United Nations

A/50/203/Add.1-E/1995/79/Add.1


General Assembly
Economic and Social Council

Distr. GENERAL  

27 June 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


GENERAL ASSEMBLY  ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fiftieth session  Substantive session of 1995
Item 20 (a) of the preliminary  Item 5 of the provisional
  list*        agenda**
STRENGTHENING OF THE COORDINATION  SOCIAL, HUMANITARIAN AND
  OF HUMANITARIAN AND DISASTER    HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:
  RELIEF ASSISTANCE OF THE UNITED    REPORTS OF SUBSIDIARY
  NATIONS, INCLUDING SPECIAL     BODIES, CONFERENCES AND
  ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE:    RELATED QUESTIONS
  STRENGTHENING OF THE COORDINATION
  OF EMERGENCY HUMANITARIAN
  ASSISTANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS
/...  A/50/203/Add.1
  E/1995/79/Add.1
  English
  Page
A/50/203/Add.1
E/1995/79/Add.1
English
Page


    Participation of volunteers, "White Helmets", in activities
    of the United Nations in the field of humanitarian relief,
     rehabilitation and technical cooperation for development

Report of the Secretary-General

Addendum


CONTENTS

    Paragraphs  Page

  I.  INTRODUCTION ..........................................  1 -23

 II.  VIEWS AND COMMENTS ON THE "WHITE HELMET" INITIATIVE ...    3 -103

  A.  Views expressed by Governments ....................  4 - 53


                       

      *   A/50/50/Rev.1.

     **   E/1995/100.


95-19314 (E)   100795/...
*9519314*

CONTENTS (continued)

                                                                Paragraphs
Page

  B.  Views expressed by intergovernmental organizations      64

  C.  Views expressed by entities within the United
    Nations system ....................................  7 - 104

III.  DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND UNITED NATIONS
  VOLUNTEERS:  PARTNERS IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
  OPERATIONS ............................................  11 - 155

  A.  Department of Humanitarian Affairs ................  12 - 136

  B.  United Nations Volunteers .........................  14 - 156

 IV.  STRENGTHENING NATIONAL AND REGIONAL STAND-BY
  ARRANGEMENTS ..........................................  16 - 426

  A.  Experience ........................................  16 - 226

  B.  Areas of possible utilization .....................  23 - 26  8

  C.  Coordination arrangements for the "White Helmet"
    initiative ........................................  27 - 289

  D.  Financing .........................................  29 - 3010

  E.  Databases and other arrangements to facilitate the
    rapid utilization and deployment of "White Helmets"  31 - 3710

  F.  Training programmes for "White Helmets" ...........  38 - 3911

  G.  Status and security of "White Helmets" ............  40 - 4212

  V.  CONCLUSIONS ...........................................  43 -4613

I.  INTRODUCTION


1.  In resolution  49/139 B of 20  December 1994, entitled "Participation of
volunteers, 'White  Helmets', in  activities of  the United  Nations in  the
field of humanitarian  relief, rehabilitation and technical cooperation  for
development", the  General Assembly,  inter alia,  requested the  Secretary-
General to  submit a report  to the Economic and Social  Council at its next
substantive session,  incorporating the views  expressed by Governments  and
appropriate  intergovernmental organizations  and  relevant  entities within
the  United Nations  system, in  particular the  Department of  Humanitarian
Affairs  of  the  Secretariat and  the United  Nations  Volunteers programme
(UNV),  on ways and  means of  strengthening national  and regional stand-by
arrangements, including the  establishment and full utilization of  national
volunteer corps, in the area of  emergency humanitarian assistance, as  well
as in  the promotion of  a smooth transition from  relief to rehabilitation,
reconstruction  and  development, bearing  in  mind  existing  mandates  and
activities of the United Nations system.

2.  The General Assembly invited the Secretary-General, in this context,  to
include in his report the results of his assessment of the potential of:

  (a)    The  provision  by  the  Department  and  UNV of  coordination  for
activities  to be  undertaken by  national  volunteer corps,  including  the
supportive role of the Resident Coordinator at the country level;

  (b)   The establishment of a  distinct window within the Special Voluntary

Fund of UNV for channelling funds for operational purposes;

  (c)  The use of databases within the  United Nations system to  coordinate
and  facilitate the  rapid  provision of  assistance  by  national volunteer
corps to the United Nations system;

  (d)   Experiences  at  the  national  level with  regard  to, inter  alia,
selection and training, deployment, status and  security, and the  effective
utilization of stand-by arrangements.


