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Revisión de la Respuesta Humanitaria

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La Revisión de la Respuesta Humanitaria es un esfuerzo de revisión sobre la calidad de la respuesta humanitaria ofrecida por las Naciones Unidas frente a desastres naturales y emergencias complejas en el mundo. Fue lanzado en 2005 por el entonces Subsecretario General sobre Asuntos Humanitarios Jan Egeland.

Origen

La percepción que la respuesta humanitaria no siempre responde a los requisitos básicos de las poblaciones afectadas en una manera rápida y que la respuesta dada puede variar considerablemente entre los crisis empujó al Coordinador de Alivio en Emergencias (ERC) lanzar una Revisión de la Respuesta Humanitaria (HRR en inglés) del sistema humanitario global. La revisión fue planeada para evaluar la capacidad de respuesta humanitaria del SNU, ONG, el Movimiento de la Cruz Roja y la Media Luna Roja y otros actores humanitarios claves incluyendo la Organización Internacional de Migraciones (OIM), mapear las brechas, y hacer recomendaciones para responder a ellas.

Metodología

La revisión fue hecha por cuatro consultores independendientes entre febrero y junio 2005. En hacer la revisión, el equipo utilizó una metodología de campo, y el informe se basa sobre los resultado del análisis de los materiales recogidos a través de encuestas, entrevistas, seminarios, documentos de antecedentes y los resultados de varias evaluacioens y ejercicios de lecciones aprendidas. Un proceso interactivo permitió que los consultores entraron en discusión con el IASC, el Grupo de Trabajo de Enlace de Donantes Humanitarios (HLWG) y entre el contexto del G-77, representantes del CAP, UNDAC y los países afectados por el tsunami.

Objeto

La revisión cubrió tanto emergencias complejas como desastres naturales. El equipo dió una atención especial a la revisión del nivel de preparación de las organizaciones humanitarias internacionales para poder predicir los crisis, prevenirlos, mitigar su impacto sobre poblaciones vulnerables y responder de manera eficaz a sus necesidades. En vista del marco de tiempo y recursos limitados, el enfoque de la revisión fue sobre las capacidades del sistema de respuesta internacional y los aspectos relevantes al periodo inicial de una crisis, empezando en un periodo de cuatro semanas y extendiendo hasta un máximo de 18 meses. Esto es un periodo de problemas fundamentales en la respuesta que pueden tener un impacto duradero sobre las poblaciones afectadas.

Enfoque General

El equipo de revisión cree que su estudio debe ser considerado como un insumo inicial de un proyecto de más tamaño. Mientras que provee una imagen aproximada de la familia ONU y otras organizaciones tales como OIM, no permite un mapeo global de la comunidad de ONG y el Movimiento de la Cruz Roja y Media Luna Roja. De la misma manera, la evaluación de las capacidades internacionales no representa la capacidad de respuesta humanitaria global, especialmente considerando que las capacidades locales y regionales en países recipientes juegan un papel importante en la respuesta del sistema humanitario, particularmente en situaciones de desastres naturales. Además, las capacidades de otros actores, tales como el sector privado o los ejercitos, no han sido analizados. Por el lado de los donantes, la revisión puede ser considerado representantivo con relación a los donantes principales tradicionales, pero cubren parcialmente a los donantes nuevos potenciales. Finalmente, la perspectiva de los beneficiarios ha sido considerado indirectamente a través de los hallazgos de varias evaluaciones recientes y ejercicios de lecciones aprendidas y la revisión de alguna literatura de contabilidad.

Hallazgos y Conclusiones Principales

Sin embargo, la cantidad y la calidad de la información recibida son suficientes y relevantes como para permitir la identificación de las tendencias en la respuesta internacional y para sacar conclusiones y recomendaciones a los niveles globales y sectoriales. El equipo considera que algunas de las tendencias presentes al nivel global también están presentes al nivel local, nacional o regional, en los paises or regiones afectados. Por ende, algunas de las conclusiones y recomendaciones identificadas al nivel global también pueden ser aplicables a estos niveles.


