Thirty-two disaster response experts join the UNDAC network

Following four weeks of pre-course learning, 32 participants from 16 countries, OCHA and partner organizations, such as the UN Environment Programme, World Health Organization, World Food Programme, the UN Operational Satellite Applications Programme, the International Organization for Migration and the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, came together for the first UNDAC Induction course of 2017.

Organized by ESB’s Field Coordination Support Section with the support of the Swiss Government, the course took place from 9 to 21 July in Morges, Switzerland and prepared the incoming members for rapid response coordination within an UNDAC team. During the first week, participants operated in team settings and plenary sessions, and familiarized themselves with the UNDAC methodology, practiced coordination skills and reflected on dilemmas in humanitarian response coordination.

During the second week, participants tested their skills in a simulation exercise set in the secretive country of Klanndestan in the aftermath of a strong earthquake. The exercise, now a three-day event, exposes participants to field conditions with accommodation and On-Site Operations Coordination Centres (OSOCCs) in tents, field assessments using the KoBo data collection and analysis tool, role play and the use of “Klanndeweb,” Klanndestan’s controlled internet. The participants, divided into four UNDAC Teams, operating independent of each other, are challenged to set up and support early coordination in support of the Government and the UN, particularly in relation to the coordination of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams and Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs), coordinating assessments, cluster coordination, liaison with the military and dealing with environmental emergencies. The teams also practice providing a range of stakeholders with situation analysis and advice on needs and priorities for response. In doing so, UNDAC members meet and brief local responders and members of the community, government disaster managers, international humanitarian workers, the media, UN officials and high-level visitors.

As always, the simulation exercise was excellently supported by teams from MapAction, DHL and the International Humanitarian Partnership, and for the first time, by staff from, who had driven their truck with equipment and tents all the way from Luxembourg. In addition, the Swiss Armed Forces and the Morges Fire Brigade supported the simulation with sleeping tents and as emergency response role players.

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Regional USAR Coordination Course in Belarus

The Special Republican Team of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus hosted a regional USAR Coordination Course from 31 July to 4 August in Minsk, Belarus. The event was organized and co-facilitated by the Special Republican Team, EMERCOM of Russia and OCHA’s Field Coordination Support Section and the Coordination and Response Division. It brought together 15 participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. The training delivery methods included presentations, practical exercises, plenary discussions, group work, as well as a simulation exercise to conclude the course. While the language of instruction for the theoretical part was Russian, the simulation exercise was conducted in English.

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UN-CMCoord eCourse Live in Malaysia

The UN-CMCoord eCourse Live was conducted from 17 to 21 July 2017 at the Malaysian Peacekeeping Training Centre (MPC), which brought together 30 participants from Malaysia, Brunei, Pakistan, Vietnam, UK and the US. This collaborative event was put together by the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) and OCHA’s Civil-Military Coordination Section, US PACOM’s Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) and MPC. The course had a blended learning approach where the online components were reinforced on-site with case studies, scenario-based exercises and a synthesis exercise.

Interesting findings coming out from the group exercises Credit: CMCS/RR

CMCS collaborates with peacekeeping training centre in Mali

From 2 to 13 July, two CMCS staff worked with the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix (EMP) in Bamako, Mali. The EMP is one of the three key peacekeeping training centres in West Africa, training blue helmets and police on a regional level to perform in peace operations. Together with the EMP, CMCS redesigned the UN-CIMIC Training Course for peacekeepers harmonizing it with international training standards as stipulated by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). DPKO New York will conduct an on-site review of the course in autumn to certify the UN-CIMIC Course for formal UN recognition. This project will have a direct impact on the ground, carrying humanitarian messaging to UN-CIMIC Officers prior to deployment.

Anne-Sophie Allegre, Marie-Sophie Reck at the EMP/Credit: Paterne Petipe

UN-CMCoord Course held in Vienna, Austria

CMCS organized a UN-CMCoord Course for Europe in Vienna, Austria from 14 to 18 May 2017. 27 participants representing military and government organizations, Red Cross/Crescent Movement, UN Agencies and OCHA discussed CMCoord aspects of current humanitarian crises in Europe and the Middle East.

UN-CMCoord Course
Participants accelerating learning retention with a fishbowl activity Credits: ©OCHA/ESB/CMCS

CMCS participates to the FASTER Training

A CMCS staff member participated at the WFP Functional and Support Training for Emergency Response (FASTER) course in Brindisi, Italy, as a member of the facilitation team. The FASTER is WFP’s flagship course to prepare WFP staff for field deployments. The training course is scenario-based and includes a one-week simulation to a Level-III sudden onset disaster. Other organisations participating as facilitators were UNHCR, German Agro Action, ACTED, as well as the Global Food Security Cluster and the Global Logistics Cluster.

CMCS supports planning of Viking 18 Exercise

A CMCS staff member participated in the Main Planning Conference of the Viking 18 exercise in Bålsta, Sweden, from 17 – 19 May 2017. The Viking 18 is a civilian-military-police exercise in a UN mandated Chapter VII peace operations scenario, with the UN, NATO and the EU as key external actors. The exercise is scheduled to take place in April 2018 in five locations, involving an envisaged participation of 50 countries. As this exercise is based on the comprehensive approach in the spirit of partnership for peace, it is crucial for OCHA to be represented during the early stages of planning to make sure that humanitarian concerns, principles and coordination structures are adequately included and respected, and that context appropriate humanitarian civil-military coordination mechanisms are in place.

CMCS staff member presenting humanitarian principles Photo credits: © Save the Children/Sebastian Derle