways to ensure the best support possible is provided to you during missions, we are currently in discussions with the NGO Atlas Logistics for a possible partnership. This new partnership would strengthen the Support Function of the OSOCC as well as the Logistics Cell. Efforts are also continuing in the implementation of our regional strategy of strengthening Operations support in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.