Cover Image
close this bookDisaster Preparedness - 2nd Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1994, 66 p.)
close this folderPART 2 - International collaboration for preparedness
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe United Nations system
View the documentThe U.N. at headquarters level
View the documentThe U.N. at field level
View the documentThe UNDP in the field
View the documentU.N. agencies and development projects
View the documentSUMMARY

The United Nations system

The role of the United Nations in disaster management is rapidly changing. A variety of arrangements need to be agreed upon amongst the agencies themselves if these changes are to lead to more effective assistance to disaster-afflicted peoples. There are already various established agency roles and functions in the realm of disaster management.

The following international agencies have functions that support the practical implementation of disaster preparedness plans.


planting assessments, crop forecast assessments and food information early warning system


disaster-to-development projects, technical assistance for disaster preparedness plans and strategies, and in-country resident coordinator of U.N. system


information coordination, disaster assessments, mitigation and disaster preparedness planning


vaccination programs and supplementary feeding programing in times of emergencies for vulnerable groups and water and shelter programs


emergency planning for refugee influxes


relief food needs assessments and food or non-food logistics


technical assistance on epidemiological matters in times of emergencies and health preparedness


tropical storm meteorological information

Each of the above have specialist technical literature for particular fields of competence. UNDP, WFP, UNICEF and UNHCR have excellent manuals on disaster preparedness and management that should be incorporated into preparedness planning exercises. DHA-Geneva has a publication series on disaster prevention and mitigation that is another valuable resource.

As a means to strengthen the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance, the Secretary-General has created a high level post of Emergency Relief Coordinator. This post will ensure better preparation for, as well as rapid and coherent response to natural disasters and other emergencies. Responsibilities of the Emergency Relief Coordinator include consolidated appeals, a register of standby capacities and a central emergency revolving fund. This US $50 million fund provides a cash-flow mechanism to ensure the rapid and coordinated response of the organizations of the U.N. system. Advances to operational organizations of the system can be made with the understanding that they will reimburse the fund.