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1 Number 13 March 1999 R ELIEF AND R EHABILITATION NETWORK 13 RRN newsletter Imprving aid plicy and practice in cmplex plitical emergencies In this issue... Articles... 1 Cdes f Cnduct: Wh Needs Them?... 1 The Media and Cmplex Humanitarian Emergencies 5 Advcacy Arund Disability and Recnciliatin in the Midst f War... 8 OCHA One Year On News Cdes f Cnduct: The Australian Cuncil fr Overseas Aid Principles f Engagement fr the DRC The Sierra Lene Cde NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl The Future f EU Humanitarian Aid ECHO Tackles Humanitarian Aid and Human Rights IANSA: The Small Arms Netwrk Reginal Fcus Sierra Lene Liberia Nicaragua Haiti Angla Gergia ISSN: Overseas Develpment Institute, Cdes f Cnduct: Wh Needs Them? by Nick Leader, Research Fellw, Overseas Develpment Institute Lndn, UK Intrductin Cdes f cnduct have becme quite a phenmenn in the humanitarian system in the past few years. This editin f the newsletter carries pieces n the Cde f Cnduct f the Australian Cuncil fr Overseas Aid (ACFOA), the Cde f Cnduct fr Humanitarian Agencies in Sierra Lene, the Principles f Engagement fr Humanitarian Assistance in the Demcratic Republic f Cng (DRC), and the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl. Other cdes in recent years include the Red Crss/NGO Cde f Cnduct (perhaps the mther f all cdes in the humanitarian system), the Peple in Aid Cde in the UK, the Sphere Prject Minimum Standards, the Jint Plicy f Operatin in Liberia (JPO), and the Grund Rules Agreement in suth Sudan. Superficially these cdes share a cmmn idea: they are public statements f principles r standards f perfrmance t which a number f agencies vluntarily sign up and against which each agency states it is willing t Training Cnferences be judged. The Humanitarian Charter f the Sphere Prject expresses this philsphy thus: The Humanitarian Charter expresses agencies cmmitment t these principles and t achieving the minimum standards. Or, as the Grund Rules declares in its preamble, it seeks t define the minimum acceptable standards f cnduct fr the activities f OLS agencies and SRRA. 1 Origins There are many rigins t the current emergence f cdes. The fllwing three, hwever, are perhaps the mst imprtant: 1. The huge prliferatin f humanitarian agencies wrking in cnflict since the late 1980s. The riginal Red Crss/NGO Cde f Cnduct arse specifically frm the cncern f the established agencies in Sudan in the late 1980s ntably IFRC and Oxfam that much f the wrk being dne there was f lw quality and that sme kind f mechanism was needed t raise standards. The respnse t the Publicatins Letters... 45

2 Rwanda crisis and the subsequent Jint Evaluatin reinfrced understanding f the prblem f ver-prliferatin f agencies and lw standards. between the varius bjects f accuntability. This is a surce f nging cnfusin. One f the favurite mechanisms fr enhancing accuntability has been cdes, and this cnfusin has affected them t. Articles 2. Grwing awareness f the prblems f wrking in the midst f internal war and the grwing feeling by many, bth within and withut the humanitarian system, that aid culd be fuelling cnflict. Again the Gma camps were seminal in this respect. 3. The vacuum f regulatin which cnfrnted the hugely increased numbers f NGOs wrking in the midst f cnflict and ften in areas where the state had cllapsed. There was n regulatry r prtective envirnment either fr the agencies r, mre imprtantly, the civilian ppulatin. Indeed the flagrant abuse f the rules f war by parties t a cnflict was the greatest part f the prblem. In this cntext accuntability became a watchwrd, bth amng critics f humanitarianism and its supprters. Accuntability and NGOs Accuntability is by n means a straightfrward cncept. T cmplicate matters, the accuntability trail fr NGOs is bewildering. Agencies are accuntable t the peple they are intending t serve. They are als accuntable t their dnrs. They are als accuntable t their wn rganisatin s charter r mandate and legislatin gverning charitable rganisatins, bth in their hme cuntry and the cuntry f peratin. This is cmplicated further in that they are als, in a sense, accuntable t internatinal humanitarian law. This is a grey but imprtant area. Agencies are nt signatries t the Geneva Cnventins but there are parts f the cnventins that cver humanitarian assistance, ntably that it shuld be impartial and neutral. Authrities are indeed entitled t bar the passage f aid if they think it is nt neutral. It culd be argued that agencies are thus accuntable t bth principles f humanitarian actin, such as neutrality, and t the gverning authrities f an area t ensure the aid they prvide is neutral and impartial. Thus what agencies are accuntable t is nt an easy cncept t define and there are ptentially significant cnflicts f accuntability fr an agency Accuntability is by n means a straightfrward cncept. T cmplicate matters, the accuntability trail fr NGOs is bewildering. Typlgies f Cdes Since the riginal Red Crss/NGO Cde f Cnduct, cdes have mushrmed. It is useful t cntrast them acrss varius axes. One cntrast is cuntry specific cdes, such as the Grund Rules, the JPO, and the Sierra Lene cde, versus universal cdes such as Sphere r the Red Crss/NGO cde. The cuntry specific cdes are generally cncerned with dealing with the specific prblems f a particular peratin; fr example, the Sierra Lene cde deals with the prblem f armed cnvys. Often they g thrugh a prcess f inter-agency develpment during which nly a few agencies (interestingly ften the same nes) take the lead. They usually assume that agencies need t cnfrnt ethical prblems and dilemmas with a united frnt as a way f aviding manipulatin. All draw heavily n the Red Crss/ NGO cde and all, like the Red Crss/NGO cde, have little in terms f detailed prtcls r guidelines as t, fr example, what neutrality means in a specific cntext. A secnd distinctin is between general statements f principle and mre detailed statements f perfrmance standards. The best examples f detailed statements is the Sphere Prject and the Peple in Aid cde, bth f which cmmit agencies t detailed standards f perfrmance in a number f technical areas. Cnversely, the Red Crss/NGO cde is mre a statement f general principle. And while the cuntry specific cdes may be quite detailed abut a particular prblem fr instance, armed escrts in Sierra Lene they say little abut anything else. An exceptin is the Grund Rules which cmmits Operatin Lifeline Sudan and the relief wings f the factins t a detailed list f mutual respnsibilities. Hw, r indeed if, general principles such as neutrality can be cnverted int practice in a specific cntext is an imprtant prblem. The Sphere Prject, fr instance, despite its technical detail, says very little abut neutrality. Anther very imprtant distinctin culd be described as internal versus external. A number f the cuntry specific cdes have an explicit bjective t influence the behaviur nt nly f 2

3 humanitarian agencies but als the warring parties. The Grund Rules were signed by the SPLA and were intended t prmte the SPLA s respect fr internatinal humanitarian and human rights law. The Sierra Lene cde wrkshp had as ne f its tw bjectives T ensure that the parties t the cnflict recgnise and bserve the impartiality and the invilability f humanitarian principles. The DRC cde likewise is addressed t the warring parties and has been signed by them. This is prbably the mst difficult area fr cdes and here they mve away frm self-regulatin int the area f cnditinality: bth the JPO and the Grund Rules have elements f cnditinality in them, thugh fall shrt f full humanitarian cnditinality. Research by ODI shws that this is the least effective area fr cdes. In shrt, humanitarian cdes cannt fill the vacuum f regulatin r impse regulatin n warring parties; that can nly be dne by the great pwers, if at all. (An upcming RRN Netwrk Paper will dcument this research in mre detail.) Cdes in Practice Develpment and Opt-in: The develpment f, and pt-in t, cdes are clsely related. Fr cuntry specific cdes develpment is ften hurried, pushed by a few agencies, and lacking in detail. The current cde fr the DRC has been pushed by sme dnrs, ntably ECHO, and ne large agency, MSF, has refused t pt-in. On the ther hand the Sphere Prject learned frm the experience f the Red Crss/ NGO cde and its prject team went thrugh a prcess f widespread and lengthy cnsultatin with many agencies. Opt-in t Sphere is cnsequently widespread, thugh nt s much with suthern agencies. (Fr a mre detailed analysis f Sphere, see Newsletter 12.) The Grund Rules t tk six mnths t negtiate between OLS and the SPLA and as a cnsequence addressed many cncerns f bth rganisatins. Develpment des nt stp with the prductin f a cde and many cdes cntinue t develp after they are signed. The JPO, fr instance, went thrugh several versins after first being signed in 1996 (see RRN Netwrk Paper 22). And the Sphere Prject t will cntinue t develp after field testing. Althugh cdes are vluntary, there is ften an element f cmpulsin t pt-in. As illustrated by the ACFOA piece, agency mtivatin in signing up Althugh cdes are vluntary, there is ften an element f cmpulsin t pt-in. can be partly defensive in that agencies are cncerned with their reputatin. Dnrs t are increasingly using signatry f a cde as a criterin fr disbursing mney fr example, the Disasters Emergency Cmmittee (DEC) in the UK with the Red Crss/NGO cde, and ECHO with the DRC cde. This raises imprtant questins abut the independence f humanitarian agencies and the extent t which cdes used in this way culd have a negative impact. Indeed under such circumstances they might reduce innvatin and experimentatin and make agencies refuse t wrk if they fear they cannt uphld standards fr gd reasns beynd their cntrl. Implementatin: One prblem with agencies signing up t cdes is that there is t little thught as t what changes will have t be made in agency prcedures as a result. This is particularly the case with shrter, vague and mre general cdes. Mre detail makes agencies think harder abut what it means t sign up. A recent study f British agencies reprted that the Red Crss/NGO cde, a shrt and general cde, is a statement which has nt been internalised by rganisatins and remains unused as a means f guiding and auditing their wrk. Agencies need t examine carefully what it means fr them Dnrs...increasingly use signatry f a cde as a criterin fr disbursing mney. t sign up t a cde, and develp a strategy fr its implementatin; implementatin als needs t be prperly linked with ther initiatives cncerned with increasing prfessinalisatin, such as training. S far it appears that evaluatins have hardly made reference t cdes f cnduct. There is rm fr develpment here. Cmpliance: Prbably the weakest area f cdes is what happens when a signatry breaks them. If the essential nature f a cde is that it is a public statement f principles r perfrmance bjectives against which an agency cmmits itself t be judged, then the cnsequences f breaking the cde are imprtant. One f the prblems is that all f the cmpliance mechanisms are, as the ACFOA piece puts it, cmplaints driven. Signing up t a cde is vluntary and the nature f the business means that agencies are lathe t reprt ne anther fr transgressin. This is reflected by the fact that Articles 3