6. The screening exercise reveals a mixed image of the present response capacity of the international system, with some positive indicators, but also elements of concern. In particular, it highlights a number of well-known long-standing gaps that the system has failed to address in the past. This may raise questions as to the commitment of the international humanitarian community to make efforts to eliminate hurdles that do not allow for an inclusive, well-linked humanitarian response system to function, grow and thrive. Nevertheless, a positive element is that, both in the humanitarian organizations and in the donor community, there is a sense of urgency on the need to address those 9 failures, thus opening a window of opportunity to move from the analysis of the problems to remedial actions. The challenge is how to build consensus around a number of objectives that the humanitarian organizations and the donors could agree upon to pursue in the near future, for instance in the next three years, and that the recipient countries and the beneficiary populations would consider as responding to their preoccupations and needs. 7. Humanitarian organizations and donors acknowledge that the humanitarian response provided is not good enough and that remedial action is needed and a number of initiatives are currently being taken to address this. Such initiatives focus on accountability to direct beneficiaries, donors and taxpayers, national or local authorities, as well as to governing bodies of the humanitarian organizations. The major challenges are to reconcile different, sometimes contradictory imperatives, to define the appropriate limits of accountability and to ensure that the accountability agenda is driven by the humanitarian principles and the needs of the beneficiaries. 8. In nearly all the organizations, strategies exist or are being developed to address major shortcomings and to improve the quality and timeliness of the response and the sense of direction is well defined and supported by the senior management of these organizations. Nevertheless, the reform process is faced with the usual problems of obtaining the continued engagement of the whole organization and of all the staff, as well as the failure to secure adequate political and financial support from the organizations’ governing bodies and from the donors. 9. While individual initiatives are proceeding in the right direction, a global vision, supported by a plan of action providing an agreed shared response to many of the challenges experienced by all the humanitarian organizations is lacking. The three international humanitarian networks examined (UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and NGOs), as well as the IOM, remain vertical to each other within each network and collaboration between the networks needs to be considerably improved. The humanitarian system has developed sufficient tools and experiences to be able to go a step further and to establish and apply a limited number of benchmarks (and related indicators) to promote progress. Global benchmarks can be built on notions of effectiveness and relevance. 10. The major gap identified is the low level of preparedness of the humanitarian organizations, in terms of human resources and sectoral capacities. In the area of human resources, major shortcomings in managerial capacities are acknowledged. Recruitment policies, in particular during emergencies, fail to provide, in a timely fashion, the number and quality of required staff. Training within organizations, in general, is limited in scope and number of dedicated hours. The voluntary nature of staff deployment for assignments to emergency missions, which is applied by the majority of the organizations, often hampers the speed of response, especially in very difficult and hardship situations. Reliance on the emergency team approach does not completely meet the challenges of effective response and often has the effect of distracting attention from significant deficiencies in performances. 11. Organizations have allowed internal emergency systems to develop in isolation from the overall organizational objectives or realistic resource capabilities. It is not clear whether the current internal realignments, being made to correct the situation, are being done in isolation or in joint discussions with the networks to which the agencies belong. 12. In relation to sectoral capacities, protection capacities are weak and need to be strengthened. Gaps have also been identified in some sectors, including water and sanitation, shelter, camp management and in food aid, nutrition and livelihoods. In addition, there are limits in common services and surge capacities that need to be expanded. 13. As a sector, protection requires special and urgent attention. Specific examples of this are the many instances of gender-violence in Darfur. A complicating element is that the differing perceptions of roles and responsibilities often confuse discussions on the issues. The NGO and the UN communities approach issues on the ground in distinctly different ways. The NGOs generally focus on a lack of ability to provide "protection” in a loosely defined manner. Whereas the UN system, while acknowledging weakness in the actual provision of protection, tend to regard the subject in terms of far more defined institutional roles. Both groups acknowledge the scale of the human resource problem. 10 14. The clear discrepancies between declared and actual capacities in water and sanitation need urgent attention. While there is an almost ritualistic acknowledgement of the importance of the Sphere Standards, many agencies lack the capacity to implement these requirements. The main elements needed to make an immediate impact on preparedness and response capacities in this sector, include the recognition of the fact that the overriding significance of this sector has to be translated into commitment, starting with an active and clearly recognized leadership. In addition, the ongoing training of key staff and systematic dissemination of information on best practices needs to be maintained and equipment for training and immediate response must be readily available. Training should be undertaken at all operational levels and, to the extent possible, be expanded to inter-agency clusters as a means of achieving the most widespread results. 