Dear all,

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on changes in Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS) and priorities for the coming period.

The last few months have brought some changes to FCSS staffing. Yosuke Okita – Asia Focal point – has finished his period as a JPO with FCSS and joined the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) Management Team in the ASEAN Secretariat, based in Jakarta, as Programme Coordinator. In addition, Christophe Schmachtel – Americas Focal point has agreed to support the World Health Organization with the implementation of the concept of Emergency Medical Teams. We are so fortunate to have identified highly qualified replacements. Olga Prorovskaya, whom some of you might know from her time with the OCHA regional office in Almaty, has joined us some weeks ago, and Gintare Eidimtaite will join FCSS on 1 August as focal point for the Americas. Further, Hanako Kataoka-Hafiz – INSARAG Administrative focal point –  has taken some well-deserved leave, and is temporarily being replaced by Wisdom Atutomu. We are taking advantage of the changes to introduce slight adjustments of how we organize ourselves in FCSS to be even more effective in providing support to our networks, UNDAC members, INSARAG teams and Governments. Here you will find the draft of the new organizational structure: FCSS Organigramme

The past few months have been somewhat less busy with emergency deployments with emergency response missions to the Chile Forest Fires, the cyclone response in Madagascar and the floods in Peru. It has allowed us to actively follow up on the outcomes of the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week that took place last February in Geneva and that most of you attended. The INSARAG National accreditation process is taking shape and the first countries have already initiated pilot accreditation processes. The INSARAG Training Working Group has completed their work on the development of the USAR Coordination concept and a series of Trainings of Trainers in the three regions has been completed. Meanwhile USAR teams are embracing the introduction of KoBo, which will be a requirement for future classifications from 2018.

We have further managed to negotiate a new agreement for a combined Medevac and life insurance for UNDAC members on mission. You might also have noticed some new features on the Virtual OSOCC including the UNDAC Wall where we encourage all UNDAC members to share information. We are just about to go live with the UNDAC Talks, where we will be inviting selected people to provide a “Ted Talk” presentation on current topics that will be of interest to our networks.

We have had discussions with the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) regarding a more formal participation of our operational partners in the UN security framework. While UNDSS agrees that UNDAC partners organizations can participate in the national security system, they are unfortunately not in a position to formalize such arrangements unless staff are deployed under UN Contract.

As you may know, OCHA is going through an important change and our strategic plan for 2018-2021 was presented as a draft to donors last week. This new strategic plan will lead to some organizational adjustments that will be discussed in the coming months. FCSS will not hesitate to inform you as the outcome of this Change Management process becomes more clear.

I cannot conclude my note without mentioning the 25th year anniversary of the creation of UNDAC. We are planning to develop a book to capture some of the highlights of UNDAC and its impact over the last 25 years and we will reach out to some of you for inputs and stories from UNDAC missions.