United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a United Nations (UN) body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The resolution was designed to strengthen the UN's response to complex emergencies and natural disasters, being a natural progression of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) which replaced the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRC). In 1998, due to reorganisation, DHA merged into the OCHA and was designed to be the UN focal point on major disasters. Its mandate was expanded to also include the coordination of humanitarian response, policy development and humanitarian advocacy. It is a sitting observer of the United Nations Development Group.
OCHA is therefore an inter-agency body, serving UN agencies and NGOs in the humanitarian domain.
Staff and Country Offices
OCHA is headed by the Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, currently Valerie Amos.
As of September 2013 OCHA has some 1,900 staff, distributed across the world.
Major OCHA country offices are located in Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Palestinian territories, Sri Lanka, Sudan (including a sub-office in Southern Sudan's capital Juba), Uganda, Syria, and Zimbabwe, while regional offices are located in Panama City, Dakar, Cairo, Johannesburg, and Bangkok. OCHA also has some liaison and support staff in New York and Geneva.
OCHA has built up a range of services in the execution of its mandate. Some of the larger ones are:
- IRIN, Integrated Regional Information Networks, a humanitarian news and analysis service (1995)
- INSARAG, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group
- ReliefWeb time-critical humanitarian information on Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters (1996)
- Central Emergency Response Fund (2006)
- Humanitarian Reform seeks to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response by ensuring greater predictability, accountability and partnership.
- Who does What Where Database and Contact Management Directory, To ensure that appropriate and timely humanitarian response is delivered during a disaster or emergency situation, information must be managed efficiently. The key information that are important to assess and ensure that humanitarian needs are met in any emergency/disaster are, to know which organizations (Who) are carrying out what activities (What) in which locations (Where) which is also universally referred to as the 3W (Who does What Where). The Who does What Where database (3W) is one product that is universally agreed to be the most important priority for any co-ordination activity. The integrated Contact Management Directory, complements the 3W database, making it easy for the user to navigate through the application.(2006)
- Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets The Common Operational Datasets (CODs) are critical datasets that are used to support the work of humanitarian actors across multiple sectors. They are considered a de facto standard for the humanitarian community and should represent the best-available datasets for each theme. The Fundamental Operational Datasets (FODs) are datasets that are relevant to a humanitarian operation, but are more specific to a particular sector or otherwise do not fit into one of the seven COD themes.
- Since 2004, OCHA has partnered with the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance to facilitate OCHA’s Civil Military Coordination (UN-CMCoord) course in the Asia-Pacific Region. The UN-CMCoord Course is designed to address the need for coordination between international civilian humanitarian actors, especially UN humanitarian agencies, and international military forces in an international humanitarian emergency. This established UN training plays a critical role in building capacity to facilitate effective coordination in the field by bringing together approximately 30 practitioners from the spectrum of actors sharing operational space during a humanitarian crisis and training them on UN coordination mechanisms and internationally recognized guidelines for civil military coordination.
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory (OCHAoPt). OCHA’s Country Office in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), established in 2002 to support international efforts to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the oPt.
International Dialing Code
The OCHA has been assigned its own international calling code +888. Telephone numbers in the +888 "country code" will be assigned to agencies providing humanitarian relief. The +888 code will be implemented by Voxbone.
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 182 session 46 Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations on 19 December 1991
- UNDG Members. Undg.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- http://www.unocha.org/about-us/who-we-are retrieved 11 September 2013
- OCHA – Afghanistan. Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA-Brurundi. Ochaonline2.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Central African Republic (OCHA-CAR). Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Chad. Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Colombia. Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Democratic Republic of Congo (OCHA – DRC). Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- Ethiopia. Unocha.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- Eritrea. Unocha.org (24 October 2011). Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Ivory Coast.[dead link]
- OCHA – Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA-OPT)
- OCHA – Sri Lanka. Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- OCHA – Sudan. Ochaonline.un.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- Uganda. Unocha.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- Zimbabwe. Unocha.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- Redesigning ReliefWeb. Reliefweb.int (1 September 2007). Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
- "Center for Excellence". COE. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- About OCHA oPt. Retrieved 11 November 2013
- "Voxbone Press Release". Voxbone. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- OCHA Official Website
- IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks
- OCHA Common Operational Datasets
- Syria Crisis Overview
- Humanitarian Response