II.  VIEWS AND COMMENTS ON THE "WHITE HELMET" INITIATIVE

3.      The   Secretary-General   invited   Governments,   intergovernmental
organizations and  relevant entities  within the  United Nations to  express
their  views on the "White Helmet" (WH) initiative and on the implementation
of the General Assembly resolution.


A.  Views expressed by Governments

4.    Twenty-three  Governments  (Argentina,  Australia, Bolivia,  Bulgaria,
Chile,  Ecuador,  Germany,  Israel,  Italy,  Japan,  Malaysia,  Malta,   New
Zealand,  Paraguay, Peru,  Poland, Spain,  Sweden, Switzerland,  the  United
Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Northern  Ireland,  the  United  States of
America, Uruguay  and Zambia) responded  to the Secretary-General's  letter.
Twenty-two  Governments  endorsed the  WH  initiative  and  expressed  their
willingness  to   participate  in  its   immediate  realization.     Fifteen
Governments also declared their willingness to  play an appropriate role  in
matters relating to the training of such national volunteer corps.

5.  The question of the financing of  WH volunteer corps brought out  a more
diverse set  of responses from  Governments.  Only one  Government pledged a
financial  contribution to  the  WH  fund, while  six Governments  expressed
their willingness to do so.   In their responses, three Governments referred
to the possibility of private sector financing for the initiative.


B.  Views expressed by intergovernmental organizations

6.    The  Organization  of  African  Unity  expressed  active  interest  in
obtaining  WH support in some  of the relevant operations  undertaken by its
member States.   The  Organization for  Security and  Cooperation in  Europe
conveyed its interest in  the initiative and in identifying ways to help  in
its financing, as well as its willingness to  collaborate as far as training
was concerned.


C.  Views expressed by entities within
the United Nations system    

7.  Responses  were received  from 14  relevant entities  within the  United
Nations  system.   The  Food  and  Agriculture  Organization  of the  United
Nations  welcomed  the  initiative,  indicating  interest  in  the  use   of
qualified volunteers,  and  agreed to  assist  in  training and  in  seeking
funding.    The  International  Labour  Organization  conveyed its  wish  to
participate  in the initiative,  as necessary,  and listed  several areas of
specific interest where trained  volunteers would be  appreciated.   Special
reference was  made to the training facility in Turin and  the role it could
play  in preparing national volunteer corps for United Nations service.  The
International  Maritime  Organization expressed  keen  interest  in  the  WH
initiative and  drew attention  to its  need for  highly specialized  staff.
The  Universal Postal  Union  indicated  that its  emergency  work  required
volunteer staff and, therefore, it would  participate in the WH  initiative.
However, it  was not in a  position to offer  either training or  financing.
The  United  Nations  Educational,   Scientific  and  Cultural  Organization

supported  the idea  of  WH  volunteers and  agreed to  consider  their use,
training and possible funding.  The  World Health Organization also welcomed
the  initiative and agreed that it could help  provide needed health support
in  the context  of relief,  rehabilitation and  development  assistance, as
well as  assist in strengthening  cooperation between developing  countries.
It stressed the  importance of relating  the volunteer corps closely  to the
agency staff active in  the field and stated its willingness to offer advice
for the training of such volunteers.  It also maintained that the  financing
requirements would  have to be met  through additional contributions  before
the WH  initiative could  become operational.   The  International Fund  for
Agricultural  Development stated that  its functions  did not  relate to the
inquiry.

 8.  Within the  United Nations itself, the United Nations Centre for  Human
Settlements  (Habitat)  affirmed  its interest  in participating  in  the WH
initiative.   However,  it  did  not foresee  any  role in  the training  of
volunteers or  in financing the initiative.   The  United Nations Conference
on Trade  and Development also conveyed  its interest  in qualified national
volunteers  in a variety  of technical  cooperation tasks  undertaken by the
organization.  The  United Nations  Population Fund responded favourably  to
the inquiry  and offered to assist in  the training and, to some extent, the
financing of national volunteer corps.

