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Dear all,

Welcome to this latest issue of our United Nations Disaster Coordination (UNDAC) Newsletter!

We are happy to update you on a number of initiatives, activities and changes which have occurred over the first half of 2018. As many of you are aware, OCHA has gone through several major changes to become a more accountable, agile, decentralized, effective, transparent and collaborative organization.

In this process, the Emergency Services Branch (ESB) has become the Emergency Response Support Branch – ERSB. The three Sections of the branch have become more integrated and will all be engaged in UNDAC-related activities. Our mission remains to bring local, regional and global responders together to prepare for and rapidly respond to emergencies. Our priority is to work across response networks before, during and after emergencies, and we will continue developing guidance and tools to advance operational and technical excellence in crisis response. Within our reformed branch, focus has been given to refining and strengthening our regional outreach, working closely with OCHA’s regional offices and regional partner organizations. The structural changes will be explained in further details in this Newsletter.

In terms of deployments, 2018 has been somewhat quiet. We have had two UNDAC missions: in Papua New Guinea and Colombia, and have been busy with a number of training activities to induct new UNDAC members, strengthen the knowledge of existing members, and foster interoperability and coordination among our partners across the world. We are furthermore finalizing the UNDAC strategy for 2018-2021 with clearer realignment to the other OCHA surge mechanisms and to comply with the role of the OCHA regional offices providing the first line of surge. 

To end, I would like to remind all UNDAC Members that they are expected to comply with the highest ethical standards and are bound to the UN Standards of Conduct when on mission or taking part in trainings. We are working to further strengthen the understanding of and compliance with these standards among UNDAC members. In the near future, we will share with you mandatory training and guidance materials on issues such as Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Harassment and Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest. For now, please read this short guidance document on the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service. Please do not hesitate to contact your UNDAC Regional Focal Point in ERSB should you have any questions or inquiries with regards to its content.