15. Almost all recent operations have disclosed a weakness in the sector of camp management. Currently, there is a lack of a clear sense of ownership for the broader aspects of working with displaced populations in camp situations. The levels of training in site placement, construction of shelters and choice of shelter material vary greatly. Consequently, the task of camp management suffers from a lack of direction and NGOs end up assuming responsibility for activities beyond their competence. The sector needs to be strengthened in relation to standards and general expectations, and agencies should recognize that this sector is essential in almost all international emergencies. 16. The information presented on food aid, nutrition and livelihoods reveals an unclear mix of capacity and a lack of clearly defined approaches to the utilization of the established service resources. This translates into shortfalls in the provision of assistance and the treatment of the sector, in primarily responsive terms, on the part of the smaller agencies. There is also no doubt that the agencies operating within the food sector are providing extensive coverage, but the limited number of operators introduces an element of fragility into these sectors. 17. The assumed capacity of individual organizations regarding surge capacities is not consistent with the actual capacity they possess. Mechanisms for reviewing stockpiles are insufficiently developed so that organizations are unable to respond in a timely manner. In addition, interagency cooperation within the NGO community is not frequently utilized at the headquarters for planning and resource management purposes. Furthermore, the existing stockpile registration system is not accessed sufficiently, given its limited capacity. Finally, it is only recently that joint assessments are being systematically organized. New mechanisms, like the EU initiatives to reinforce its emergency and crisis response mechanisms or the French proposal to establish a standing Humanitarian Force, can be considered as positive elements, in so far as they are designed to expand and support established and well functioning international systems. 18. As far as international humanitarian coordination is concerned, the team believes that there are limited linkages and collaboration between the three humanitarian systems examined (UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, NGOs). However, there is a sense that the time has come for the humanitarian community to work collectively towards an inclusive system-wide coordination mechanism to which all stakeholders can feel a sense of belonging. 19. The lead organization concept encourages the effective use of expertise and technical knowhow of mandated organizations. It needs to be adopted system-wide. This will also facilitate clustering at different levels where this model has a potential to increase efficiency in the use of resources. The ERC, in consultation with the IASC and major stakeholders, could designate an entity as Lead Sector to take charge and coordinate the development of the technical and management expertise and knowhow for the rest of the system. The system will operate at the regional as well as at the country level coordinated by the Humanitarian Coordinators and supported by Field IASC –Humanitarian Country Teams. 20. Although the IASC is the most representative humanitarian forum yet established, it cannot claim to represent the full spectrum of all humanitarian actors. Its functioning by consensus and nonbinding decisions has limited its authority and the impact of its support to the coordination functions of the ERC and the Humanitarian Coordinators. Hence, strengthening the mandate, structure and membership of the IASC at the HQ level and establishing its presence and effectiveness in the field will address a major gap in coordination. 21. Within the UN, including at the Secretariat level, the working relationships of the ERC are judged as good, and humanitarian coordination appears to be working well. The challenge is at the 11 IASC level and in the donors’ community where there is an increasing demand on the ERC leadership to help to build a broader and more inclusive operational humanitarian community. This calls for a strengthening of the function. 22. In its current form and structure, the performance of the UN humanitarian coordination depends too much on the personal qualities and diplomatic skills of the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator. Where these basic qualities exist, the system operates well. Where its performance is dismal, no stakeholder in the non - UN community feels attracted to be part of the system. It is thus in the interest of the humanitarian community to strengthen the system in order to produce a larger number of outstanding Humanitarian Coordinators, to select and train them well in advance of their assignment and provide them with the appropriate tools in order for effective systemic coordination to become the norm. The merged RC/HC position should be reviewed in order to meet a number of conditions required for an RC to be accepted as an HC by the larger humanitarian community. 23. While in general, OCHA has been seen as having made significant progress in a number of areas, it needs to strengthen its back-up support to the field and to the HC as well as its role in monitoring and identifying gaps in the response system, in order to promote appropriate remedial action in particular in the framework of a reformed IASC. 24. In the collaborative approach for IDPs, the international humanitarian coordination system works by goodwill and consensus and depends too often on the HC authority and skills. While its role has to be maintained and reinforced, there is also a need to make progress in designing a more explicit model where, sector operational accountability will be clearly identified at the level of a designated organization, following standards to be agreed upon. Responsibilities to be covered under such a model are planning and strategy development, standard setting, implementation and monitoring as well as advocacy. 25. A number of tools for coordination such as contingency planning and preparedness, jointneeds assessment, CAP/Appeals need to be developed as growing areas of collaboration between the UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, NGOs and IOM. Also a number of operational procedures and practices such as human resource policies and procedures and financial management that the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement are applying can find relevance and use in the UN system. 