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OCHA Releases Humanitarian Agenda for 2011

21 January 2011: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced its agenda for 2011 to member States at a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US, focusing on the pressing challenges will make humanitarian operations more complex, namely climate change, mounting natural disasters, the vulnerability of aid workers in conflict areas, and the reduction of financial resources due to the economic crisis.

To address these issues, the announcement indicates that OCHA aims to be more adaptable to the evolving nature of crisis by managing its human resources more efficiently between the field offices and headquarters. In 2010, for instance, there have been more than 250 natural disasters and 63 humanitarian workers were killed in duty. The Strategic Plan sets out a path for the agency to continue to improve its structure to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, food and energy price increases, population growth and urbanization. Objective 1.1 of the Plan notes that climate change is partly responsible for the increase in the frequency and severity of disasters.

OCHA, established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1991, aggregates over 350 aid agencies participating in joint planning exercises and 39 member States. The agency has the mandate to ensure a more effective and coherent response to emergencies by coordinating the actions of UN agencies and national and international organizations. In 2011, the agency estimates that it will require US$208 million dollars in voluntary contributions. [UN Press Release] [OCHA Strategic Plan]