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close this bookAn Overview of Disaster Management (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1992, 136 p.)
close this folderChapter 6. The disaster management team, roles and resources
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe UN Disaster Management Team
View the documentCountry Disaster Management Team
View the documentTasks, roles and resources of the UN
View the documentRoles and resources of UNDP, UNDRO, and other UN agencies
View the documentCoordination: the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT

Coordination: the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT

The national Government is ultimately responsible for requesting and coordinating all international assistance. It also approves all programs and emergency work in the country. However, the UN system stands ready to assist upon request. At the country level, the resident coordinator/representative and the UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) are the essential UN coordinating institutions. Their responsibilities apply to all situations which require significant interventions from more than one UN organization or agency. At the international level, UNDRO promotes the coordination of responses to particular disaster situations, both within the UN system and in the wider international community, essentially through information-sharing.


Coordination as used in the manual, means:

· The intelligent sharing of information and the frank, constructive discussion of issues and possible courses of action.

· Achieving consensus on objectives and an overall strategy.

· The voluntary adoption by those concerned of specific responsibilities and tasks in the context of the agreed objectives and strategy.

Coordination is based on mutual respect for the competencies and agreed responsibilities of each party, and willingness to co-operate in addressing and solving problems in pursuit of a common aim.

Role of the UN resident coordinator

The resident coordinator, also representing UNDRO, is both the UN system’s team leader at country level, and chairman of the UN-DMT. Following the occurrence of a major disaster, the resident coordinator/representative must be ready to give absolute priority to this coordination role, which also includes helping to ensure the coordination of all international emergency assistance.

The resident coordinator should fulfill the general responsibilities indicated in the panel below.

Coordination arrangements for emergencies

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has appointed an Emergency Relief Coordinator at the level of the Under Secretary-General, who has been entrusted with the responsibility for the coordination of emergency assistance as outlined in General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991. The Emergency Relief Coordinator is in charge of the Central Emergency Revolving Find, which has been established as a cashflow mechanism of US$ 50 million to ensure the rapid and coordinated response of the organizations of they system. He has direct access to the Secretary General in New York and maintains contacts with, and provides leadership to, the field Resident Coordinators.

Disaster management responsibilities of the resident coordinator (also representing UNDRO)

On an ongoing basis, the resident coordinator must:

· Ensure that the UN organizations and agencies active in a disaster-prone country are collectively “prepared* to offer appropriate technical and material assistance as part of an overall international response in the event of a disaster.

· Ensure that the same agencies take account of disaster risks in their long-term development programs, and provide concerted assistance in relation to disaster mitigation, in consultation with any national IDNDR committee.

In the event of a “multi-sectoral” disaster:

· Bring the various agencies of the UN system together and ensure the provision of prompt, effective, and concerted multi-disciplinary advice and assistance.

· Maintain contact with the government authority responsible for conducting relief operations. Ensure concerted UN assistance to that authority in assessing the situation and the requirements for international assistance.

· Keep UNDRO informed of the situation and needs for international assistance. Provide a clear statement of priority needs for international assistance rapidly to UNDRO for distribution internationally, and provide similar information to the local representatives of the international community. Update the information continuously to keep it current.

· Recommend that the UN team be reinforced by the appropriate agencies at the country level when necessary.

· Help to secure co-operation and coordination between all international assistance bodies, the government, and other national organizations to ensure proper management of international assistance.

In case of a refugee influx or “mono-sectoral” disaster:

· Consult with the local representative of the competent UN organization or agency (UNHCR or other) to determine what the resident coordinator and UN-DMT should do to support that agency.

Q. State three disaster management roles of UNDP that are distinct from UNDRO and three roles of UNDRO that are distinct from UNDP.

A. ____________________________________________________________