4 cmpliance mechanisms are usually underdevelped, and if they d exist are under-used. The Red Crss/NGO cde, fr example, has nly had a handful f cmplaints in its five year histry and as yet has n frmal cmplaint r cmpliance mechanism. The idea f an Ombudsman has been flated by British agencies as ne way f addressing this prblem. Again, frmal external evaluatins culd have a rle here. Cnclusin As argued abve, perhaps the mst imprtant mtivatin behind cdes is that agencies are struggling with a vacuum f regulatin, nt just fr themselves but fr the way in which war is fught. Hwever, althugh cdes have cnsiderable prmise in sme areas they are prblematic in thers. Any real cde needs wide participatin in its develpment and pt-in and s depends n a cnstituency with shared values and bjectives. With a shared set f values, vagueness in a cde can be acceptable; withut it vagueness is a weakness and leads t cnfusin. Cdes als require individual agencies t develp strategies fr implementatin, mechanisms fr reprting n the strategy, independent evaluatin f the success f implementatin, an independent cmpliance mechanism, and the threat f publicity if cdes are brken. Given these pre-requisites cdes will prbably be mst successful in imprving technical perfrmance. Cdes are, unfrtunately thugh nt surprisingly, prbably least successful in terms f impsing regulatin n warring parties. This is simply nt smething agencies can d. What they can d, hwever, is establish their wn ethical psitin and it is in terms f develping cmmn ethical Prbably the weakest area f cdes is what happens when a signatry breaks them. r principled psitins in specific circumstances that success is mst mixed. One the ne hand it wuld seem that ften the cnflicts f accuntability are t great acrss the range f agencies invlved in humanitarian wrk fr them t share cmmn psitins. Hwever, develping a cmmn apprach t the principles f humanitarian actin in a specific cntext is very imprtant if agencies are t reduce the likelihd that they will be manipulated by antihumanitarian frces. T achieve this will require cnsiderably mre wrk in terms f thinking thrugh hw t put principles, as ppsed t standards, int practice. And cdes are nly part f the answer. Ntes 1. Sudan Relief and Rehabilitatin Assciatin, the humanitarian wing f the Sudan Peple s Liberatin Mvement. Inter-Agency Cdes f Cnduct Articles NGO/Red Crss Cde f Cnduct (1994) The Grund Rules (Suth Sudan, 1995) The Principles and Prtcls f Humanitarian Operatin (Liberia, 1995) Smali Aid Crdinatin Bdy Cde f Cnduct fr Internatinal rehabilitatin and develpment assistance t Smalia (1995) The Jint Plicy f Operatin (Liberia, 1996) The NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl (1996) The Peple in Aid Cde f Best Practice in the Management and Supprt f Aid Persnnel (UK, 1997) The Sphere Prject: The Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Respnse (1998) The Cde f Cnduct fr Humanitarian Agencies in Sierra Lene (1998) The Principles f Engagement fr Humanitarian Assistance in the DRC (1999) If anyne knws f any ther such cdes please cntact Nick Leader at the ODI n: 4

5 The Media and Cmplex Humanitarian Emergencies by Grdn Adam, Radi Partnership, Internatinal Centre fr Humanitarian Reprting Geneva, Switzerland There is little dubt that the media can have a prfund impact n cmplex emergencies. The best knwn example is the ntrius use f hate radi in Rwanda and Bsnia t encurage ethnic cleansing. Less well-knwn is the ptential fr the media t d the ppsite that is, t supprt the effrts f humanitarian aid agencies in cmplex emergencies even t the extent f helping with peacebuilding effrts. Internatinal agencies are increasingly interested in the ntin that, if handled apprpriately, the mass media culd deliver smart aid infrmatin which can be translated int the kind f knwledge that makes a psitive impact n cmplex emergencies similar t the impact f infrmatin n health educatin wrldwide. Backgrund Tday, mre peple are liable t experience cnflict than at any time in the past. Many f these peple are excluded frm the glbal revlutin in cmmunicatins: half the wrld s ppulatin has never made a phne call 1 and the grwth f FM radi statins is cncentrated in ppulatin centres while peple in mre remte areas have t make d with increasingly badly funded state bradcasters. These peple are ften thse mst likely t suffer frm pverty, and they are frequently in areas f cmplex emergency. Despite the fact that aid rganisatins and dnrs target such ppulatins with their pverty fcus prgrammes, generally they are the mst difficult t reach due t pr infrastructure and/r security cncerns. Hwever, they d pssess a vital piece f equipment which culd be their lifeline a radi. Radis are cheap and prtable. They dn t require mains electricity s they tend t survive in cnflict znes when ther mass media fails. BBC audience research shws that in Smalia, Rwanda and Liberia, fr instance, listenership t the BBC Wrld Service is high; als that cnflict generates listeners, as shwn by the Gulf War. 2 The mst recent statistic cmes frm a large UN survey in Afghanistan which shwed that n fewer than 50 per cent f the ppulatin regularly listens t the BBC Pasht and Persian language services. 3 Theretical Framewrk Evidence is munting that well-targeted media interventins can make a psitive cntributin t the livelihds f listeners living in cmplex emergency areas. Rbert Manff frm New Yrk University s Center fr War, Peace and News Media sees a ptential peace-building rle fr news bradcasters in cnflict areas in the fllwing terms. Jurnalism can, he says, amng ther things: cunter miscnceptins and rumurs; build cnsensus; facilitate cmmunicatin between cnflicting parties; analyse the cnflict and educate n the prcess f reslutin; prpse ptins and slutins t the cnflict. 4 This mdel emphasises the media s rle in enabling cmmunicatin as ppsed t simply prviding infrmatin. Infrmatin des nt necessarily lead t imprved knwledge and can be partial, irrelevant r just plain wrng. But in sensitive hands the media can be used t prmte genuine cmmunicatin which can help facilitate scial change. The implicatin f this mdel is that the strictly impartial jurnalistic apprach f reprting facts gives way t prducing prgrammes with a very definite editrial bjective whether it is t reduce land mines casualties r prmte peace-building slutins t cnflict. Measuring the impact f this s-called desired utcmes bradcasting is prblematic, but experience shws that a successful utcme is likely t be determined by certain cmmunicatins design criteria. The Cmmunicatins Initiative 5 has attempted t define these criteria in terms f prmting public discussin, building wrking partnerships, supprting lcal wnership f media interventins, systematic evaluatin and lng-term sustainability. Articles 5