9.  The Office of the United Nations  High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
stated  that it had  worked for  years with  stand-by capacities  drawn from
several non-governmental organizations and from UNV, reflecting the  profile
required for  refugee-related field  work.  These  special arrangements  had
proved  to  be  costeffective  and  were   expected  to  fulfil  many  staff
requirements of UNHCR; however, to the  extent WH volunteers were integrated
into  UNV, UNHCR  would welcome  cooperation, particulary  in  strengthening
capacity  in specialized fields.   The  United Nations  Children's Fund also
expressed interest in taking part  in the WH initiative and agreed to play a
role in the  training of such volunteers  and to help  seek funding  for the
initiative.    The World  Food  Programme  welcomed  the  WH initiative  and
elaborated on  the practical  implications of  using local  staff in  relief
operations.  It agreed,  in principle, to participate  on an "as  necessary"
basis.   It  expressed willingness  to offer  advice on  training needs  and
recalled its  financial dependence  on the  donor community.   Two  regional
commissions, the Economic  Commission for  Latin America  and the  Caribbean
and the  Economic and Social  Commission for  Asia and the  Pacific, replied
that the use of  WH volunteers, by them,  was not considered  likely at  the
present time.

10.   In order to consult  as broadly as possible,  letters of inquiry  were
also  addressed  to  United  Nations  Resident  Coordinators.    While  many
Governments  have not  yet  formally responded  to  the  Secretary-General's
letter, several discussed  with the respective field offices issues relating
to the  WH initiative.   These discussions also  served to  clarify what the
local  authorities would  need to  do  in  preparing national  personnel for
participating in the envisaged volunteer corps. 


    III.  DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND UNITED NATIONS
          VOLUNTEERS:  PARTNERS IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
          OPERATIONS

11.  The General Assembly, in its resolution 49/139 B, called on the  United
Nations system,  and in particular  the Department  of Humanitarian  Affairs
and UNV,  to contemplate  and encourage the  use of  WH expertise  available
from  the newly created  national volunteer  corps to  support activities in
the area of  emergency humanitarian assistance, as  well as in the promotion
of  a smooth transition  from relief  to rehabilitation,  reconstruction and
development.


 A.  Department of Humanitarian Affairs

12.   The  primary  role  of the  Emergency  Relief Coordinator  and  Under-
SecretaryGeneral  for Humanitarian  Affairs,  on behalf  of  the  Secretary-
General of the United Nations, is to facilitate  a coherent, coordinated and
timely response  by the  United Nations  system to  emergencies and  natural
disasters.

13.  The Emergency Relief  Coordinator takes the lead  in securing agreement
on  the  division of  responsibilities  among  organizations  of the  United
Nations  system in  responding to  emergency situations  in accordance  with
their  respective  mandates.    The  Coordinator  is  also  responsible  for
establishing coordination mechanisms, organizing needs assessment  missions,
preparing  consolidated   appeals  and  mobilizing  resources;  facilitating
access to  populations in  need and  ensuring that  emergency assistance  is
provided  in   ways  that  are  supportive   of  recovery  and   longer-term
development  so  as  to  reduce  dependency   on  emergency  relief.     The
Coordinator provides  guidance to  United Nations  Resident Coordinators  on
the  exercise  of their  responsibility,  under  normal  circumstances,  for
coordinating humanitarian  assistance of  the United Nations  system at  the
country   level.    The  Coordinator  is  responsible,  in  particular,  for
facilitating  the preparedness  of the  United Nations  system, assisting in
the transition from relief  to development and promoting the use of  locally
or regionally available relief capacities.


B.  United Nations Volunteers

14.   The United  Nations Volunteers programme was  established on 1 January
1971. In accordance with the provisions  of General Assembly resolution 2659
(XXV) of 7 December 1970,  UNV was placed under  the administrative auspices
of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  and charged to work  "in
collaboration with the United Nations agencies concerned".

15.  The nature and scope of its mandate has enabled UNV  to participate, as
an   integral   partner,   in  various   peace-keeping   and  peace-building
operations,  humanitarian   relief,  and   rehabilitation  and   development
programmes,  as  well  as  in  activities  in  support  of   democratization
processes.   The role  played by  UNV within the United  Nations system as a
whole is now well  recognized and appreciated and has resulted in calls  for
increased use of UNV-provided personnel in the above-mentioned operations. 


