Section Activities

Activation and Coordination Support Unit (ACSU)
ACSU launches VO Interactive Discussions 

Activation and Coordination Support Unit (ACSU) continues to play a pivotal role in the coordination of the HNPW. With less than 2 weeks remaining until its commencement, participating networks are gearing up to welcome experts to their sessions. To further complement the theme of the HNPW as a cross-disciplinary and inter-network event, ACSU’s latest initiative is the launch of VO (Virtual-OSOCC) based interactive discussion which encourages partners and networks to engage in critical knowledge-sharing and disseminate the logic behind each session agenda. It also provides a platform for new networks to raise their profile within the community and familiarise their work prior to the meeting in February.

Discussions for all 23 participating networks and 6 Focus Task Forces, as well as the thematic sessions have been developed. Registered participants to the HNPW are encouraged to join their respective sessions of interest and share their ideas or address a pressing concern to the anticipated community at

ACSU will continue to monitor and moderate the accelerating momentum of the HNPW through the VO. Any queries regarding the HNPW discussions should be addressed to Thomas Peter, Lorena Abalos and Rocio Rebollo Perez at

Civil Military Coordination Section (CMCS):
Standards on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (CM-Coord)

The Humanitarian CMCoord Standards Drafting Committee held a productive two-day workshop in Rome from 19 to 20 January. The event was an opportunity for the members of the Committee to work collaboratively on the draft of the Standards prior to presenting these at the annual meeting of the Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination which will be organized on 9 February during the HNPW. It also provided opportunities to discuss how the Standards project will be taken forward and validated through a six-month verification process that will see them tested in a variety of environments, such as field operations and simulation exercises, culminating in a validation conference in Oslo in September, 2017. The verification process is supported by the Norwegian Government, whose representatives were present at the workshop in Rome.

Members of the Standards Drafting Committee. Credit: OCHA/Colin Richards

Humanitarian CM-Coord support mission to Haiti – Response to Hurricane Matthew

A CMCS team member was deployed to Haiti from 28 October to 9 December to support the OCHA team with CMCoord related activities, together with an Emergency Response Team. The mission focused mainly on the uneven use of armed escorts by some humanitarian actors.

Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti 4 October 2016, leaving an estimated 1.4 million Haitians in need of humanitarian assistance, mostly in the South West part of the country. After cases of lootings and mobs, some humanitarian organizations started to resort to armed escorts a week after the hurricane. Escorts were mostly provided by MINUSTAH military and police components and the Haitian National Police (HNP). The main challenges of the mission consisted in making the best use of the limited military assets, while implementing a strategy to phase out from the use of escorts. To this end, CMCoord structures and mechanisms to enable dialogue between humanitarian and military / police actors were implemented and maintained, and several work sessions on the IASC Guidelines on the Use of Armed Escorts and on alternatives to escorts were notably organized. Although some humanitarian actors are still compelled to use armed escorts in some cases, the increased investment in alternatives, such as community engagement resulted in a sensible diminution in the use of armed escorts.

Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS)
The International Humanitarian Partnership Mission to Haiti – Hurricane Matthews

The International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) is a voluntary multinational network between seven governmental emergency management agencies in Europe, active in the field of humanitarian assistance. The agencies are part of, funded by, and supported ty their respective governments. IHP has a strong capacity to support the United Nations, the European Union and other international organisations during emergency situations. Standardised modules, like large base camps housing up to 300 international aid workers, and the informal and flexible network make it possible for IHP to respond quickly to crises and disasters worldwide.

IHP was called last October – amongst other UNDAC partners – to support the initial response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. At the request of the United Nations, IHP dispatched and managed a base camp in the city of Jérémie that hosted more than 850 guests/nights in support of 30 different humanitarian organizations, of whom 14 ran their entire operation from the camp. In collaboration with UNDAC, World Food Programme (WFP), the Logistics Cluster and the Emergency Telecoms Clusters and Télécoms Sans Frontières, a number of services were provided to the humanitarian community. The light base camp included accommodation and other facilities. Thirteen Prefabs was set-up for office use – transforming the camp into the ‘Joint UN office compound Jérémie’. At the end of the IHP mission, the camp was handed over to the WFP.

In line with IHP’s mandate, the mission was deemed a success to combining national strengths to enhance international emergency response. The IHP countries involved in this mission were Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia and the United Kingdom.

In an effort to continuously improve the service delivery and the IHP standards, an After Action review was conducted early January in Denmark, hosted by Danish Emergency Management Agency. A series of measures were discussed to improve the speed of delivery and decision making process between the different partners involved. In addition, the quality standards and in particular provision of food and medical support were discussed. To follow up, all of the IHP member countries will be meeting during the HNPW 2017.

