OCHA’s global mission
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.
OCHA’s mission is to:
- Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
- Advocate for the rights of people in need.
- Promote preparedness and prevention.
- Facilitate sustainable solutions.
Read more on OCHA’s corporate website.
OCHA in the occupied Palestinian territory
In 2002, OCHA established its Country Office in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, to support international efforts to respond to the humanitarian situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip.
The major drivers of humanitarian vulnerability in the oPt are the protracted occupation, the systematic denial of Palestinian human rights, and continuing conflict, punctuated by frequent outbreaks of violence. In the West Bank, continuing settlement expansion and the lack of a horizon for ending the occupation are major sources of frustration and conflict. In the Gaza Strip, years of blockade and recurrent outbreaks of hostilities have eroded basic infrastructure, service delivery, livelihoods and coping mechanisms. The overall context is that of a protracted protection crisis driven by lack of respect for international law, and a lack of accountability for violations.
OCHA oPt works to ensure a coordinated and effective response to humanitarian needs stemming from the conflict, the occupation and other policies, as well as from natural disasters or extreme weather events.
Areas of activity
1. OCHA coordinates the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP, formerly SRP and CAP) for the oPt, under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator. OCHA coordinated the 2016 HRP on behalf of 79 partners. Since 2003, humanitarian partners in the oPt have raised over $4 billion through OCHA coordinated plans.
OCHA oPt works with a range of operational partners on the ground, including UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to assess and respond to the needs of Palestinians in the oPt. The office facilitates coordination between the many humanitarian organizations to ensure that these needs are addressed as quickly as possible through the provision of food, water and sanitation, emergency shelter and other emergency relief, as well as protection interventions such as legal assistance, psychosocial support and protective presence. It supports annual planning by the Humanitarian Country Team (the forum of international and national humanitarian organizations operating in the oPt) through the Humanitarian Program Cycle and annual contingency plans.
OCHA oPt also supports negotiations with the Israeli, Palestinian and other authorities in the region to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations operating in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – ensuring that they and their relief items are able to reach communities who need assistance quickly and safely. For more information, please visit the website of the Access Coordination Unit.
OCHA helps make sure donor countries make funding available to support humanitarian operations across the oPt.
2. OCHA mobilizes resources through the Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF), which supports top priority projects in the HRP and assists people affected by unforeseen emergencies, and through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). It works with various humanitarian donor countries to ensure that funds are available quickly to enable aid to reach the people who urgently need it.
A total of $7.2 million was mobilized in 2015 through the oPt HF. In 2014, the oPt received through the CERF some $10.8 million to respond to urgent needs resulting from the Gaza hostilities.
OCHA encourages donors to support the HRP, ensuring consistent funding for humanitarian projects implemented by partners.
3. OCHA supports national authorities in outlining disaster preparedness plans.
OCHA is engaged in developing the capacities of the Palestinian Civil Defence in preparing and testing contingency plans, emergency response coordination, and information management, amongst other aspects. OCHA is also working on the regional preparedness dialogue between the State of Palestine, Jordan and Israel to ensure that the necessary practices and procedures are in place to respond effectively to humanitarian needs arising from natural disasters such as earthquakes.
When strong winter storms affect the oPt, OCHA, in coordination with Palestinian Authority governorates, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and Palestinian Civil Defence, operates an online system which provides for reporting, identification of needs and verification of response activities. The system is designed to avoid duplication in meeting needs in weather emergencies and ensure that gaps are identified and addressed.
4. OCHA collects, analyses and shares information, such as the first-of-its-kind vulnerability profile of over 530 communities in Area C in 2013, and coordinating a survey of more than 16,000 households of internally displaced persons in the Gaza Strip in 2015. Since 2005, the office’s Protection of Civilians (PoC) database has served as the humanitarian community’s main source for PoC-related indicators like casualties, settler violence incidents, demolitions and displacement. It is populated with data verified by OCHA’s field teams and published in the weekly Protection of Civilians report, a key monitoring report provided for the humanitarian community. Other key reports are the monthly Humanitarian Bulletin and the Annual Review.
OCHA oPt provides a variety of information management services to support the humanitarian response. These include maps showing the locations of vulnerable communities, collating data on their needs, helping identify gaps in response and collating data relating to incidents of violence and the movement and access of people and essential supplies. Some of OCHA’s databases have been made available through the “Data” section of this website.
5. OCHA advocates for the rights of vulnerable Palestinians, reaching hundreds of thousands of people through briefings, field visits and web-based platforms.
The Country Office promotes adherence amongst the humanitarian community in the oPt to the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence – principles that are critical to ensuring that assistance is able to reach the most vulnerable populations in a safe and timely manner. OCHA oPt also helps humanitarian organizations to implement global humanitarian policy on key issues such as forced displacement and help develop common positions and practice such as on access and movement of humanitarian staff.
In the oPt, as elsewhere in the world, OCHA speaks out on behalf of people in need. It aims to raise awareness of humanitarian needs, how they can be addressed in the immediate term and, importantly, how they can be prevented in future. Through both public and private channels of communication, the office disseminates information and analysis on the humanitarian situation to a range of stakeholders including the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, UN member states, local and international media, the humanitarian community and to communities affected by the humanitarian situation in the oPt. OCHA oPt seeks regular dialogue with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities at various levels to promote respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law, including to protect the civilian population from violence and to facilitate the provision of assistance to those who need it.
How is OCHA funded?
OCHA oPt relies on the generosity of donors to fund its key activities. Click here to read more.