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close this bookMeeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentGlobal context and role of the United Nations system
View the documentBackground to UNV involvement in humanitarian assistance
View the documentBasic objective of UNVs humanitarian relief
View the documentProgress in implementation of the approach
View the documentFeatures of UNV humanitarian assistance
View the documentRange of services - ways in which UNV specialists make a difference

Range of services - ways in which UNV specialists make a difference

Through its international and national UN Volunteers and field workers, UNV has the capacity to further expand its already broad range of community-focused initiatives which directly address the need to involve people at grass root level consciously and creatively in finding their own development paths. In building the bridge beyond crisis, the UNV programme bolsters local coping mechanisms of communities affected by war, drought etc. and thus reduces vulnerability.

UNV has integrated rapidly into the new UN system framework for emergency response brought about as a result of General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991. This called for strengthened UN system capacity to deal with emergencies, and to develop stand-by rosters of qualified personnel. UNV's special roster for emergency humanitarian relief now contains over 500 UNV candidates, Typically, recruitment focuses on a limited range of usually acute needs, such as:

• human rights protection officers
• water specialists
• community/social services specialists
• sanitation engineers
• food aid monitors
• refugee/displacee counsellors
• logistics and procurement specialists
• administrative/finance officers
• public health specialist
• epidemiologists
• architects and civil engineers

Other skills can also be called-in, supported by UNV's main roster of over 5,000 candidates in 115 professional areas.

In critical cases, e.g. the newly-independent Caucasus republics, the Horn of Africa, the Southern African drought, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, etc., UNV humanitarian activities are programmed in inter-agency consultations, often under the coordination of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA). UNV's efforts have also involved developing close working relationships with the UN agencies most operational in emergency work, i.e.


UNV has participated in inter-agency programming (and/or missions) to identify needs, ensuring where appropriate that UNV support is integrated into agencies' proposals in the consolidated appeals launched by the Secretary-General. This has been the case with the former Yugoslavia, Eritrea, the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Kenya, Liberia, drought in Southern Africa, Rwanda, Mozambique, etc. UNV has also contributed its own ideas and proposals, especially in relation to the promotion of participatory approaches to community-based relief, rehabilitation, and recovery.

UNV is now an active partner in the Disaster Management Training Programme (DMTP).

UNV/HRU's location in Geneva is ideal, as DHA-UNDRO is also based there and regular Inter-Agency Working Group meetings in relation to finalising consolidated DHA appeals are very frequently held in Geneva. Similarly, the largest concentration of humanitarian agencies, both within and outside the UN system, in the heritage of Henri Dunant, is based in Geneva - ICRC, IFRCS, ICVA, UNHCR, WHO etc, donor country missions and NGOs.

Three major kinds of mass human distress have become the prevalent areas of UNV humanitarian support in recent years:

• Helping victims of war and conflict
• Working with victims of drought and famine
• Supporting victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Establishing a camp for demobilised combatants in Mozambique.