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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder4. Contingency Planning
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPlanning as a Process
View the documentContingency Planning Tasks
View the documentCharacteristics of a Good Plan
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes

Contingency Planning Tasks

Scenario Identification

18. Based on early warning indicators and their own experience, the participants in the planning process should develop likely scenarios. This activity is the most intuitive, yet one of the most important, since it lays the basis for all further planning. In establishing scenarios assumptions must be made. While these will be based on best available knowledge, nothing can remove the element of unpredictability.

19. The scenario is a kind of benchmark: if the influx is smaller than envisaged, the safety margin will be welcome, if it is larger, the importance of taking urgent corrective action is highlighted.

20. For scenario development:

i. Consider all possibilities (be imaginative);

ii. Settle for a limited number of options only (1 or 2 options are the norm); otherwise the planning process will be too complicated;

iii. Use the concept of either worst case scenario or most likely scenario.

Policy and Strategic Objectives

21. Planners need to have some vision of the direction of the overall operation. To the extent possible this should be a shared vision. It is not unusual for the various partners to hold different policy approaches to a particular problem. If these cannot be reconciled, at least the differences should be known and understood by all parties. However, an effort should be made to agree on some overall principles, through establishing overall objectives for the emergency response. All activities undertaken in the plan will need to be consistent with these overall objectives.

Sector Objectives and Activities

22. This is the most detailed part of the planning process. For each sector planners should agree, in as much detail as time will permit, on:

i. Sector objectives, including standards;

ii. The main tasks;

iii. Who is responsible for implementing which task;

iv. Time frame for implementation.