IV.  STRENGTHENING NATIONAL AND REGIONAL STAND-BY ARRANGEMENTS

A.  Experience

16.  The Department of Humanitarian  Affairs has considerable experience  in
developing and maintaining stand-by arrangements,  especially for responding
to natural  disasters.  Two  such specific capacities  relate to the  United
Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams  and the Military
and Civil  Defence Assets  (MCDA) project.   UNDAC  teams have  successfully
assisted in responding to numerous disaster  situations.  The teams comprise
national experts  whose stand-by  availability  is agreed  upon between  the
Governments  and  the Department.    The  experts  collaborate closely  with
United  Nations personnel. While  specialized training  of the  teams is the
responsibility of the  national Government, additional training is  provided
by the Department for the purposes of their deployment to ensure their  full
effectiveness.    The  teams  are   financed  and  maintained   by  national
Governments.   In  certain cases,  national Governments  also  finance their
deployment.

17.   The MCDA  project provides  for the utilization of  military and civil
defence  assets to  support the  United  Nations system  in its  response to
natural  disasters.    Guidelines  for  the  use  of  MCDA  in international
response to natural,  technological and environmental emergencies have  been
finalized.    Arrangements   have  also  been   made  to  identify  training
requirements  for MCDA military  and civil  defence personnel  and to design

appropriate curricula.   Several  fieldbased exercises  have helped  prepare
participants  in  the  actual  use  of  MCDA  in  simulated  disaster-relief
situations. 

18.  The experience of the Department with UNDAC and MCDA can  be brought to
bear  on  the  key  issues  relating   to  the  availability,  training  and
deploymentof stand-bynational teamsinthe implementationof theWH initiative.

19.   The United Nations Volunteers  programme has,  through the development
of  new   strategies,  linkages   with  national   providers  of   volunteer
professionals  and  partnerships with  United Nations  system organizations.
It  has  demonstrated a  capacity  for  rapidly  fielding  large numbers  of
volunteers in support of United Nations  field operations.  Since  its first
activities  with  the   United  Nations  Office  for  the  Coordination   of
Humanitarian  Assistance to  Afghanistan  (UNOCHA) and  the  United  Nations
Transitional Authority  in  Cambodia  (UNTAC),  to the  more  recent  United
Nations  Operation in Mozambique  (ONUMOZ) and  United Nations  Operation in
Somalia  (UNOSOM), and  including  current  operations such  as  the  United
Nations  Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), the United Nations Assistance
Mission for  Rwanda (UNAMIR), the United  Nations Mission  in Haiti (UNMIH),
and  the  United  Nations  Mission  for  Verification  of  Human  Rights and
Compliance  with  Comprehensive Agreements  on  Human  Rights  in  Guatemala
(MINUGUA), more  than 2,000  UNV volunteers  have served  or are serving  in
humanitarian   and   emergency   relief,   rehabilitation,   reconstruction,
repatriation, human rights and electoral programmes. 1/

20.  As  the initiator of  the WH  project, the Government of  Argentina has
established a  Comision  de  Lucha  Contra el  Hambre  y  la Pobreza.    The
Commission  and  UNV  have  collaborated  on   the  elaboration  of  the  WH
initiative  and  on  developing  a   workable  model  within  the  framework
envisaged by the General Assembly in resolution 49/139 B.

21.    Through their  collaborative  efforts,  the  Commission  and UNV  are
seeking  to  develop  the   capacity  to  provide,  through  UNV,  volunteer
expertise  for  United   Nations  organizations  for  effective  and   rapid
response.    The  increased capacity  of  the  Commission,  as  well  as the
deployment  and utilization of  teams identified and constituted through it,
will enable  it to participate in  and contribute  substantially to relevant
United  Nations  operations.   Initial  proposals  being considered  in this
context include projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Haiti and Gaza.

 22.   The model, once refined,  could help guide  the WH process and may be
replicated for other national  volunteer corps, with adaptations as required
on a country-by-country basis.


B.  Areas of possible utilization

23.    The number,  size and  complexity of  United Nations  operations have
grown  significantly in  recent  years.   They  increasingly  extend  beyond
traditional  roles to cover  a broad  range of  functions, from humanitarian
relief assistance in  complex emergencies to repatriation and  resettlement,
restoration  of infrastructures  and social services,  community-level post-
conflict  confidencebuilding, conflict  prevention/resolution, assistance in
human   rights   monitoring  and   electoral  processes,   as  well   as  in
administration and management.   In situations of complex emergencies, their
activities are expected to focus, at  least initially, on emergency response
and early stages of rehabilitation.

