Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are relief groups underperforming on emergency response?

International Development Business


Are relief groups underperforming on emergency response?

By Carlos Santamaria08 July 2014
A view of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where many Syrian refugees are staying. A new report by the Médecins Sans Frontières highlights areas where emergency response need improvement. Photo by:Mohamed Azakir / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND
International aid organizations are not responding to humanitarian emergencies as well as they should because they put more emphasis on reporting results and fundraising than actual development work, according to French medical group Médecins Sans Frontières.
MSF  — with a long history of criticizing the U.N. for its role in such situations —  said in a new report published on Monday that humanitarian work on the ground “has been undervalued and under-prioritized” in favor of avoiding risks and securing funding for current and future programs in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Syria.
That’s why the humanitarian response to the crises in these conflict-ridden nations lacks the technical capacity that well-funded top international NGOs in theory should be able to deploy, the survey adds. The report also accused organizations of leaning heavily toward “easier projects” when faced with logistical or access difficulties.
And — as expected — the French medical group singled out the United Nations.
"The current U.N. system inhibits good decision-making, in particular in displacement crises where a number of UN agencies have a responsibility to respond," Joanne Liu, MSF's outspoken international president, noted in the report, while co-author Sandrine Tiller defined the way the world body works in these countries as “just a chain of subcontracts" that passes on the responsibility from U.N. agencies to an implementing iNGO, then a local NGO, “and at the end, there's no one in the field.”
It’s not uncommon for such grave humanitarian emergencies as those in the DRC, South Sudan or Syria to brew sentiments of frustration between and among aid organizations — and MSF in particular has always been quite vocal about how they view the current status quo in emergency work.
Just in the past year, the organization first claimed that U.N. agencies were not delivering on their pledges to prepare adequately for the rainy season in South Sudan, and then accused them of an “appalling performance” in their response to the crisis in the Central African Republic.
Do you agree with MSF? If you are an aid worker responding to a humanitarian emergency, please share your thoughts by leaving us a comment below, joining ourLinkedIn discussion or emailing us at If you wish to remain anonymous, you may contact the author directly at
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About the author

Carlos stamaria 400x400 v2
Carlos Santamaria
As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

AU Assembly Decision, Establishment, and Roadmap\Time for African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

The information listed below are excepts from the African Union 1st African Ministers of Health meeting jointly convened by the AUC and WHO April 14-17, 2014 in Luanda, Angola  to discuss the establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.   Proposed location and roadmap\timeline for implementation are provided in the following proposal annexes.



AU Assembly Decision on ACDCP
                                                                              Assembly/AUDec.499 (XXII)

Decision on the Establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP)
Doc.  Assembly/AU/16/(XXII)Add.4

The Assembly,

1.  RECALLS the Abuja Declaration of 16 July 2013;

2.  TAKES NOTES of the proposal of Ethiopa to host the Centre in Addis Ababa;

3.  STRESSES the urgency of establishing the Centre;

4.  REQUESTS the Commission to work out the modalities, in collaboration of
     with the Governments of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and
     other interested Member States including the legal, structural and financial
     implications relating to the centre and to submit a report in January 2015
     to the Assembly.


The ACDCP could be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2015 if everything goes according to plan. To that end, a roadmap is proposed below:


TASK                                 DESCRIPTION                                     TIME-LINE
Stakeholders meeting   Inaugural meeting to discuss the operationalization of ACDCP.         June 2014

Stakeholders meeting   Meeting of relevant experts to discuss the legal requirements  
                                  and implications.                                                                             June 2014

Situation analysis         Recruitment of a consultant to map the existing regional facilities 
                                  (centres of excellence, capacity building organizations, etc.) providing
                                  support to African countries.
                                  This could include a feasibility study in terms of current national and 
                                  subnational networks available, and cost-benefit analysis of the Centre. 
                                  Recruitment of a consultant to undertake a desk review of disease patterns 
                                  and map hot-spots with a quantification of the work to be done to address 
                                  the disease burden.
                                  This could also include mapping of capacities, taking into account the 
                                  work already done by other stakeholders such as WHO/AFRO in supporting 
                                  countries for capacity assessment                                                   July-August 2014

Stakeholders meeting:
planning                       Based on the outcome of the situation analysis, a site for the headquarters 
                                   will be identified, a human resource plan developed, priority activities identified,
                                   and centres identified.                                                                  September 2014

Financial valuation        Following elaboration of the structure and activities, a financial evaluation may be
                                   carried out to assess the costs of running the ACDCP.                  October 2014

Expanded stakeholders meeting
                                   The meeting is aimed at mobilizing resources. Participants will include 
                                   representatives of countries, AUC, UN agencies, development partners 
                                   and other potential financial contributors.                                       November 2014

Stakeholders technical meeting
                                     The meeting will develop the ACDCP’s standard operating guidelines, staff ToRs 
                                     and guidelines for supporting African countries. The meeting will also develop
                                     procurement plans, human resource recruitment plans, etc.           November 2014

Operationalization         Staff will be recruited, equipment procured, office space secured and demand created.                                                                                                                                       March 2015

Business development    Exploring new area of work, creating demand and mobilizing resources.
                                                                                                                                      On -going

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals
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