26. Currently, the model of the UN Integrated Mission does not sufficiently take into account humanitarian concerns and represents a challenge for a more inclusive humanitarian system. In that sense and as a minimum requirement to be met when Integrated Missions are established, it is essential that the DSRSG for Humanitarian Affairs and Development be empowered to ensure that humanitarian space is preserved and the humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality are consistently upheld. 27. On the side of donors, recent initiatives1 indicate a renewed engagement, at least from a large group of traditional donors, to support an improved international response. However a number of inconsistencies in their policies need to be addressed. One such inconsistency relates to the high expectations on quantity and quality of results in humanitarian action and the low priority and very limited support given to the preparedness of the organizations. Another is the insistence on appeals, based on quality and credible assessments from the organizations, and the subsequent lack of support to forgotten or neglected crises, even when the appeals are based on sound needs assessment. An extension of the donor base, including a larger involvement of the private sector, should be actively promoted through common strategies established by the humanitarian organizations and supported by the present traditional donors. III. RECOMMENDATIONS 28. The recommendations presented in the Report are driven by the identified need to promote: 1 For example, the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative (GHDI), the UK proposals for strengthening the humanitarian response capacity, the French proposal to establish a standing International Humanitarian Force or the European Union initiatives to reinforce the EU Disaster and Crisis Response in third countries 12 • A global vision of the necessary reforms and a shared plan of action for the improvement of the system in a reasonably short timeframe • Accountability, in particular towards people in need, bearing in mind the necessity for a balanced and sufficient, including financial, needs based response • The establishment of appropriate mechanisms to measure results, on which a consensus can be built between humanitarian organizations, donors and recipient countries • Preparedness across the system, including but not exclusively, at the level of the international humanitarian organizations matched to appropriate political and financial support • Interoperability within each of the network (UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, NGOs) and between these three systems. One major recommendation emerging from the report is the need to obtain a global mapping of humanitarian response capacities that would cover not only international actions but also national and regional action, the private sector and the military. Such a mapping should also aim at obtaining a more complete picture of the capacities of NGOs. This mapping exercise should be pursued in an appropriate framework, including the IASC. 29. The other key recommendations cover, first and foremost, the development and application of benchmarks and indicators to measure performance. In addition, they address the strengthening of response capacities, with priority placed on human resources. Furthermore, steps to improve coordination of the international response system are identified. Finally, they address the adequacy of available funding to ensure timely response in emergencies. 30. As far as benchmarks are concerned, the review recommends the establishment and application of different sets of benchmarks at the level of the organizations (management benchmarks for preparedness and planning) and of the system (process and impact benchmarks for CAP and other planning/appeal models). In addition, it recommends a limited set of global process benchmarks applicable in the first 3 months of a new emergency, to be field-tested over a period of three years. In the area of human resources the team recommends a review of policies (recruitment, training and rules of assignment to emergency missions) to boost capacities, in particular at managerial, sectoral and field levels. 31. For sectoral capacities, the team recommends to organizations to reassess their declared response capacities against agreed thresholds for operational relevance and to establish appropriate plans of action to fill confirmed gaps in water and sanitation, shelter, camp management and protection and to develop the pre-positioning of essential relief items, common services and larger surge capacities. In addition, organizations are called upon to establish standards and guidelines that would facilitate and promote interoperability. 32. In addressing coordination, the report recommends to review the IASC membership, mandate and decision making system and to assign to it a leading role in monitoring the reform process and promoting it. The report recommends also steps to strengthen the role and the functions of the ERC and of the Humanitarian Coordinators, in order to better reflect the broader basis of the humanitarian community they represent. The terms of reference, the recruitment process and training of the Humanitarian Coordinators and Resident Coordinators should be substantially reviewed. In terms of sectoral coordination, the report recommends the assignment of clear responsibilities to lead organizations at sector level, with a priority in relation to the protection and care of IDPs and the development of cluster models between networks at the sectoral, regional and local levels. 33. In relation to the funding of humanitarian operations, the report recommends progress through a clear engagement of donors, in correcting the imbalanced and insufficient response to forgotten or neglected humanitarian needs. It further recommends that an expansion of the current level for funding of humanitarian crises be considered within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals. Finally, it recommends an expansion of financial support, through the engagement of a larger group of traditional and new donors, including the private sector, for preparedness and rapid reaction activities at the level of individual organizations (preparedness and emergencies funding mechanisms) or at central level (revision and expansion of the CERF). 13 THE REPORT