24.   The  WH process  could facilitate the  mobilization of  existing local
expertise,   revitalize   previously  constituted   local   non-governmental
organizations and  community-based organizations,  as well  as  help in  the
organization and promotion of new arrangements.

25.   The UNV  programme has  consistently sought  to promote  participatory
processes by using  appropriate volunteer modalities, including mixed  teams

of  international and  national personnel,  and by creating  direct linkages
between UNV specialists and local populations.  The basic premise of UNV  is
that, whatever the  circumstance, the  populations concerned  must have  the
right, and the ability,  to influence actions affecting their lives.   Local
capacities for voluntarism would be promoted and strengthened.

26.    Based  on  past  experience   where  United  Nations  volunteers,  in
collaboration with United Nations bodies, have  assisted in a diverse  range
of activities, WH deployment could include: 

  (a)   Assuring the  delivery of urgent  food and non-food  relief supplies
(e.g., housing) and services (e.g., basic health, sanitation,  epidemiology)
to victims of forced migration;

  (b)    Providing  support to  local emergency  relief  coordinating units,
including  necessary  skills  and  local  managerial  capacity  to   support
effective access to afflicted populations;

  (c)    Assisting  in  registration  for  return,  and  in  logistical  and
technical arrangements  for resettlement and  repatriation, of refugees  and
internally displaced persons;

  (d)   Assisting in  monitoring respect  for, and  enabling protection  of,
human rights,  together with measures  for confidence-building and  conflict
prevention/ resolution at the community level;

  (e)  Assisting in demobilizing, retraining and reintegration efforts;

   (f)   Supporting  the  reorganization/operation of  local  services  (for
example, health centres, food distribution, housing);

  (g)   Enabling the  victims of forced  population movements  to return  to
their countries of origin or to integrate in their countries of refuge. 


C.  Coordination arrangements for the "White Helmet" initiative

27.   In accordance with its mandate, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs
would  ensure   the  necessary  coordination  in   the  field.     In  close
consultation with  United Nations  Resident Coordinators  and together  with
its  operational  partners,  the  Department  would  assess  the  need   for
additional personnel  in a particular  emergency situation and identify with
UNV the special skills and volunteer component strength required.

28.   Mechanisms  already exist  for  the ad  hoc fielding  of teams  in the
earliest  stages  of emergency  and the  identification  and recruitment  of
personnel  required  to  meet  needs in  emergency  and  related operations.
Implementation  of  the  WH  initiative   would  involve  adding   to  these
mechanisms certain arrangements, under the aegis  of the Department and UNV,
to address inter alia the following:

  (a)   The  identification and  definition  of  appropriate sectors  for WH
involvement;

  (b)   Establishing respective responsibilities  in mission assessment  and
planning  activities,  professional categories,  and  composition  of  field
teams,  as  well  as  essential  professional  qualifications  of  personnel
required;

  (c)   Screening and selecting stand-by WH teams and team members available
for deployment on short notice;

  (d)   Ensuring,  as appropriate,  in  accordance  with distribution  of WH
teams, ethnic and geographic diversity and gender sensitivity;

  (e)    Deployment  time  and  procedures for  fielding  of  WH  teams  and

volunteers;

  (f)  Status and conditions of service for  WH personnel within the overall
framework of conditions of service for United Nations field personnel;

  (g)  Financial and accountability arrangements and requirements;

  (h)  Modalities for integration of WH  personnel, individually or in field
teams, within the operational structure of the missions;

  (i)  Reporting channels, procedures and requirements.


 D.  Financing

29.   The viability  of the  WH initiative  is ultimately predicated  on the
availability of financing for their training  and deployment.  As stipulated
in General  Assembly resolution  43/139 B,  UNV has  established a  separate
account  within  its  Special  Voluntary  Fund  for  contributions  for  the
implementation of  activities envisaged  for the  WH initiative.   Only  one
Government has  so far committed  funds to the  initiative, while some  have
expressed interest  and others have referred  to the  possibility of private
sector financing.