6 The BBC Afghan Educatin Drama New Hme New Life One example f hw the media has been used successfully in this way is the BBC Afghan radi sap New Hme New Life, started in The stry is f the survival f tw cmmunities during a time f war. There is evidence that peple have learnt significant infrmatin frm the prgramme, and a 1997 survey fund that listeners f New Hme New Life and ther BBC prgrammes n mines awareness were nly half as likely t be invlved in mine explsins than nn-listeners. The survey sample was large a ttal f 60,000 peple were interviewed which increases cnfidence in the validity f the findings. 6 A number f factrs led t this impact. First, BBC Afghanistan is widely listened t and trusted; there are few ther credible infrmatin surces. Secnd, the prgramme is entertaining and cntains useful and relevant infrmatin. Third, listeners views are rutinely canvassed. Furth, Afghans have a strng ral/aural culture t which radi bradcasting is well suited. The verall bjective f these initiatives was t establish an editrially diverse, pluralistic media. But the initial lack f emphasis n prgramming and jurnalistic skills meant that prgramming frm these smaller lcal statins was generally pr and n challenge t the big state bradcasters whse prgramming cntinued t be partisan and at times (in the case f Republica Serpska TV SRT) hatemngering. NATO trps eventually frced the bradcast f the OBN news prgramme fr ne hur each evening thrugh SRT transmitters. 7 What are the lessns t be learned frm this experience? First, it was a serius missin nt t spell ut the respnsibilities and pwers f the internatinal cmmunity vis-a-vis lcal media in the Daytn Peace Accrds, particularly when it was well knwn that the media had played such a negative rle in the war. This was nt clarified until tw years later at a NATO summit in May Secnd, it is invariably a mistake t give mney t bradcasters in cmplex emergencies and then walk away. Fllwup advice, training and brainstrming n prgramme ideas is required. Articles The Afghan audience has assumed wnership f New Hme New Life and f the educatinal material it cnveys. Infrmatin wnership is a key criteria identified by the Cmmunicatins Initiative fr effective prgramming. Afghanistan is a case f a cmplex emergency where the creative use f mass media has delivered results where cnventinal aid effrts have failed: fewer peple are being injured by mines, nt as a result f training curses but thrugh listening t a radi sap pera. Bsnia: Media Refrm in an Ethnically Divided Sciety In Bsnia the media has been a key player in pstwar recnstructin, thugh in a different way. The internatinal cmmunity is the effective authrity in Bsnia, under pwers accrded t the Office f the High Representative (OHR). The Organisatin fr Security and Cperatin in Eurpe (OSCE), charged with hlding free electins in Bsnia, decided t spnsr the frmatin f an independent radi netwrk (FERN), while the OHR established an independent TV service called the Open Bradcasting Netwrk (OBN). Bth f these were intended t appeal t the three, until recently warring, cmmunities: Muslims, Crats and Serbs. The aid rganisatins the UN, the EU and the bi-lateral funders als funded a number f lcal radi and TV statins. Third is the preccupatin f the internatinal cmmunity with news prgramming. Objective reprting will take many years t achieve in Bsnia. An alternative apprach t use drama and ther entertainment prgramming t cnvey pr-scial messages has nt been part f the media strategy despite the ppularity f a hme-grwn TV sap in the Bsnian Muslim enclave f Grazde which became essential viewing befre it stpped after a year in Furth, errrs culd have been avided had the infrmatin strategists begun by asking what peple wanted t listen t and watch. Yet it tk tw years fr the first scial research f this kind t be cmmissined spearheaded by USAID and the Wrld Bank. The results f this research indicate a preference fr entertainment smething peple lack in the difficult task f rebuilding their lives after the war. 9 Cnclusins Infrmatin is pwer, and cmmunicatins is the prcess f prviding this pwer f knwledge t peple s they can make infrmed decisins abut imprving their lives. If the media is t be used t this end in cmplex emergencies it is clear that: 6

7 careful planning and a deep understanding f the target ppulatin are essential; partnerships f trust must be built between the media and aid rganisatins n the grund; realistic bjectives shuld be set when it cmes t desired utcmes prgramming: d the dables, unlike in Bsnia where the internatinal cmmunity wanted t put acrss ideas such the safe return f refugees and the extraditin f war criminals which were simply nt supprted by mst f the ppulatin. The prblems f delivering bulk aid t a cuntry at war, with pr cmmunicatins and a widely dispersed ppulatin, are enrmus. What is needed is a greater emphasis n smart aid the effective disseminatin f infrmatin t allw peple t help themselves. The rle f the cmmunicatr is t create the ptimal cnditins fr cnsumers f infrmatin t becme knwledgeable and t put their newly fund knwledge int actin. Majr dnrs are slwly recgnising the imprtance f supprting cmmunicatins initiatives in the field f develpment, cnflict and humanitarian aid. The ptential is enrmus, but funding remains the majr cnstraint. If this apprach can wrk in Afghanistan, hwever, it is surely wrth giving smart aid a higher pririty in cmplex emergencies elsewhere. Ntes 1. Telecmmunicatins Briefing Paper (1997) Pans, Lndn. 2. Internatinal Bradcasting and Audience Research Reprts (varius) BBC Wrld Service, Bush Huse, Lndn. 3. CIET Internatinal Afghanistan: The 1997 Natinal Mine Awareness Evaluatin, reprt t the United Natins Office Crdinating Humanitarian Assistance, Islamabad. 4. Manff, R (1997) Presentatin t the Cnference n the Media and Peacebuilding rganised by the Vice f America 5. Feek, W, Cmmunicatins Initiative, WWW: <http:/ /> 6. CIET Internatinal Afghanistan: The 1997 Natinal Mine Awareness Evaluatin, pp Maclay, D (Nv 1997) article in Prspect, pp Macley, D, p USAID Final Reprt (1998) Audience Share and Reactin t OBN Prgramming, Sarajev, Bsnia and Herzegvina. Cntact details fr ICHR can be fund at the end f the cnference reprt Strengthening Lifeline Media in Regins f Cnflict later in this newsletter. Grdn Adam is the cauthr f the bk Health n Air: A Guide t Creative Radi fr Develpment (1998) (Lndn: Health Unlimited). A fuller versin f this article will appear in Brassey s Defence Yearbk, RRN Netwrk Paper 28 ISBN: Nrth Krea: The Plitics f Fd Aid by Jn Bennett The uniquely difficult plitical climate fr internatinal assistance t Nrth Krea has smetimes distracted frm the fact that peple in the cuntry are suffering fr lack f basic essentials, nt least fd. The gvernment has reluctantly admitted t the crisis, entering int an uneasy pact with humanitarian agencies fr the first time in mdern histry. Evidence suggests that humanitarian assistance ver the past three years ntably the WFP s largest emergency prgramme in its histry has been f psitive benefit t thse mst vulnerable. Nevertheless, Nrth Krea presents an acute dilemma fr humanitarians determined t uphld minimum standards f accuntability. The gvernment has cnsistently failed t prvide adequate infrmatin abut, and access t, the ppulatins f cncern. The clash f cultural nrms and the deep distrust f freign interventin des nt facilitate the requirements fr transparency and dnr accuntability. Humanitarians face a familiar paradx: hw t imprt huge quantities f fd and ther cmmdities t stabilise a vlatile regin while ensuring internatinally acceptable levels f accuntability. In advcating minimum humanitarian principles, what kind f leverage d aid agencies have in cuntries where such principles are either misunderstd r simply nt high pririty? Fr sme, the remarkable accmmdatin f freign aid agencies in the past three years shuld nt be threatened by seemingly intractable debates ver transparency the preccupatin f the givers rather than the receivers. Fr thers, it is time t impse stricter measures f accuntability, lest ur hithert lenient psitin with the Nrth Krean authrities becmes an institutinal standard in the cuntry. One thing is certain: by millin tnnes f fd aid later the acute phase f the Nrth Krean emergency was already ver. Are we, nce again, wrrying abut standards in retrspect, lcking the stable after the hrse has blted? Articles 7

8 Articles Advcacy arund Disability in the Midst f War: The Lebann by Lina Abu-Habib, Oxfam, Lebann In August 1998, physically handicapped frm Lebann, Syria, Yemen and frmer Yugslavia, as well as handicapped Palestinians, tk t the streets f Beirut t prtest the then Cabinet s refusal t discuss a prpsal fr a disability bill. The message f thse invlved in the march was simple: eight years after the end f the civil war the disabled wanted t enjy their full rights and respnsibilities as stipulated by the cnstitutin. Many felt there had been very few gains fr disabled peple despite the enrmus amunt f mney invested in the cuntry s recnstructin plan. The Fight fr Representatin and Integratin Befre and during the war disabled peple were cnsidered t be intellectually inferir and immature and hence had t be specially catered fr generally within the cnfines f highly patriarchal and ften cnfessinal (religius) rehabilitatin and service institutins. Crudely speaking, disability was a lucrative business and state supprt limited as investment in scial services had never been priritised. While the link between pverty and the prevalence f disability cannt be explred here it shuld be nted that disability resulting frm bth inadequate preventive health measures and treatments is mre likely t affect the pr: mst disabled in the Lebann were, and are, pr. In additin, many disabled had little access t educatin and were cnsequently ill-equipped fr any frm f emplyment which might have allwed sme measure f ecnmic independence. Prir t and during the war disabled peple were therefre at the mercy f the s-called rehabilitatin industry, which had n clear human develpment bjectives. In the absence f any frm f representatin and rganisatin (disabled peple were seen as beneficiaries nly) this rehabilitative business was accuntable t n ne. As a result, the scial and ecnmic well-being f peple with disabilities, as well as their plitical representatin, was perceived as unimprtant. Fr the disabled it was a vicius circle f pverty, marginalisatin, explitatin and hpelessness. N lnger prepared t accept their subrdinate status a small grup f disabled wmen and men funded the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Unin (LPHU) in mid The purpse f this unin was nt the prvisin f services but mbilisatin f the disabled; the unin encuraged the disabled t speak ut and challenge their marginalisatin. Sn after the creatin f the LPHU, Israel invaded Lebann. The human and material lsses caused by this aggressin vershadwed all ther cncerns, including the struggle f the disabled. Yet fr the cre LPHU it was clear that disability as a scial, ecnmic and plitical issue had never been a pririty. Disability culd nt be dissciated frm the verall scial and plitical cntext and gradually the disabled began t challenge and ppse nt nly the war but als its rt causes ntably the unequal distributin f wealth and pwer and the religius/cnfessinal divisins which permeated Lebanese scial and plitical systems, and which exacerbated and prlnged the cnflict. The LPHU During the War Years The war led t the massive internal displacement f sme 300,000 peple. During this time the LPHU sught t identify internally displaced persns wh were disabled and integrate them within its activities. T date, the LPHU cntinues t priritise the needs f the displaced frm suth Lebann wh are still regularly frced ut f their villages as a result f Israeli aggressin. Furthermre, the LPHU played an imprtant rle in supprting the ppulatin f suth Lebann as it actively participated in emergency relief initiatives. This demnstrated the rganisatin s wider cmmitment t vulnerable and neglected cmmunities. Despite the abundance f relief and aid mney during the war the LPHU was nt recgnised by lcal r dnr agencies. Many agencies failed t identify mbilisatin, rganisatin, lbbying and advcacy arund disability as a key strategy fr actin. In additin, many f the well-established lcal NGOs which enjyed elquent and mstly middle-class leadership were unsure f hw t deal with a grup which was grassrts-based as well as cnfrntatinal. 8

