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close this bookDisaster Assessment (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 54 p.)
close this folderPART 3 - The role of the UN in relation to assessments
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUN agency representatives
View the documentKey elements of the resident coordinator's early disaster role
View the documentThe role of the resident coordinator as relief activity develops
View the documentReporting assessment information
View the documentFormulating and screening requests for international assistance

Formulating and screening requests for international assistance

Where it is determined that there is a need for international assistance, the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT should, on the basis of the agreed assessment, assist the government in formulating a request or appeal which is as accurate and specific as possible. This is a critical area in which the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT can have a particularly significant role.

The resident coordinator may need to continually clarify requests and take initiatives to bring together separate host government bodies with overlapping or closely-related interests, usually in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to ensure coordination and consistency in their separate proposals and requests to external donors. There may be opportunities to review and refine specifications, quantities, required delivery schedules and priorities with the responsible authorities to ensure that requests are realistic and in a form which will encourage the best possible donor response.

Resident coordinators may need to seek agreement on a phased approach to requests, with a first statement of immediate, priority requirements, possibly accompanied by general indications of the scale of those additional needs which will be defined in more detail and announced later.

Decision-makers' perspectives on the strategic requirements for disaster recovery are likely to change quickly as a more accurate picture emerges of the actual needs and the surviving resources. All those involved should be clear that any initial statement is necessarily “provisional” and will be updated or added to as more information becomes available. Even so, reports must be as accurate as possible and not mislead through generalization and/or exaggeration.

Reports must be as accurate as possible and not mislead through generalization and/or exaggeration.

While the UN-DMT assists the government to determine overall needs for international assistance, several of the UN agencies may identify particular programs of assistance which they will propose to implement, subject to the mobilization of the required resources. The resident coordinator and the UN-DMT must endeavor to prepare an overall “concerted” program of assistance proposed by the UN organizations and agencies which incorporates the separate agencies' proposals, is coherent and focuses on the priority issues. This should form the basis of a united appeal for funds in which the organizations responsible for particular elements will be clearly identified.

It should, nonetheless, be stressed that the united appeal will identify and support the various appeals of individual agencies, rather than substitute for them. Donors will be free to channel their response to the various organizations in accordance with their own wishes.

Q. What are the steps the resident coordinator should take in formulating and screening requests for international assistance?

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ANSWER

· Clarify requests by the national government and the UN Agencies to ensure a “coordinated and coherent” appeal and if necessary, convene meetings to eliminate gaps and duplications

· Assess whether a phased approach for assistance is necessary.

NOTES

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