United Nations

A/RES/51/194


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

10 February 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 21 (a)


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 [without reference to a Main Committee (A/51/L.45/Rev.1 and Rev.1/Add.1)]


            51/194.  Strengthening of the coordination of
                     emergency humanitarian assistance of the
                     United Nations


      The General Assembly,

      Reaffirming its resolutions 46/182 of 19 December 1991, 47/168 of
22 December 1992, 48/57 of 14 December 1993, 49/139 A and B of 20
December 1994, 50/57 of 12 December 1995 and Economic and Social
Council resolutions 1995/56 of 28 July 1995 and 1996/33 of 25 July
1996,

      Reaffirming also the guiding principles contained in section I of
the annex to its resolution 46/182,

      Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General, 1/ in
particular of the attention paid by the Secretary-General to
effectiveness, accountability and transparency in humanitarian
assistance under increasingly complex operational environments and the
need for further efforts to identify and support the smooth transition
from relief to rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term
development,

      Taking note of the establishment, within the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs of the Secretariat, of Reliefweb, for the
dissemination of reliable and timely information on natural disasters
and other emergencies,

      Taking note also of the relevant decisions of operational
agencies, organizations, programmes and funds of the United Nations
system concerning their participation in a coordinated response to
humanitarian emergencies,

      Recognizing the need for coordinated humanitarian assistance and
adequate financial resources to ensure a prompt, timely and effective
response by the United Nations to natural disasters and other
emergencies, both for immediate relief and for the smooth transition
from relief to rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term
development, which are not necessarily sequential and often proceed at
the same time,

      Bearing in mind the critical importance of prevention,
preparedness and contingency planning for a timely and effective
response to both natural and other emergencies by the Governments
concerned and the international community,

      Welcoming the request to the Secretary-General by the Economic
and Social Council, in its resolution 1995/56, to submit to the
Council, at its substantive session of 1997, in close cooperation with
relevant organizations of the United Nations system, a comprehensive
analytical report, including options, proposals and recommendations
for a review of issues concerning the role and operational
responsibilities and strengthening of all aspects of the capacity of
the United Nations system for humanitarian assistance,

      Deeply concerned about the suffering of victims of disasters and
emergency situations, the loss of human lives, the flow of refugees,
the mass displacement of people and the material destruction,

      Reaffirming that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and
national unity of States must be fully respected in accordance with
the Charter of the United Nations and, in this context, that
humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the
affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal of the
affected country,

      Reaffirming also that each State has the responsibility first and
foremost to take care of the victims of natural disasters and other
emergencies occurring on its territory, and hence, the affected State
has the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination and
implementation of humanitarian assistance within its territory,

      Strongly emphasizing the urgent need to ensure, respect and
promote international humanitarian law, principles and norms, the
safety of humanitarian personnel and the need for States whose
populations are in need of humanitarian assistance to facilitate the
work of humanitarian organizations in implementing humanitarian
assistance, in particular the supply of food, medicines, shelter and
health care, for which access to victims is essential, and reaffirming
that humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the
principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality,

      Concerned about the impediments created by natural disasters and
similar emergencies to the development efforts of the affected
countries, and welcoming the efforts of the Department of Humanitarian
Affairs, in the context of the International Decade for Natural
Disaster Reduction, to promote disaster prevention, mitigation and
preparedness measures,

      Commending the activities of the United Nations Volunteers, and
of the "White Helmets", deployed in the context of the implementation
of General Assembly resolutions 49/139 B of 29 December 1994 and 50/19
of 28 November 1995, as well as other activities to improve, in
accordance with resolutions 46/182 and 50/19, the capability for a
quick and coordinated response to natural disasters and other
emergencies,

      Reaffirming the need for the improved accountability of all
relevant actors involved in emergency relief operations,

      1.    Encourages Governments to ensure coherence in the direction
given to the governing bodies of relevant organizations, funds and
programmes of the United Nations system, and to thereby promote the
development and strengthening of the cooperation between these
organizations and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, drawing on
the mandate, expertise and respective strengths and available
capabilities of each, to improve the system-wide capability for a
quick and coordinated response to complex humanitarian emergencies and
natural disasters;

      2.    Urges all relevant organizations of the United Nations
system to participate actively in the follow-up process established by
Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/56;

      3.    Calls upon the Secretary-General to ensure that the Inter-
Agency Standing Committee, as a contribution to the report of the
Secretary-General to the Economic and Social Council at its
substantive session in 1997, develops options and proposals to further
define operational responsibilities between its members, drawing on
their respective mandates, expertise, strengths and available
capabilities, to identify cooperative arrangements to strengthen their
joint capacities and to strengthen its work in priority setting and
formulation of coherent humanitarian strategies;