9 The Disability Mvement in Pst-war Lebann The end f the war did nt imprve the situatin f the disabled, wh cntinued t be cncerned abut the absence f a scial agenda within the much publicised recnstructin plan. This was further aggravated by an unstable ecnmy and the absence f disabled persns frm plitical participatin and representatin in pst-war Lebann. LPHU advcacy thus went beynd lking at the specific cnditins f disabled persns t call fr a general verhaul f the plitical system. Fr example, LPHU members tk an active rle in initiatives t curb grss envirnmental abuses all ver the cuntry. They als mnitred and tk part in grassrts mbilisatin during the parliamentary and municipal electins in 1992, 1996 and The electins prvided an pprtunity t finally put disability n the plitical agenda. Ntwithstanding the electin f three disabled men as lcal municipal cuncil members in June 1998, disability is still nt perceived as a pririty fr scial actin. The histry f the LPHU shws an evlving maturity, reflected by clser invlvement in natinal issues and cncrete effrts t integrate int and mark the lcal plitical and develpment scene. Clse netwrking and cllabratin with selected rganisatins is seen as imprtant in creating a clear strategy twards the new gvernment, which claims t be cmmitted t administrative refrm, and its relevant institutins. Sylvana Lakkis, president f the LPHU, states We shall give them the benefit f dubt and seek their help and cllabratin. Hwever, we are ready t take t the streets again if they decide t ignre us. Freign Supprt and Slidarity empwered t achieve any impact in such desperate cnditins. Questins abunded: what impact was desirable? Wh becmes the natural interlcutr f an advcacy and lbby mvement when the state system is almst nn-existent? Skill develpment was needed as much as funding: interpersnal skills, skills in rganisatinal develpment, in cmmunicatin and in advcacy. It is clear that early internatinal supprt t the disability mvement was instrumental in its evlutin. This external supprt allwed the develpment f much-needed internal structures and cmmunicatins systems. It facilitated cntact with internatinal bdies and fra which, ver time, came t prfile the LPHU as a leading grassrts mvement. The supprt f an external rganisatin meant that the grassrts grup culd access internatinal initiatives. The fact that, fr example, members f the LPHU were able t attend the UN Cnference n Wmen (Beijing, September 1995) was instrumental t the rganisatin s develpment f a gender agenda. Oxfam s netwrk f relatins and cntacts in the regin and internatinally als led t links with new assciatins in Yemen which were interested in strategies fr grassrts mbilisatin and advcacy. Later, in 1998, disabled peple s assciatins frm the frmer Yugslavia were put in tuch with the LPHU t explre ways in which disability culd be used as a uniting cncern in rder t transcend cnfessinal and cmmunal divides in that regin. A mixed grup f Albanian and Serb disabled spent tw weeks with the LPHU during which time they participated in the assciatin s Disabled Rights Campaign. The experience clarified ways in which the marginalisatin f the disabled (in the case f wmen and ther vulnerable grups) cuts acrss cnfessinal and ther divides and shuld thus lead t cmmn actin and struggle. The LPHU has received supprt frm sme internatinal rganisatins. Fr Oxfam GB, fr example, the validity f supprting such a mvement was self-evident and indeed attractive particularly at a time when cncerns fr immediate survival were paramunt. The fact that a grassrts grup was able t mbilise hundreds f disabled persns arund the issue f rights was nticeable and wrthy f supprt. Mre imprtantly, in a situatin f vilence, dissent and factinalism, such an initiative came as a breath f fresh air. It was nt crystal clear, n the ther hand, hw such an rganisatin culd best be supprted and It is imprtant t pint ut that it tk the direct interventin f an rganisatin in this case Oxfam GB t highlight the patriarchal nature and functin f the LPHU which, fr sme time, had jepardised the active representatin and participatin f disabled wmen in decisin-making. Wmen with disabilities are very rarely at the frefrnt f the mvements f the disabled. Gender mainstreaming in the disability mvement and agenda is prceeding at a very slw pace; smetimes the nly way fr disabled wmen t be heard is t create their wn rganisatin. Mre infrmatin n the LPHU can be btained frm the fllwing address: r frm Oxfam n Articles 9

10 OCHA One Year On: Is Humanitarian Crdinatin any Better? by Sarah Lngfrd, Plicy Sectin, Wrld Fd Prgramme, Rme, Italy Based n an interview with Rss Muntain, Assistant Emergency Relief Crdinatr and Directr, OCHA-Geneva Articles The Office fr the Crdinatin f Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was created within the UN Secretariat as a part f Kfi Annan s refrm prgramme in January It replaced the widely-criticised and shrtlived Department f Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) which had in turn replaced an ailing crdinating disaster relief ffice (UNDRO). Under the new leadership f Sergi Vieira de Mell, OCHA is again trying t find the right prfile. Fcus has been reduced t three main themes: crdinatin f humanitarian respnse, plicy develpment, and advcacy. Essentially, OCHA s mandate is t mbilise and crdinate the cllective effrts f the internatinal cmmunity, in particular thse f the UN system, t meet in a cherent and timely manner the needs f thse expsed t human suffering and material destructin in disasters and emergencies. 1 A tugh call, cnsidering the institutinal bundaries f the UN agencies, plitics within the Secretariat, the whims and interests f dnrs, and the prliferatin f rganisatins nw invlved in the aid business. S what has changed in humanitarian crdinatin apart frm the name f the crdinating bdy? Is OCHA making a difference? T be fair, these questins are a little premature given the relative yuth f OCHA. Hwever, a lk at sme f the main elements f humanitarian refrm will give an idea f the current directin and challenges. Structural Rerganisatin A clear change was the transfer f respnsibility fr mine actin, dembilisatin prgrammes and disaster mitigatin t the Department f Peace-Keeping Operatins and UNDP, allwing OCHA t shed mst f its scalled peratinal respnsibilities. Still in prcess is a handver f its relief strage facility in Pisa t the WFP. Less clear has been the rearrangement f functins and divisin f labur between OCHA s ffices in New Yrk and Geneva: the plitical and humanitarian capitals. The New Yrk ffice nw cnsists f a revamped but sadly under-staffed plicy, advcacy and infrmatin divisin, the IASC/ECHA 2 Secretariat, and an emergency liaisn branch. The latter, given its prximity t the heartbeat f the UN s plitical, military and security decisin-making authrities, is key in feeding the leadership with the latest crsscutting plicy issues fr the Secretary General and the Security Cuncil. On the ther side f the Atlantic the Geneva ffice, led by Rss Muntain as Assistant Under-Secretary General fr Humanitarian Affairs, has been re-established as the principal fcal pint fr emergency respnse, field crdinatin supprt and day-t-day cntacts with the field. Its Cmplex Emergency Respnse Branch is respnsible fr strategic fieldbased planning and cnslidated appeals, while the Disaster Respnse Branch (essentially the UNDRO f ld) is respnsible fr natural, envirnmental and technlgical disaster respnse. An IASC liaisn unit is attached t Rss Muntain s ffice and, as an anmaly, the Internatinal Decade fr Natural Disaster Reductin Secretariat, in its last year, still reprts directly t the ffice in New Yrk. A questin nt addressed in the refrm prcess was the ptential benefit f merging the natural disaster and cmplex emergency respnse branches. This culd have built up institutinal memry especially fr cuntries which are bth prne t recurring natural disasters and suffer prtracted cnflict and brught mre cherence t the abundance f preparedness and respnse mechanisms that c-exist but dn t necessarily interrelate. Fr example, OCHA s Emergency Telecmmunicatins Prject, the UN Disaster and Assessment Crdinatin team, the Military and Civil Defence Unit, and the Emergency Stckpile Register, while all wrthy prjects in their wn right, still need t be ratinalised in the cntext f verall standby and respnse capacities. The creatin f OCHA has als required a painful staffing regularisatin exercise t bring it in line with standard UN rules and prcedures. Despite sme new agency secndments, Rss Muntain admits that OCHA is nt a new creatin and nt based n new recruitment, but n existing persnnel. He als highlights the cntinuing unstable funding base: Of the 137 cre psts at OCHA, 60 per cent still need extra-budgetary financing, smething we highlighted at the ECOSOC special sessin. But despite supprt in principle frm 10