30.   The  Department of  Humanitarian Affairs  is  prepared  to explore  in
general, as well as  for specific cases, the use of the consolidated  appeal
process for WH-related fund-raising.  The  way in which consolidated appeals
are  currently framed would  make it  possible, once  the initiative becomes
operational  and volunteer  teams  are available  for field  assignments, to
include  in such appeals  a provision  for the  financing of  the use  of WH
volunteers in United Nations operations.   The existing shortfalls in relief
funding should, however, be borne in mind in this context. 


    E.  Databases and other arrangements to facilitate the rapid
        utilization and deployment of "White Helmets"

31.  UNV maintains  a roster of candidates as  the central component  of the
process of  matching suitable candidates  with identified  needs.  Organized
according to areas of UNV interventions,  the roster lists several  thousand
candidates distributed among  major occupational groups and subdivided  into
professional  categories.  The  composition of  the roster  is determined by
demand and  supply considerations  and  takes into  account such  additional
elements as nationality, gender and language skills.

32.   The  strengthening of  national  arrangements  and the  development of
national  volunteers sending  capacity  are integral  components of  the UNV
mandate.  On  this basis, UNV would  endeavour to develop arrangements  that
would  ensure  the most  effective  cooperation  with  the  providers of  WH
volunteers.

33.   UNV operates  within the  UNDP network of field  offices and maintains
national  focal  points in  developing  countries,  as  well as  cooperating
organizations  in  39  industrialized  countries.    In  addition  to  these
traditional recruitment  partners,  UNV occasionally  calls on  professional
associations, educational institutions and other organizations  specializing
in  a   particular  field,  and/or   undertakes  targeted  advertising   and
recruitment campaigns when required to supplement or replenish its roster. 

34.  In support  of the WH initiative  and to  meet needs identified in  the
field,  a  decentralized model  of  national  participants,  which  includes
information on types of teams  ready for deployment and  functional areas of
expertise,  could  be  envisaged  as  part   of  an  overall  roster  system
maintained  by  UNV  in  accordance  with  the  parameters  defined  by  the
Department of Humanitarian Affairs and UNV.

35.   National  participating organizations would be  expected to constitute
teams  of qualified  volunteers (perhaps  focusing  on  a limited  number of
areas  of   coverage  identified   by  each   organization),  assure   their
specialized training and facilitate the rapid deployment  and integration of
such teams, including  the building of linkages with local  non-governmental
organizations and  communitybased organizations in  the receiving countries.
To the extent possible, national participating organizations would  identify
and pre-position equipment  and material necessary for effective  operations
once fielded.  The Department and UNV  would create teams from the groups of
nationals from  the participating  countries.   In this  regard, care  would
also  need  to be  taken  to  avoid  imbalance  between countries  providing
volunteers.

36.   UNV and  the Department  would aim  to develop  an information-sharing
system  that  would  assure the  effective management  of  the decentralized
model.

37.   The goal would be  to have an arrangement  whereby the United  Nations
system, through  appropriate collaboration between  the Department and  UNV,
could  call  on  the  national  participants  to  provide  teams,  groups or
individuals  with the  relevant  expertise, without  further  screening  and
using streamlined administrative procedures.


F.  Training programmes for "White Helmets"

38.    Recognizing that  experience in  a  particular field,  alone, is  not
always  sufficient  to enable  a  skilled  professional to  be  successfully
fielded  and to function  within the  context of  United Nations operations,
UNV  would seek, subject  to the availability  of resources,  to develop and
present  various   orientation  and   training  programmes,   including,  as
appropriate,  utilizing existing  modules such  as the  Disaster  Management
Training Programme,  tailored for the specific  needs of  the WH volunteers.
Accordingly,  a   series  of   training  programmes,   with  the   following
components, could be envisaged:

  (a)   The  basic training  programme  could  include elements  relating to
substantive aspects of the assignments, including:

  (i)  Structure of the United Nations system;

    (ii)Disaster Management Training Programme background and objectives;

   (iii)Disaster assessment/vulnerability and risk assessment;

    (iv)Displaced persons in civil conflict;

  (v)Information management and communications;

    (vi)International humanitarian law;

   (vii)Stress management;

  (viii)Participatory approaches;

    (ix)Administrative   issues,  including  logistics,  communications  and
reporting procedures;
    (b)   Other training programmes, organized  and conducted  on a mission-
bymission basis as  required by the prevailing circumstances, could  consist
of aspects relating to the country of assignment, including:

  (i)Language training;

    (ii)In-country conditions;

   (iii)Cultural sensitization;

  (c)  Training programmes  could also be  developed that focus on  personal
security matters, addressing the following:

  (i)Attitudinal and behavioral factors;

    (ii)Communications procedures;

   (iii)First aid procedures;

    (iv)Local political  conditions, local reaction  to the United  Nations,
special sensitivities, as well as public conduct.

