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. [1] The resolution was designed to strengthen the UN’s response to complex emergencies and natural disasters . Earlier UN organisms with similar tasks Were the Department of Humanitarian Affairs ( DHA ) and Its predecessor, the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator ( UNDRC). In 1998, due to reorganization, DHA merged into OCHA and was designed to be a focal point on major disasters. It is a sitting observer of the United Nations Development Group . [2]

Aftermerging with the DHA, its mandate is expanded to encompass the coordination of humanitarian response , policy development and humanitarian advocacy . The agency’s activities include organization and monitoring of humanitarian funding, and coordination and rapid-response teams for emergency relief. Since 29 May 2015, OCHA is led by Stephen O’Brien as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG / ERC), appointed for a five-year term.

From 2013 to 2016, OCHA organized the World Humanitarian Summit that was held in Istanbul , Turkey , on May 23 and 24, 2016.

Staff and country offices

OCHA is led by the Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator , since 29 May 2015 by Stephen O’Brien . It has 2 offices in New York and Geneva, 8 regional offices, 32 field offices, 23 humanitarian adviser teams, and 3 liaison offices. [3]


As of June 2016, OCHA has 2,300 staff spread across the world in over 60 countries. [4]

Country offices

Major OCHA country offices are located in all continents , among others in Afghanistan , Central African Republic , Chad , Colombia , Democratic Republic of Congo , Ethiopia , Ivory Coast , Palestinian Territories , Sri Lanka , Sudan (including a sub-office in South Sudan ) Capital, Juba ), Syria , and Zimbabwe , while regional offices are located in Panama City , Dakar , Cairo,Johannesburg , and Bangkok . [5] 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, Humanitarian News and Analysis Service [6] (1995-2014) Since 1 January 2015, IRIN now operates as an independent news service and is no longer affiliated with OCHA. [7]
  • INSARAG, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group
  • ReliefWeb , a leading source of time-critical humanitarian information on global crises and disasters. ReliefWeb is a 24/7 service that provides the latest reports, maps, infographics, and videos from trusted sources, as well as jobs and training programs for humanitarians. [8] (1996)
  • Central Emergency Response Fund , a humanitarian fund established by the United Nations General Assembly to 1) promote early action and response to reduce loss of life; 2) enhance response to time-critical requirements; and 3) strong core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises (2006)
  • Humanitarian Reform seeks to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response by ensuring greater predictability , accountability and partnership .
  • Who does What Where Do You Get Your Data? The key information which is important to assess and ensure which humanitarian needs are (in which location) which is also universally referred to as the 3W (Who does What Where). The integrated Contact Management Directory, complements the 3W database, making it easy for the user to navigate through the application. (2006) [9]
  • Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets (CODs) are critical datasets that are used to support the work of humanitarian actors across multiple sectors. They are considered 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 specific sector or otherwise. [10]
  • Since 2004, OCHA has partnered with the Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistanceto facilitate OCHA’s Civil Military Coordination (UN-CMCoord) race in the Asia-Pacific Region. The UN-CMCoord Course is designed to address the need for coordination between international humanitarian humanitarian actors, especially UN humanitarian agencies, and international humanitarian forces. This role plays a critical role in building capacity in the field of effective coordination of humanitarian and military operations. coordination. [11]
  • 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. [12]

Humanitarian innovation in organizations

Shifting business models based on public demand: There is a growing amount of humanitarian emergencies and the old model.The OCHA encourages humanitarian innovation within organizations. For organizations, it is a way of identifying and solving problems while changing business models to adapt to new opportunities. In OCHA’s occasional policy paper Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art, they list the reasons why organizations are moving towards providing their own kind of humanitarian service through innovation:

  • Increased contributions from the private sector: Private organizations are driven by their obligation to corporate social responsibility .
  • Developing partnerships within organizations: Partnerships lead to new ideas and solutions to problems.
  • Trend towards developing innovative technologies: Technology allows people to respond to emergencies quicker.

They also list potential challenges associated with these changes:

  • Humanitarian innovation requires a different market structure: It is assumed that there is no incentive for private organizations to participate in humanitarian innovation.
  • Inequalities in power can stimulate conflict: There is no general principle for ethics in innovation. If humanitarian innovation is carried out incorrectly, there can be consequences to communities, individuals, or the system at large.
  • This is one of the most important humanitarian issues in the world. [13]

International dialing code

The OCHA has been assigned its own international calling code +888. Telephone numbers in the country888 “country code” will be assigned to your country. The +888 code will be implemented by Voxbone . [14]

See also

  • Civil defense
  • Humanitarian aid
  • World Humanitarian Summit


  1. Jump up^ United Nations General Assembly Session 46 Resolution 182Strengthening of the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations A / RES / 46/182 19 December 1991. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
  2. Jump up^ UNDG Members. Undg.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “OCHA Annual Report 2015” . ReliefWeb . 2016-06-21. p. 5 . Retrieved 2017-01-04 .
  4. Jump up^ “OCHA Annual Report 2015” . ReliefWeb . 2016-06-21. p. 14 . Retrieved 2017-01-04 .
  5. Jump up^ “Where We Work – All Countries” . OCHA . Retrieved April 21, 2015 .
  6. Jump up^ Redesigning ReliefWeb. Reliefweb.int (1 September 2007). Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  7. Jump up^ [1]IRIN News. Retrieved 10 Jun 2016.
  8. Jump up^ “About Us”. ReliefWeb. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  9. Jump up^ “Who Does What Where?” Database Archived22 November 2007 at theWayback Machine.
  10. Jump up^ Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets
  11. Jump up^ “Center for Excellence” . COE . Retrieved 2009-11-02 .
  12. Jump up^ “About OCHA oPt” Archived9 April 2014 at theWayback Machine.. Retrieved 11 November 2013
  13. Jump up^ “Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art”. Retrieved 9 November 2014
  14. Jump up^ “Voxbone Press Release” . Voxbone . Retrieved 2011-07-05 .

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