11 dnrs and develping cuntries, mre lng-term financial supprt has nt been translated int reality. Field Crdinatin and Respnse OCHA nw has field crdinatin ffices r integrated infrmatin netwrks in 23 cuntries, with a Mscw ffice repened recently. The ffices, mstly inherited frm DHA, have met with varying degrees f success, and the quality has ften been dependent n funding levels and the ability t recruit field staff as and when needed. Of fundamental imprtance, Muntain stresses, is that OCHA s humanitarian crdinatin units reprt t the UN resident crdinatrs and humanitarian crdinatrs (RCs/ HCs) and dn t act as a headquarters utpst with a separate functin. This was perhaps nt understd in the past. But field crdinatin depends nt nly n the prvisin f adequate, timely and experienced supprt by OCHA t RCs/HCs. It als depends very much n the standard f leadership and preparedness f the crdinatrs themselves. A UNDP OCHA cnsultatin with RCs/HCs tk place in December t discuss hw t imprve field crdinatin. The crdinatrs made a number f basic recmmendatins fr fllw-up by UNDP and OCHA, including ways t strengthen incuntry crdinatin, relate t headquarters, imprve strategy and prgramming, and the relatinship between humanitarian principles and plitical actin. The central rle f NGOs was acknwledged given that they are nt nly indispensable partners but are als imprtant channels f resurces. Additinally, recgnitin was given t the current inadequate standards f security cverage fr humanitarian staff and the need fr mre funds t be made available fr supprting field security. One f the main crdinatin tls fr cmplex emergencies at the field level is the Cnslidated Appeal Prcess (CAP). In the past these have been criticised fr being shpping lists f aid prjects with n priritisatin. Tgether with IASC members, OCHA invested much effrt in 1998 t strengthen each stage f appeal preparatin and has made significant steps frward. In line with UN refrm, the CAP is nw suppsed t be the principal mechanism fr cllective prgramming and resurce mbilisatin fr the UN system and it seems generally accepted t have a set f agreed principles as basic guidelines fr any humanitarian peratin. Each dcument will als include a cmmn humanitarian actin plan, r CHAP. This is an articulatin f gals and bjectives f the humanitarian cmmunity fr the perid cvered. Anther interesting develpment is that there is recgnitin that security cmpnents need t be included systematically int the appeal dcuments. The culminatin f these effrts was the first ever launch f 13 UN cnslidated inter-agency appeals, tgether, in December. Advcacy and Plicy Pririties Althugh smetimes lacking fcus and impact in its plicy wrk in the past, OCHA has begun, based n mre extensive cnsultatin with the IASC, t identify specific humanitarian issues f cmmn cncern and use its vice at the highest levels as well as in cnjunctin with plitical, peacekeeping, human rights and develpment actrs. At the tp f OCHA s plicy and advcacy agenda is the need t build greater respect fr humanitarian principles and internatinal humanitarian law a theme addressed by de Mell at the Security Cuncil recently. The relatinship between human rights and humanitarian actin as well as the humanitarian impact f sanctins regimes are tw ther majr areas fr cntinued wrk in 1999, as well as the need t facilitate a crdinated strategy t address internally displaced persns issues. Little prgress was made by DHA n this latter issue. With regard t the issue f frm crisis t recvery, and hw t stimulate interest frm develpment actrs at early stages f a relief effrt, Muntain recgnises that this is a real prblem and a trtuusly lng prcess. As an example f a recent initiative t try and address this prblem in cuntries affected by Hurricane Mitch, OCHA wrked clsely with UNDP t launch a transitinal appeal drawing attentin at an early stage t mid- and lng-term needs. Clearly OCHA differs frm DHA in the way it takes n a mre prminent advcacy rle and practive apprach t crdinatin. But the main prblem that faced DHA will cntinue t test OCHA that is, the buy-in frm thers. Many aid agencies are ttally unaware f OCHA and its ptential rle. Many that are aware still questin the expertise and authrity f nnperatinal crdinatin staff and the additinal layers. In sum, OCHA s true ptential in cntributing t humanitarian crdinatin can nly be achieved with the active, rather than just verbal, supprt f dnrs and all peratinal agencies. As Muntain says the prf will be in the pudding. Ntes 1 Excerpt frm OCHA s missin statement. 2 Inter-Agency Standing Cmmittee/ Executive Cmmittee fr Humanitarian Affairs. Fr mre infrmatin abut OCHA r cntact Fr infrmatin n glbal humanitarian activities, refer t ReliefWeb at <> Articles 11

12 News News Sme Cdes f Cnduct Reviewed Cde f Cnduct f the Australian Cuncil fr Overseas Aid The Cde f Cnduct f the Australian Cuncil fr Overseas Aid (ACFOA) was a psitive develpment which came in the therwise negative wake f media allegatins against a prminent Australian NGO in The Australian gvernment, anxius t rectify prblems f accuntability, decided t increase regulatin f the NGO aid sectr but was persuaded by ACFOA t allw the industry t self-regulate its behaviur and standards. The Cde f Cnduct came int effect in 1997 and has made sme impressive achievements ver the past tw years, particularly in raising the awareness f standards and behaviur t which all aid rganisatins shuld adhere. The Cde f Cnduct and the mnitring f NGO cmpliance is verseen by a cmmittee which cnsists f six elected NGO representatives, ne independent chairpersn, and a nminee f the Australian Cnsumers Assciatin. One f the cmmittee s main areas f fcus in 1998 was t ensure that the annual reprts f NGOs met the six minimum requirements necessary t fulfil the stipulatins f the cde, and that agencies were individually infrmed f areas in which they were nt in cmpliance. NGOs have been given until 30 June 1999 t rectify prblem areas, and training wrkshps have been rganised t assist agencies in meeting the reprting requirements. Meeting the standardised annual reprting requirements f the cde is als a new criterin fr accreditatin with the Australian Agency fr Internatinal Develpment (AusAID). Frmerly agencies were nly required t be signatries f the cde, but nw agencies must als submit an apprved annual reprt and be cleared f any serius cmplaint which may have been made t the Cde f Cnduct Cmmittee. T date ne frmal and tw infrmal cmplaints have been referred t the cmmittee, f which ne minr breach f the cde was identified. Steady prgress has thus been made by ACFOA and the Cde f Cnduct Cmmittee in infrming NGOs f their bligatins under the cde and in ffering the tls t agencies t facilitate cmpliance. But while the regulatins stipulated in the cde serve a vital functin in the Australian aid cmmunity, there are several areas f cncern yet t be addressed by the industry. The first limitatin f the cde is its primary fcus n the rights f dnrs. In fact Cde f Cnduct is smewhat f a misnmer since the cde nly addresses this aspect f an rganisatin s activities; n mentin is made f the rights f beneficiaries t receive apprpriate and ethical aid. Six very general peratinal principles are mentined in the preamble t the cde, but these are vague aims rather than enfrceable regulatins. The Sphere Prject which sets minimum standards in the technical prvisin f aid cmplements the current cde in peratinal guidelines, as des the Cde f Cnduct fr the Internatinal Red Crss and Red Crescent Mvement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. But these internatinal initiatives have a limited applicatin in the Australian aid cmmunity, and d nt bviate the need fr the Australian cde t address ethical issues in the prvisin f humanitarian and develpment aid. The ACFOA cde is als limited in its ability t sanctin NGOs which breach aspects f the cde. It is irnic that althugh the existence f the cde cnfers public trust t the NGO sectr, t publicise the wrngdings f an NGO may cmprmise that trust in the entire aid industry. One wuld hpe that public cnfidence wuld be bsted by transparent and public self-regulatin, but such an utcme is far frm certain. The cautin with which members f the aid cmmunity treat any discussin f the need fr guidelines is illustrated by the running sheet fr the launch f the Sphere Prject in Australia n 29 January It stipulates that glbal cperatin shuld be emphasised t ensure that the media des nt fcus n the need fr minimum standards. That the industry is in need f set standards, the running sheet asserts, is far frm the case. 1 12