39.  The investment  in training should provide  benefits in terms of better
understanding and  quicker integration of WH  volunteers into new  missions,
while reducing  risks of maladjustment.   Existing training programmes could
be updated and expanded in consultation  with the Department of Humanitarian
Affairs and operational agencies to ensure  adequate training resources  and
facilities  according to anticipated  needs.   As the  WH initiative matures
with field  experience, training  responsibilities could  be transferred  to
the field level.


G.  Status and security of "White Helmets"

40.    Volunteers  selected  to  participate   in  WH  activities  would  be
contracted  by, and would  serve under  conditions of  service applicable to
the  assignment and other rules  and regulations of, UNV (including the Code
of  Conduct   and  applicable   United  Nations   security  guidelines   and
procedures).

41.    In the  performance  of their  duties,  volunteers  would  follow the
overall administrative rules  and procedures of United Nations structure  in
the country  of  assignment.   UNV,  through  its in-country  UNV  Programme
Officer, Programme Administration  and Support Unit, or similar  structures,
would assure the  proper and effective  field administration  and management
of WH volunteers within the overall  system of adminstration and  management
of UNV.

42.   Substantive  technical backstopping,  including in-work  planning  and
implementation,  would  be provided  by  the  United  Nations  organizations
concerned or  recipient national institutions to  which WH volunteers  would
be assigned.


 V.  CONCLUSIONS

43.   The adoption of General Assembly  resolution 49/139 B, in the light of
the growing  demands for manpower  and funds to  mitigate the suffering  and
destruction  caused  by  numerous  emergencies,  represents  an   innovative
opportunity  for  the  effective,  efficient  and  economical  provision  of
assistance to  the  intended beneficiaries  of the  United Nations  system's
operations,  tapping  existing   but  as  yet  unstructured  and   therefore
unrealized  sources of volunteer  expertise.   More than  merely providing a
new human resource  base, the WH initiative  presents a new opportunity  for
creative and resourceful programme design, formulation and implementation.

44.   The  WH  initiative, however,  can  become  viable  only if  and  when
Governments  set up or  encourage the  creation of  national volunteer corps
and  provide the necessary  financial resources  for their  operation.  Once
nominations of  such volunteer  teams are  finalized, UNV  would store  such
information in a  central database, and  update it, as necessary,  along the
lines of its practice in dealing with individual volunteers.

45.   Once several  volunteer teams  have served  successfully under  United
Nations auspices, experiences gained would help  identify the lacunae in the
evolving  volunteer service scheme.   This  experience would  also allow for

the review  of  various aspects  of  the  arrangement, such  as  coordinated
preparedness,  planning, continuing  government  support and  advocacy,  and
ways  and means to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency  and economy of the
deployment of WH volunteers.

46.  Governments  are invited to provide the necessary financial support and
take the necessary measures  to set up national  volunteer teams in order to
achieve the objectives of the WH initiative.


Notes

  1/     For  example,  in  Cambodia,   close  to   800  district  electoral
supervisors,  camp  officers, engineers  and  mechanics  were  provided  for
UNTAC; in  Mozambique,  nearly 100  camp  and  operations officers  and  150
electoral support  officers served;  in  South Africa,  205 UNV  specialists
supported  UNOMSA; more  than 100  volunteers  served  during the  course of
UNOSOM;  and  more than  70  volunteers  are  serving  under recruitment  in
MINUGUA,  UNAMIR, UNMIH and  UNAVEM.   In Afghanistan,  Burundi, the Islamic
Republic  of  Iran,   Iraq,  Liberia,  Malawi  and  the  former  Yugoslavia,
volunteers  are  serving  as  protection  officers,  logisticians,   foodaid
monitors   and  civics   educators,   conflict  prevention   and  resolution
specialists, medical  services personnel, relief coordinators,  construction
managers  and  engineers,   urban  planners  and  architects,  air   traffic
controllers,  fleet maintenance  specialists,  radio  and telecommunications
specialists,    disaster-preparedness    planners   and    social   services
specialists.


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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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