Thematic coordination groups are a key instrument of humanitarian response. They contribute to the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) analysis by providing essential information from needs assessments and monitoring to support the HCT's development of the CAP Strategic Objectives and other policy guidance. Thematic groups bring together all stake-holders working within a defined area of expertise including local authorities, NGOs and UN agencies and are the forum for coordination of every aspect of response formulation including: assessments, data management, strategic planning, setting technical standards; monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of the response; and contingency planning etc .
In oPt, as elsewhere, the thematic groups include clusters, sectors, working groups or task forces. A “cluster” is essentially a “sectoral group” and there should be no differentiation between the two in terms of their objectives and activities. Both have the same .( Terms of Reference (ToR)) However, because of global commitments to humanitarian reform and predictable leadership, country level cluster leads may not opt out of certain provisions of the cluster approach, such as "accountability" or "partnerships" or "provider of last resort". (Global Cluster Approach)) Working groups and task forces are smaller and more narrowly focused than cluster/sectors and are established either as sub-cluster/sectors to concentrate on a specific cluster issue e.g. Child Protection working group within the Protection Cluster or are formed to ensure that a cross-cutting issue is successfully integrated into all cluster/sectors e.g. the Gender task force.
Leaders of the Clusters and Sectors meet regularly to exchange information, review trend analysis, agree upon issues of concern to be brought to the attention of the HCT, discuss joint approaches to multi-sectoral issues such as drought and to agree upon common approaches to cross cutting issues such as disability or gender.
The HCT defines, with the endorsement of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, appropriate thematic groups according to the specific humanitarian context in the country concerned. In oPt the following clusters, sectors, working groups or task forces have been established.