Posted by: Nathaniel | March 22, 2008 as a transition tool from UN-OCHA?

Could be used as a transition tool for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs? 

While the United Nations is routinely assailed for bureaucratic clunkiness, inefficiency, or even corruption, its important to recognize the absolutely vital role that its offices play in “complex man-made emergencies” (also known as “wars”) and natural disaster relief.

Over the last decade, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has played an important role bringing together local and international humanitarian actors in disasters, emergencies and conflict zones around the world. The UN OCHA is charged with bringing together humanitarian actors in emergency situations to ensure that the greatest need is met with the least waste and overlap possible.

In northern Uganda, I have seen how valuable and vital even the simple task of convening NGOs for a weekly or bi-monthly “check-in” can be. It has enabled a level of communication, transparency, and collaboration that simply didn’t exist before.

Like other emergency-focused institutions however, UNOCHA has a mandate that ends osetnsibly when the emergency ends. Who plays this coordination function when the UN leaves?

While couldn’t actually coordinate meetings, I think a tool that provides wide-ranging information for organizations across the spectrum – from US-led community fundraising efforts to Ugandan nonprofits to international organizations – could play a vital role in supporting the coordination efforts of local NGO forums.


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