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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization (2012)

E. Effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts

photo of people walking over the remains of destroyed houses

Around the world, disaster management seems to be increasing in complexity. In 2011, the Organization coordinated humanitarian relief for more than 56 million affected people, nearly double the number three years previously. Not surprisingly, the financial costs of dealing with these disasters are also rising: billion dollar appeals for a single crisis are no longer uncommon.

To address this new reality, the Organization is seeking to broaden its partnerships, strengthen the effectiveness of coordinated humanitarian action and ensure that humanitarian support is more robustly managed.

The Organization is also making a significant effort to stimulate greater engagement on the part of Member States and regional organizations through a dialogue on humanitarian policy, and by creating new partnerships for operational support in emergency response. Examples of promising new initiatives include the dialogue on humanitarian partnership, led by Sweden and Brazil; and the HOPEFOR initiative, co-sponsored by Qatar, Turkey and the Dominican Republic, which is working to clarify the parameters for cooperation between military and humanitarian organizations. Cooperation with regional organizations, formalized by a memorandum of understanding signed with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council, has achieved measurable results in the field, in particular during the response to the famine in Somalia. The Organization also worked to improve collaboration between Western and Islamic aid organizations. As a result, the Organization was able in the short run to access areas in Somalia where Western actors were banned; and in the long run to pave the road for a more inclusive humanitarian community.

In partnership with leaders from across the United Nations system, the Organization helped to launch the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Transformative Agenda, which tackles the challenges and lessons learned from the humanitarian responses to Haiti and Pakistan. The agenda sets out a wide-ranging set of reforms focused on making humanitarian response faster and more effective.

The Organization was able to draw on lessons learned during the response in the Horn of Africa in 2011 to develop an early and coherent response to the food crisis in the Sahel. Working with partners, the Organization promoted the development of action plans on resilience-building, outlining high-level actions on advocacy, resource mobilization and support to national and regional leadership.

I am pleased to report that the Central Emergency Response Fund raised a record $465 million in 2011, the highest level since the General Assembly established the Fund in 2006. This success reflects Member State recognition of the Fund’s positive impact on the ground and its solid management and accountability record.