      4.    Requests the Secretary-General to include in his report to
the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session in 1997
recommendations of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on measures
aimed at making it a more effective and transparent mechanism, under
the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, for inter-agency
decision-making on coordination;

      5.    Emphasizes the need for the Secretary-General to draw on the
discussions and conclusions in the various governing boards, as
mentioned in paragraph 1 above, on the follow-up to Economic and
Social Council resolution 1995/56, on the results of the work of the
Inter-Agency Standing Committee in this regard and on the assessment
of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, when contributing to the report
of the Secretary-General, in order to ensure that all relevant issues
are coherently addressed and appropriately reflected;

      6.    Encourages all relevant agencies of the United Nations
system to collaborate closely at the country level in carrying out
their relief activities, in order to enhance the overall policy
coherence, operational complementarity and cost-effectiveness of the
response of the United Nations system in emergencies;

      7.    Encourages the Secretary-General to develop further, in
consultation with the Emergency Relief Coordinator and with members of
the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, a transparent and timely
procedure for putting into place effective coordination arrangements
in the field;

      8.    Encourages members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to
cooperate closely with each other, as well as with the Bretton Woods
institutions and the regional development banks, to ensure that
relief,  rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term development is
addressed in a more effective manner, taking into account the need for
a clearer division of responsibilities between different actors;

      9.    Encourages the Secretary-General to strengthen further the
cooperation and coordination between the Department of Humanitarian
Affairs  and other relevant departments of the Secretariat to ensure
an effective and coherent United Nations response to natural disasters
and other emergencies;

      10.   Calls upon States to respond quickly and generously to
consolidated appeals for humanitarian assistance, taking into account
the importance for donors to be flexible in their response to the
specific requirements of affected populations, for rapid-response as
well as for early rehabilitation and recovery;

      11.   Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the
Inter-Agency Standing Committee, to include in his report to the
Economic and Social Council at its substantive session in 1997
proposals for the clearer identification of priority needs and the
formulation of a coherent humanitarian strategy within consolidated
appeals, and to ensure that consolidated appeals are formulated in a
manner consistent with the smooth transition from relief to
rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term development, and also
requests the Secretary-General to invite States to submit their views
on this subject in due time;

      12.   Invites the Secretary-General, in consultation with the
Inter-Agency Standing Committee, to make recommendations to the
Economic and Social Council, at its substantive session in 1997, on
possible ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the Central Emergency
Revolving Fund, taking into account the revolving nature of the Fund,
to ensure a timely response in the initial phase of an emergency, and
taking into account the need for transparent complementarity between
the Fund and the individual emergency funds of operational agencies,
and requests the Secretary-General to invite States to submit their
views on this subject in due time;

      13.   Requests the Secretary-General to further develop Reliefweb
as the global humanitarian information system for the dissemination of
reliable and timely information on emergencies and natural disasters,
and encourages all Governments, the United Nations agencies, funds and
programmes and other relevant organizations, including non-
governmental organizations, to support Reliefweb and actively
participate in the Reliefweb information exchange, through the
Department of Humanitarian Affairs;

      14.   Encourages the Secretary-General to develop further the
Humanitarian Early Warning System, to make it fully operational as
soon as possible and to consult all States on the use to which the
database could be put, as well as its further development, taking into
account that early warning information should be made available in an
unrestricted and timely manner to all interested Governments and
authorities concerned;

      15.   Calls upon the United Nations system to strengthen
accountability in the field of humanitarian assistance, in particular
through improved monitoring and evaluation, to ensure that:

      (a)   Organizations of the United Nations system involved in
humanitarian assistance activities develop common methodologies for
data collection and reporting, situation analyses, needs assessment,
monitoring and tracking of resources, in order to ensure an effective
and timely response;

      (b)   Clearer arrangements are made for system-wide evaluation,
that the lessons learned from evaluation exercises are systematically
applied at the operational level and that joint evaluation criteria
are developed for humanitarian and disaster relief operations at the
planning stage;

      16.   Urges all operational agencies of the United Nations system
to collaborate fully with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs,
particularly in the early phase of an emergency, inter alia, by
providing the Department with sufficient support in terms of human and
logistical assets, to enable it to enhance coordination and the rapid-
response capability of the system as a whole;

      17.   Stresses the critical need to create a sound and predictable
financial basis for the Department of Humanitarian Affairs to enable
it to carry out fully its mandate, and encourages the Secretary-
General to continue to explore all possible options to achieve that
goal.

                                                          87th plenary meeting
                                                              17 December 1996


                                     Note

1/    A/51/172-E/1996/77.

 

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