13 The third cnstraint f the cde in regulating the behaviur f Australian NGOs is that cmpliance is cmplaints-driven. Fr example, the NGO respnse t the tsunami in Papua New Guinea in late 1998 raises many questins abut adherence t fundraising stipulatins in the cde, yet in the absence f a frmal cmplaint n inquiry has been undertaken by ACFOA r the Cde f Cnduct Cmmittee. This is particularly surprising since ACFOA was the reference pint fr the tsunami appeal, the respnse t which was s lucrative that ACFOA was cmpelled t issue a statement saying that enugh funding had been pledged. Many NGOs did react t the tsunami, but mst withdrew nce the emergency needs t the limited affected ppulatin were met. It is difficult t believe that all the funds dnated in respnse t the tsunami were used t this effect. Did the agencies invlved specify in the fine print f their appeal that any excess funds wuld be spent n lnger term prjects elsewhere? After all, a high-prfile emergency t which the public respnds warrants a public explanatin as t hw unused funds are spent. Thus despite the cmmendable prgress made twards enhancing cmpliance t the principles set frth in the ACFOA Cde f Cnduct, mre attentin is required t the brader aspects f NGO integrity and accuntability. Analysing the strengths and weaknesses f the cde is a psitive base frm which t start the debate in the Australian aid cmmunity. Ntes 1. CARE Australia Cmmunicatin Sectin, Running Sheet fr the Launch f the Sphere Prject, 21 January Full cpies f the ACFOA cde are available frm ACFOA. Write t: The Chair, ACFOA Cde f Cnduct Cmmittee, Private Bag 3, Deakin, ACT 2600, Australia. Fax: (+61) Cntributrs t this sectin ACFOA: Fina Terry, Australian Natinal University Sierra Lene Cde: Paul Harvey, c/ Children s Aid Direct NGO Prtcl: James Kunder, Independent Cnsultant Future f EU Aid: Kenraad Van Brabant, RRN Crdinatr ECHO Tackles Human Rights: Camilla Brucknüer, ECHO IANSA: Kenraad Van Brabant, RRN Crdinatr, with Saferwrld. Principles f Engagement fr Emergency Humanitarian Assistance in the DRC Late last year the wrsening humanitarian situatin in the DRC tgether with increased security risks t humanitarian agencies made it necessary t seek cnsensus n a cmmn apprach t the delivery f humanitarian assistance, based n the applicatin f agreed principles. This set f principles the Principles f Engagement fr Emergency Humanitarian Assistance in the Demcratic Republic f Cng aims at increasing the efficiency and pertinence f aid and maximising the humanitarian space fr the relief cmmunity. They are based n the ICRC s Cde f Cnduct and were first set ut at a meeting in Nairbi n 23 Nvember The principles are addressed t the internatinal humanitarian cmmunity as well as t the plitical and military authrities in the DRC. General verarching principles are defined as impartiality; neutrality; independence (aid based slely n need); human rights; participatin with lcal partners; crdinatin between agencies; transparency f humanitarian actrs; and accuntability. In additin, sme general prtcls are mentined with regard t accessibility, security and types f interventin, and mnitring and evaluatin. The principles als set ut sme practical means fr imprving crdinatin mechanisms and mnitring cmpliance t the principles. On 28 January this year a fllw-up meeting was rganised jintly by ECHO and OCHA. The purpse f this meeting was t discuss ways f establishing a cherent humanitarian prgram in the DRC fllwing the ICRC s Cde f Cnduct Principles f Engagement framewrk. In particular, the meeting aimed at designing practical mechanisms t ensure crdinatin and prmtin f cmpliance. Crdinatin Crdinatin mechanisms need t be established t supprt humanitarian peratins thrughut the DRC. Such crdinatin mechanisms shuld be light in structure, and facilitative rather than directive. It was thught that ne way f addressing crdinatin needs wuld be thrugh the establishment f regular crdinatin platfrms in each f the centres f humanitarian actin. The crdinatin platfrms in News 13

14 News the different areas wuld be established accrding t the varying features f that specific area. In practice, these platfrms will be managed by a fcal pint assigned by the lcal humanitarian partners in the regin. This fcal pint will facilitate the flw f infrmatin (n security cnditins, humanitarian pririties, peratinal crdinatin, jint assessments, etc) within the regin and t ther centres. The fcal pint will fster cllective respnses t prblems encuntered in the curse f humanitarian peratins and stimulate the elabratin f a cmprehensive plan f actin. In areas where there is an effective UN presence the UN may be the apprpriate partner t assume the respnsibilities f managing such platfrms. In areas where there has been n UN presence humanitarian partners perating in the area will be encuraged t designate such a persn/rganisatin. Humanitarian fficials with reginal r sub-reginal mandates will be encuraged t cntinue their effrts in supprting humanitarian partners in setting up the necessary crdinatin platfrms and, when required, facilitate the flw f infrmatin, the cntact/negtiatins with authrities, and the designing f a glbal actin plan. Adherence t the Principles f Engagement Recgnitin was given t the imprtance f reaffirming the basic humanitarian principles gverning humanitarian peratins thrughut the DRC. It was made clear that the dcument that emerged frm the prcess in Nairbi was nt an attempt t elabrate new principles fr humanitarian actin but merely t reiterate principles already spelt ut in the ICRC s Cde f Cnduct. Mechanisms t encurage adherence t these principles were defined in terms f finding reslutins t prblems rather than identifying sanctins r penalties fr nn-respect. Additinal levels f recurse pen t grieved parties were identified as including: crdinatin platfrms in each regin (slidarity between all humanitarian partners); reginal representatives apprach senir authrities at central level (pssibly undertaken in parallel t attempted reslutin at lcal level); ambassadrs, special envys (EU, UN), and headquarters. Next Steps Tw key next steps were defined as the fllwing: 1. Humanitarian partners in the field will be encuraged t wrk tgether t set up the crdinatin platfrms and will begin t prduce regular reprts (by the end f February 1999). Humanitarian fficials with reginal r subreginal mandates will be encuraged t supprt this prcess. 2. A similar meeting will be cnvened in May1999 t review the effectiveness f humanitarian peratins in the DRC and evaluate the pertinence f crdinatin mechanisms. Fr mre infrmatin cntact Frances Smith, acting head f unit fr ECHO1 and advisr n peratinal crdinatin, The Sierra Lene Cde f Cnduct The rigins f the current Cde f Cnduct fr Sierra Lene date back t 1996 when agencies develped standards fr child prtectin activities. This prmpted dialgue n the need fr a brader cde fr humanitarian agencies which was frmalised at a wrkshp held in Cnakry during the Junta perid, and adpted by ver 40 agencies. Ntwithstanding current events, the need fr a revised cde came abut fllwing the restratin f the demcratic gvernment in February In particular, the Cnakry cde had incrprated a nguns plicy, the interpretatin f which had caused sme cntrversy. In additin, a number f agencies had nt taken part in the Cnakry prcess and n lcal NGOs had been present. The revised cde wuld, it was hped, braden the level f participatin amng a wider range f agencies and revitalise the prcess f disseminating the cde t ther cncerned parties ntably ECOMOG and the gvernment. Prcess and Output A three-day wrkshp, with an additinal disseminatin day fr the gvernment and ECOMOG fficials, was cnvened t revise the cde. Over 30 representatives frm Sierra Lenean NGOs, as well as internatinal NGOs, the ICRC, UN and dnr agencies attended. The stated 14

15 bjectives f the wrkshp were t review and update the Cde f Cnduct with the dual aim f: i. reinfrcing a self-regulatry and crdinated apprach fr the delivery f humanitarian assistance; ii. ensuring the parties t the cnflict recgnise and bserve the impartiality and invilability f humanitarian principles. Key questins cncerned the phrasing f the sectin n the use f armed escrts, and whether r nt t refer t relatins between the NGO cmmunity and the gvernment. A cnsensus was reached that armed escrts shuld nly be used as a last resrt, and criteria that wuld need t be met befre an armed escrt was used were agreed. With regard t NGO/ gvernment relatins it was decided that the cde wuld nly refer t principles f humanitarian peratins, and that the issue f relatins between the tw wuld be left t a separate wrkshp rganised and planned by the gvernment at a later date. A revised cde was eventually agreed. This is a signed dcument and a cmmittee cnsisting f representatives frm internatinal NGOs, natinal NGOs, the UN, dnrs, with the ICRS as bservers has been given respnsibility fr prmting the cde and dealing with disputes arising ver its interpretatin and implementatin. Validity f the Cde While the wrkshp was able t draw n experience frm Sudan, Liberia and Afghanistan in terms f their Cdes f Cnduct, the questin arse as t whether the Sierra Lene cde was merely climbing n a humanitarian principles bandwagn r whether the prcess was actually useful. It was generally agreed that the prcess was beneficial fr the fllwing reasns: The prcess f hlding the wrkshp was itself beneficial as it brught tgether mst f the humanitarian cmmunity and ensured a brad understanding and agreement n cre humanitarian principles. The invlvement f Sierra Lenean NGOs was particularly imprtant as they had nt participated in the develpment f the Cnakry cde and their participatin will ensure a brader cmmitment t the revised cde. The wrkshp prvided a frum fr discussin f key prblems facing the humanitarian cmmunity ntably the prblem f restricted access and the questin f when, and in what circumstances, the use f armed escrts wuld be justified. The agreement that the cde will be a signed dcument and that a cmmittee will be frmed t versee disseminatin and implementatin is a key strengthening f the existing cde. If the cde is t have any real impact n humanitarian peratins the disseminatin prcess will clearly be crucial. This is nw being planned by the Cde f Cnduct Cmmittee. Several key pints shuld be nted: Nt all humanitarian agencies were present at the wrkshp. Identifying thse agencies nt represented and seeking their cmmitment, particularly amng Sierra Lene NGOs, will be a key first step. Disseminatin needs t begin in individual agencies. Each agency will need t ensure that all staff understand what the cde means fr their wrk in practical terms. Ensuring that ther key parties in Sierra Lene, ntably ECOMOG, the CDF and the gvernment, understand and supprt the cde will be crucial. The cmmittee will be able t draw and build n existing disseminatin experience: Cncern Universal was invlved in disseminating the Cnakry cde and the ICRC has been cnducting its wn disseminatin campaign, based n humanitarian principles. Althugh the current situatin in Sierra Lene makes the revisin f the cde appear a smewhat redundant exercise, it is clear that when access becmes pssible again the issues raised by the cde are likely t be mre imprtant than ever. In particular, if the rebels remain in cntrl f large parts f the cuntry the questin f hw t gain access t these areas while maintaining neutrality, and with the agreement f the demcratically elected gvernment, will becme even mre critical. Fr details cntact Paul Harvey: c/ Children s Aid Direct, 12 Prtman Rad, Reading, Berkshire,UK, RG30 1EA. Tel: (+44) Fax: (+44) Website: <> News 15