Credit: IHP

UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit (JEU)
Table-Top Exercise on the use of Chemical and Biological Weapons

Representatives of ESB participated in a two-day inter-agency tabletop exercise, hosted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), focusing on the use of chemical and biological weapons in protracted crisis. Representatives of 18 international organizations came together to identify challenges and opportunities in coordinating international response in case of a terrorist attack which involves chemical or biological agents.

The exercise explored, in detail, how different mechanisms would provide assistance to an affected country. Specifically, participants identified options for exchanging of information, coordinating assessments, planning of the response and communicating jointly. The exercise showed that the response would be very dependent on the mechanisms involved and that there is room to enhance the interoperability of response organizations. Further, it highlighted how the tools employed by the humanitarian response system could be very useful in case of a technological or man-made accident (these tools include the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination, UNDAC, Mechanism, the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre, OSOCC).

The exercise was conducted under the auspices of the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, with financial support of Canada. The tabletop exercise conclusions will further feed into the work of the task force, where development of additional guidelines, planning documents and tools is foreseen.

Credit: UN-CTITF

Surge Capacity Section (SCS)
GenCap–ProCap 2017 Appeal

In January, the Inter-Agency Standby Capacity Unit, hosted by ESB, will issue their annual funding appeal for the Gender Capacity (GenCap) and Protection Capacity (ProCap) projects. The projects are an inter-agency initiative established, respectively, in 2005 (ProCap), and 2007 (GenCap), through a partnership between OCHA and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The projects have been privileged to have donors that have remained engaged in contributing to their success. As the projects operate on a three-year strategy, the Inter-Agency Standby Capacity Unit will be seeking funding on a multi-year basis.

Funds requested for 2017 will benefit programmes related to gender mainstreaming of all sectors of humanitarian response, as well as to strengthen the collaborative response of protection agencies and non-protection mandated organizations, coordinated through the deployment of Senior Advisers. In 2017, GenCaps aims to have 200 months of adviser deployments, while ProCap hopes to ensure 190 months of deployments, with each deployment lasting 6 to 12 months.

In 2017, GenCap will continue to support gender mainstreaming through: providing strategic advice to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCT) and Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs); support sectors/clusters at country and global levels; gender training and capacity building; supporting the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC); and,  promoting ownership and awareness in Gender Equality Programming (GEP). ProCap’s key areas of expertise includes guidance on protection to: HCT protection strategy; Global Protection Cluster (GPC); protection cluster coordination and strategy; protection mainstreaming; IDP policy and strategy; child protection; and, developing protection capacity.

These initiatives will continue in 2017, with the criteria for deployments to be based on needs, and according to requests received from UN Country Teams that are vetted by the Inter-agency Steering Committee using a prioritization criteria.

Provision of Stand-by Partnership Surge Capacity

The Stand-by Partnership Programme (SBPP) provides surge capacity support to United Nations agencies responding to humanitarian emergencies through the deployment of stand-by personnel. Each Stand-by Partner (SBP) maintains its own roster of humanitarian professionals, who can quickly deploy to fill emergency staffing needs and gaps in UN operations. The collaboration between UN agencies and SBPs is an integral component to any rapid response mechanism. Participant UN organisations include: FAO, OCHA, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHABITAT, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNWomen, UNRWA, WFP, WHO as well as IOM. There are over 40 participant Stand-by Partners which are either government or non-government agencies and include: CANADEM – Canada’s Civilian Reserve, Care Australia, DEMA – Danish Emergency Management Agency, DFID – UK Department for International Development , DRC – Danish Refugee Council, Ericsson Response, Finn Church Aid, ICRU – Icelandic Crisis Response Unit, iMMAP – Information Management and Mine Action Programs, International Medical Corps, iMMAP, Irish Aid, MapAction, Norwegian Church Aid, MSB – Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, NRC – Norwegian Refugee Council, Qatar Charity, RedR Australia, SDC/HA – Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, White Helmets-Argentina, ZIF – Center for International Peace Operations.

Expected outcomes from the HNPW 2017

The Stand-by Partnership Annual Consultation (AC) will continue to build on past years consultations. Sessions will include a focus on Duty of Care, World Humanitarian Summit outcomes and its relevance on the SBP, performance monitoring and training support. The AC will take place on 9 February and is open only to focal points from UN Agencies and Standby-Partners who are currently part of the SBPP. Further details on the agenda will be shared shortly.

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