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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder6. Operations Planning
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOperations Planning Tasks
View the documentAllocation of Responsibilities
View the documentAnnexes

Allocation of Responsibilities

Gap Identification Chart

10. A gap identification chart is a simple but very important and useful tool to allocate responsibilities effectively and identify the critical unmet needs of the refugees site by site and sector by sector. It illustrates who is responsible for what in an operation (by site and sector) and points out gaps where a sector or site needs attention. An example is shown below - the blanks indicate "gaps" i.e. sites or sectors for which nobody has responsibility. These would need to be given priority attention. Annex 2 shows a blank chart Figure 1 shows an example that has been filled in.

Roles and Tasks

11. The roles and tasks of all involved must be clearly stated. Delay in defining responsibility usually leads to each party defining goals independently and setting their own limits of responsibility. This in turn can lead quickly to confusion, gaps and duplication. Responsibilities should be defined for each administrative level, and for both organizations and individuals. How responsibilities are allocated to individuals is discussed in chapter 20 on administration and staffing.

12. Responsibilities are allocated to different organizations in a refugee emergency primarily through organizations' mandates, international instruments and pre-existing MOUs between organizations.

13. The responsibilities and roles are defined in more detail in response to the specific needs of the refugee situation and capacities of the different parties on the ground. These are set out in implementing agreements with implementing partners, MOUs and exchange of letters with other UN agencies, and agreements with the government. If formal agreements have not yet been drawn up and the basis of cooperation remains a Letter of Intent, the definition of responsibilities contained in the operations plan is more essential than ever (see Annex 1 of the chapter 8 implementing arrangements for a format of a Letter of Intent).

14. The responsibilities of organizations delivering assistance but which are not implementing partners of UNHCR must also be defined. This may create problems, particularly where individual NGOs wish to have responsibility for a specific sector. Final authority rests with the government, and the Representative or the operations manager should consult closely with the authorities. To the extent possible, however, any conflict of interest should be resolved within the framework of a coordinating mechanism.