16 News Evaluatin f the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl In September 1996, a number f InterActin member agencies active in emergency respnse signed the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl. The prtcl, a key element f InterActin s nging effrts t enhance disaster respnse by NGOs, cmmitted signatries t try t reach cnsensus n 37 frequently cntentius r disruptive issues. By signing the prtcl, members pledged t cnsult with ther NGOs and partners n issues they were likely t face in situatins f crisis. Amng the 37 subject areas identified fr cnsultatin were: establishment f a frum fr NGO internal cnsultatin and interface with ther disaster respnse participants; relatins with lcal authrities; lcal emplyment practices; media relatins; security arrangements; relatins with indigenus NGOs; NGO military relatins; NGO UN relatins; infrmatin sharing n prject selectin; adptin f sciecnmic prgram appraches. In April 1998, InterActin cntracted a cnsultant t evaluate the prtcl. Specifically, the cnsultant was asked t determine the extent t which the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl is being implemented by signatry agencies and t determine the lessns learned by signatry agency headquarters persnnel in their effrts t ensure that field staff undertake effrts at cnsensus-building. A reprt with recmmendatins in the fllwing categries was prepared: recmmendatins fr mdificatins f the prtcl t enhance its usefulness t field persnnel; recmmendatins fr internal agency measures which wuld increase the extent f the prtcl s use by signatry agencies; recmmendatins fr field prcedures and structures t facilitate achievement f cnsensus amng signatry and ther agency persnnel. In rder t carry ut this mandate mre than 35 individuals with expertise in NGO cperatin during emergencies were interviewed. These 35 represented signatry NGO managers and staff, staff f indigenus NGOs, bilateral dnrs, and UN agencies. The interviews were cnducted in the US and in Liberia. Liberia was selected because a number f InterActin members and ther internatinal NGOs were wrking there, because NGOs had encuntered serius crdinatin challenges during the cnflict in Liberia, and because a substantial crdinatin system amng NGOs had evlved in Mnrvia. Amng the findings were: The NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl has nt, in general, been systematically prmted by the headquarters f signatry NGOs. Field persnnel interviewed fr the assessment are nt aware f the prtcl. NGO crdinatin effrts, prperly structured, can mve beynd cllabratin n administrative and lgistics issues t cver majr prgramme and advcacy issues. Highly structured NGO crdinatin mechanisms, like thse established in Liberia, can enhance cperatin bth amng NGOs and with partners. Reaching cnsensus n the prtcl s list f issues ptentially requires significant trade-ffs fr field-based NGO managers, fr example between security issues and lcal NGO participatin. Serius partnerships with indigenus NGOs, especially during disaster respnse, require fcused effrts. The prtcl, as currently written, ignres the imprtant rle f dnr agencies. Field-based NGO managers must have mre guidance frm headquarters n hw far they can g in supprting cperatin. Field-based NGO managers want t knw hw t fund crdinatin mechanisms. These findings, elabrated in sme detail in the evaluatin dcument, generate six recmmendatins fr actin by InterActin and/r member agencies. The six recmmendatins and next steps suggested in the evaluatin are: 1. The headquarters f signatry agencies must d mre t prmte the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl. 2. The prtcl shuld emphasise mre strngly the imprtance f establishing structured crdinatin mechanisms. 3. InterActin and signatry agencies shuld examine techniques t jumpstart NGO cllbratin in emergencies. 16

17 4. InterActin and signatry agencies shuld supplement the prtcl with a succinct summary f best practices in field-based cperatin. 5. The prtcl dcument itself shuld be revised t include (1) advcacy and (2) relatins with dnrs amng its tpics. 6. InterActin shuld engage OFDA and ther dnr agencies in discussins n what thse agencies can d t enhance implementatin f the prtcl, including, pssibly, funding and inclusin in grant guidelines. InterActin was disappinted but nt surprised by the finding that field wrkers were unfamiliar with the prtcl. While the mtive and spirit which prmpted its develpment are evident in the enhanced NGO cperatin which has taken place in recent years in Liberia, Sierre Lene, Ksv, Nrth Krea and ther disaster sites, it is evident frm anecdtal reprts that mre needs t be dne t put the prtcl int practice. The evaluatr briefed InterActin s Disaster Respnse Cmmittee at its semiannual plenary meeting n 3 December His presentatin was fllwed by a discussin n measures t be taken t try t imprve the prtcl, alng the lines f the recmmendatins, and t make the prtcl better knwn within agencies and amng field staff. InterActin remains cmmitted t implementatin f the prtcl. Currently its Disaster Respnse Cmmittee is reviewing hw t encurage this prcess amng the membership. Specific measures will be discussed by the cmmittee at its next plenary meeting n 26 April Fr a cpy f the NGO Field Cperatin Prtcl cntact Jim Bishp at InterActin n Fr details f the evaluatin cntact James Kunder, the independent cnsultant wh carried ut the evaluatin. Fax: (+1) The Future f EU Humanitarian Aid This year, a new and mre pwerful Eurpean Parliament will be elected, a new Cmmissin will be appinted, and new Eurpean institutins will begin t perate. All f these precede the expiry f ECHO s mandate at the end f In light f these changes, VOICE Vluntary Organisatins in Cperatin in Emergencies has facilitated a prcess f reflectin and discussin cncerning the future f EU humanitarian aid. Brad-based discussins tk place at VOICE s Annual General Assembly n 8 December 1998, and a wrking dcument is currently being circulated fr further cmment; it is expected t be finalised by the end f March The purpse f the discussin was nt t evaluate ECHO s perfrmance, but t think freely and cnstructively abut a visin fr future EU humanitarian aid. Three areas f fcus emerged during the prcess. First, the inevitable questin f partnership between EU institutins ntably ECHO and NGOs. Ntwithstanding recent prgress, ECHO cntinues t feel it is perceived as merely a bank, whereas the NGOs feel they are perceived as merely implementing agencies. Fr the NGOs, partnership requires a mutual engagement beynd the cntractual relatinship. Flexibility in funding remains anther issue, especially in the initial weeks f an emergency. NGO representatives felt value in explring hw the mechanism f an initial blck grant, ffering speed and flexibility fr a rapid respnse, can still be cmbined with adequate accuntability. Finally, instead f fcussing n visibility thrugh flags, lgs and stickers, the EU wuld d better t cncentrate n a cmmunicatins strategy that creates a prfile fr itself as a credible and prfessinal prvider f humanitarian assistance. The secnd area f fcus cncerned the issue f whether ECHO shuld cntinue in its current frm. This is a questin NGOs feel is within the remit f the Cmmissin. Hwever, NGO representatives articulated a number f principles and quality nrms that EU humanitarian aid shuld meet. One is that the EU shuld develp its wn humanitarian plicy. There was als a general feeling that retaining ne cmmissiner fr humanitarian aid was desirable; s t greater crdinatin between the varius EU institutins invlved with cnflict issues and between the different cmmissiners. EU humanitarian aid shuld becme mre transparent and accuntable (see later bk review); t that effect greater scrutiny by the Eurpean Parliament was recmmended in additin t the inclusin f NGOs with bserver status in EU aid cmmittees. News 17

