The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is tasked with coordinating the humanitarian aid delivered by United Nations agencies and ensuring the coherence of all humanitarian action in crises. The role of the OCHA was reinforced by the humanitarian reform of the United Nations in 2005 . It is rests upon three main ideas :
Achieving a mechanism of rapid financing for humanitarian emergencies as a result of the implementation of the CERF: the Central Emergency Response Fund for serious crisis (urgent or sudden disasters) or underfinanced crisis (within a limit of a third of the CERF funds). The fund reinforced the ability to give rapid financing answers,. It stands in compliance with the logic of humanitarian assistance coordination. The CERF is only accessible to UN agencies. It is not intended to substitute for their budgets.
Both the CERF and the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) provide financing: they raise annual funds to help contributors schedule, implement and control their activities. They also allow the beneficiaries to monitor distributed aid and Flash Appeals, to structure humanitarian aid coordination during the first three to six months of the emergency period. These two financing mechanisms are also managed by OCHA.
To address natural disasters, the UN humanitarian system also relies on the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), whose role is to identify a body of humanitarian professionals, working for the United Nations, other organisations or governments around the world. The UNDAC appeals to this body to provide assistance during humanitarian crisis in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. The UNDAC forwards information regarding the nature of the disaster and the assessment of the situation, enabling the OCHA to coordinate the humanitarian response.
Update : July 2010