As the 2017 comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your most valued support during the last 12 months. ESB’s relationships with our operational partners, technical networks, governments, donors, NGOs, private sectors  and regional organizations are vital in making our achievements possible.

jesper-dec2017 was quite a year for all of us at ESB. We’ve been through many changes and developments, but also achieved a huge amount. Particular highlights have included 12 UNDAC Missions to 12 countries, surge deployment of more than 130 people to more than 30 countries; 6 CMCoord support missions to 6 countries/region; 7 environmental emergencies missions to 7 countries; 13 IEC/IER Classification of USAR Teams, some 60 training & exercise and launch of 3 online training courses. ESB facilitated two international conferences in 2017. I was delighted with the large and very diverse participation and interesting discussion at the Environmental Emergencies Forum in Nairobi, co-hosted with UN Environment.  The HNPW 2017 was also very productive and successful in bringing together more than 1200 participants to find solutions to some of the most pressing global humanitarian challenges and ensure progress of the respective technical networks forming this event. I hope you will join us again at the next HNPW  in February 2018, where the focus will on how to strengthen collaboration between existing and emerging partners and network. You can read more and register on https://www.unocha.org/humanitarian-networks-and-partnerships-week-hnpw

The OCHA downsizing exercise did impact ESB, but I would like to thank you all for your significant support and dedication during these changing times. As part of the change management process “creating a better OCHA”, ESB will be reorganized as the Emergency Response Support Branch, and will be an integrated part of the Coordination Function of the organization in 2018. The change process is still ongoing as we enter into 2018, and we will continue to keep you updated. While our Branch will be reorganized into new structure, we will continue most of our ESB functions including the maintenance and enhancement of the strong network of partners and stakeholder.  Partnership and relationship-building with various stakeholders, while its end-result is less visible, will enable OCHA to support capacity building and deliver of response in emergencies and hence will continue to be one of the top priorities for our new Branch. A good indication of this is the nearly 40.000 users of the Virtual OSOCC that facilitate communication across networks and organizations. I am sure by working together and keeping focused on our priorities we can realise our shared goal which is to help disaster-affected populations.

With best wishes for a prosperous 2018

Jesper