18 News It was felt that the quality f EU civil servants dealing with humanitarian aid needs imprvement and their rapid turnver, ntably in ECHO, has t stp. The EU shuld als specify mre clearly the relative authrity and respnsibilities f its field fficers and headquarter staff. Access t technical advisrs fr EU desk fficers was recmmended, as was a mechanism whereby EU and NGO staff culd gain wrking experience in each ther s envirnments thrugh exchange placements. Finally, the mst challenging discussins centred arund the bundaries f humanitarian aid and the definitin and interpretatin f the mandate f an ECHO 2, if such wuld cntinue frm the year Questins cncerning the relatinship f humanitarian aid t disaster preparedness, develpment, human rights and cnflict management plicies were raised. ECHO s directr annunced that disaster preventin wuld receive mre attentin in ECHO as f At least tw questins require further reflectin. First, a structural apprach t natural disaster preventin implies reducing vulnerability. This is smething that has been taken up by develpmentalists in ther aid rganisatins. Secnd, disaster preparedness requires investment in lcal capacities. What partnerships can and will the EU develp with lcal rganisatins in this regard, and hw? The relatinship between relief, rehabilitatin and develpment remains prblematic. What d peple understand by these cncepts and paradigms? Is there develpmental space in any real sense in nging cnflicts? Given that ECHO was set up in the early 1990s precisely t enhance the swiftness f the emergency respnse, wuld a new merging f relief and develpment actins nt be a step backward? There are bth advantages and risks t linking relief and develpment which need further thught. With regard t human rights, thse present at the VOICE meeting recgnised that vilatins f human rights fuel cnflict, and that humanitarian actin is underpinned by rights. The questin is nt, hwever, whether human rights are an aspect f an ECHO 2 mandate, but hw this wuld be interpreted in practice. The emerging cnsensus was that ECHO shuld nt get invlved in funding classical human rights rganisatins whse main strategy is ne f public testimny and denunciatin, nr get invlved in denuncing human rights vilatins. Als, the decisin t suspend humanitarian assistance shuld nt be made dependent n human rights criteria in which case there might remain few places where humanitarian assistance can be prvided. ECHO, n the ther hand, shuld cnsider rights inasmuch as these are prtected by refugee law and internatinal humanitarian law. The emphasis shuld be n safeguarding humanitarian space and n investing mre in practical prtectin activities. ECHO can als invest in human rights awareness raising and human rights educatin wrk. Finally, it was recgnised that the Eurpean Cmmissin is a plitical institutin. It is therefre inevitable that its humanitarian aid is cnsidered frm a plitical angle. In the absence f an articulated Cmmn Freign and Security Plicy (CFSP), humanitarian aid has tended t becme a prminent tl f EU freign plicy. Is this desirable? Althugh in recent years several aid administratins have turned t humanitarian aid as a ptential tl fr cnflict management, there are grwing dubts abut its ability t d s. The recrd f cnditinalities impsed n develpment aid is als very pr, and there is little reasn t believe that it wuld be any better fr humanitarian aid. Further, it seems premature and dangerus t accept that humanitarian aid will be subsumed under the CFSP, while the latter remains largely unarticulated. It is by n means clear that the EU will adpt freign plicies that are ethical and principled rather than driven by ecnmic and plitical self-interest. Nte als that the Red Crss/NGO Cde f Cnduct states that humanitarian agencies will strive nt t be a tl f the freign plicies f their dnrs. This is nt t questin the need fr cnflict management. Rather the pint is that such respnsibility shuld lie elsewhere in the Cmmissin and nt with the executives and cmmissiner in charge f EU humanitarian aid. Fr mre infrmatin cntact VOICE. Fax: (+32)

19 ECHO Tackles Humanitarian Aid and Human Rights Given the realities f cmplex emergencies the separatin f human rights and humanitarian actin has becme an bstacle t respnding mre adequately t this type f crisis: the issue is n lnger whether there shuld be a human rights-based apprach t relief, but rather hw t give effect t it. Withut such an apprach the respnse is likely t be discnnected frm the causes f the emergency and ill-adapted t cntributing t its reslutin n a durable basis. 1 T better understand the link between humanitarian aid and human rights and what cnsequences this has fr humanitarian peratins, ECHO is lking at hw its humanitarian assistance can cntribute t the prtectin f human rights. The realities n the grund pse sme difficult questins as t hw human rights culd be integrated int humanitarian aid in practice, and there are inevitably dilemmas and trade-ffs t be cnfrnted. Sme questins that immediately cme t mind include: Is there any sign that humanitarian assistance unintentinally allws r pssibly encurages human rights abuses? If s, under what cnditins? Hw have human rights cnsideratins influenced the delivery f aid in practice? D they clash with an emergency needs definitin? D relief ethics, as defined by internatinal agencies and dnrs, help r hinder in ensuring respect fr human rights? Again, under what cnditins? Hw culd human rights rganisatins cperate mre clsely with thse in charge f the actual delivery f humanitarian aid? What dangers are there fr aid wrkers t transmit infrmatin abut human rights r humanitarian law vilatins? Hw might this cmprmise aid delivery ver the lnger-term? Which criteria are relevant fr assessing the assciated risk? Hw d rules-based appraches (grund rules, cdes f cnduct, rules f engagement and strategic framewrks) handle human rights issues? Are these mechanisms useful as infrmatin exchanges n the human rights situatin and are they capable f discussing/ addressing abuses with warring factins? ECHO is taking the first step t better understand the inter-relatinship between human rights and humanitarian aid. It is aware that this has t be part f a permanent, n-ging prcess f learning frm experience. ECHO s learning will initially build n the wrk already dne by many f its partner NGOs and ther inter-gvernmental institutins. The result ver time shuld be a transfrmative integratin f human rights cncerns thrughut ECHO s wrk which will increase its verall effectiveness and help it t identify the real dilemmas. Ntes 1. Karen Kenny, The Human Rights Framewrk fr Humanitarian Aid: Why we need strategies t develp it, paper submitted t ECHO meeting with partners, 9 December Fr mre infrmatin cntact Camilla Brückner in ECHO s Strategy and Plicy Planning Unit. Twards an Internatinal Actin Netwrk n Small Arms An estimated 500 millin small arms are in circulatin glbally. Carried by children as yung as six, such weapns fuel wars, increase crime and banditry, undermine develpment prgrammes and frustrate attempts t build peace. Frtunately, the internatinal cmmunity is beginning t develp ideas n hw t tackle the prblems assciated with the prliferatin and misuse f small arms. Fr example, the Organisatin f American States has agreed a cnventin against illicit firearms trafficking; the West African states and members f the ECOWAS reginal frum have agreed a three year mratrium n the prductin, exprt and imprt f small arms; EU cuntries have agreed a jint actin n small arms and, tgether with SADC cuntries, have develped an actin prgramme n light arms and illicit trafficking in Suthern Africa. Hwever, as Canadian Freign Minister Llyd Axwrthy cmmented, civil sciety activism is the majr factr in ensuring that gvernments actually take up the respnsibilities that they have News 19

20 Reginal acknwledged are theirs. Indeed, the NGO cmmunity is taking steps t ensure that thse measures advcated by gvernments are viewed in an bjective light: in Octber 1998, 180 representatives frm 100 NGOs frm arund the wrld met in Brussels t develp the Internatinal Actin Netwrk n Small Arms (IANSA) which aims t challenge the limits f internatinal actin. At the meeting (c-hsted by Amnesty Internatinal, BASIC, GRIP, Internatinal Alert, Oxfam, Pax Christi and Saferwrld) participants agreed a cmprehensive set f plicy bjectives t stem the supply f, and reduce the demand fr, small arms including: establishing cdes f cnduct n arms exprts; tackling illicit arms trafficking; re-integrating ex-cmbatants; capacity-building; tackling impunity; pverty reductin; and reversing cultures f vilence. As Lretta Bndi f Human Rights Watch pints ut we cannt expect ne verarching instrument t tackle the prblems assciated with small arms alng the lines f the ban n landmines. Varius plicies, instruments and capacities have t be develped simultaneusly - precisely what IANSA seeks t d. An IANSA Funding Dcument setting ut the bjectives and structure f the Netwrk will be published in April. Olara Otunnu, the UN Secretary-General s Special Representative n Children and Armed Cnflict said at the meeting Small arms are causing misery and destructin all ver the wrld. Creative methds are needed t link up natinal and internatinal actin. The develpment f IANSA is a vital step twards tackling the greatest humanitarian challenge f the next century. IANSA will be frmally launched in the Hague n 11 May during the Hague Appeal fr Peace week. Please refer t the later sectin n upcming cnferences fr details f the IANSA Plenary and wrkshps at this meeting. Fr details cntact Steve Shrpshire at Saferwrld: Tel: (+44) Fax: (+44) Reginal Fcus Fcus Sierra Lene The seven-year war in Sierra Lene again reached the capital Freetwn in early January after mnths f intense fighting upcuntry between the rebel calitin f the frmer junta AFRC/RUF (Armed Frces Ruling Cuncil and the Revlutinary United Frnt), and the CDF (civil defence frces) backed by the Nigerian-led ECOMOG. Fllwing the reinstatement by ECOMOG f the demcratically elected Kabbah gvernment in February 1998, the rebel calitin retreated, strengthened by their perid in cntrl f state pwer. Their use f terrr against civilian ppulatins has led t cntinued displacement, with ver 600,000 Sierra Lenean refugees in Liberia and Guinea, and at least 150,000 internally displaced. The January ffensive left anther 150,000 hmeless in Freetwn. The ability f the rebel grups t re-enter Freetwn has expsed the failings f the Kabbah gvernment s military strategy, which is backed by ECOMOG and the internatinal cmmunity. This reflects the difficulties faced by a relatively cnventinal frce in defeating a well-rganised and funded guerrilla grup. It als demnstrates the cntinuing effectiveness f the rebels strategy, including their strengthened external alliances as a result f the rebel/army unin, and increased utilisatin f Sierra Lene s diamnd resurces t fund arms purchases and mercenaries. The abuse f civilian ppulatins and their use as human shields in battles against ECOMOG has als prved highly successful. On the ther side, CDF frces have als cmmitted atrcities, while ECOMOG bmbing campaigns have been heavily criticised fr the extent f their cllateral damage. 20

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