Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to humanitarian emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA's mission is to mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; and facilitate sustainable solutions. OCHA has offices in over 50 locations worldwide; its main support and liaison offices are located in New York and Geneva. In 2012, the organisation had some 2000 staff members and had reported an annual expenditure of $268 million USD.


http://ochaonline.un.org
Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

The evaluation function in OCHA promotes transparency and accountability through the provision of systematic and objective judgments about the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of humanitarian action. Evaluation facilitates systematic reflection, learning and decision making around issues of enhanced effectiveness and impact in the future. OCHA uses evaluation both as a tool for assessing its own coordination activities and as a direct support to the international humanitarian community through the application of system-wide and joint evaluation processes.

OCHA-commissioned evaluations complement and reinforce OCHA's results-based planning, monitoring and reporting.  They provide independent, reliable, in-depth analysis on OCHA's progress towards its strategic objectives and the challenges that it faces, with a view to inform policy discussions, contribute to learning, and provide accountability for performance and results.  Evaluations mandated by bodies external to OCHA, such as the UN General Assembly or the Inter Agency Standing Committee, typically focus on policy and performance issues related to the humanitarian system as a whole; they are often of an inter-agency nature requiring a highly collaborative approach to planning and management.

OCHA's Evaluation Policy was established in 2010.The scope of the policy reflects the unique mandate of OCHA as an inter-agency coordination entity. The guiding principles for evaluation emanate from decisions taken by the UN General Assembly and from the 2005 UNEG Norms and Standards and the 2007 UNEG Code of Conduct for evaluation.


Promoting a culture of evaluation in-house

The evaluation function promotes a culture of evaluation within the Organization through engaging closely with the operational arms of OCHA and ensuring the lessons from evaluations inform decisions, planning and programming. OCHA does this through regular brown-bag presentations at the completion of evaluations, ad-hoc workshops as well as tailored collaborations with key internal stakeholders, both in the field and at the HQ.


Snapshot

  •   Evaluation Policy (2010)

o  OCHA's "Policy Instruction" on Evaluations can be downloaded from the UNEG website.

  •   Current Priorities

o  Evaluations of OCHA Strategic Framework

o  Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluations

o  OCHA thematic and response evaluations

o  Evaluations of humanitarian pooled funding arrangements

  • Evaluation expenditure (2014), excluding staff costs

o  USD $1,330,000

  • Human Resources (as of 31 December 2013)

o  Unit Head: Male

o  Evaluators: One P5, three P4, one P-3; 3 F and 1 M

o  Support staff : 1 (F)

o  Decentralised evaluation staff : None

  • Evaluations produced per year by central unit

o  Eight evaluations in 2012, all of which were conducted by external consultants. Four of these were OCHA-mandated evaluations, and four Inter-Agency Real Time Evaluations. One evaluation (OCHA-mandated) in 2011.

  • Key resource:

o  Repository of evaluation studies http://www.unocha.org/what-we-do/policy/thematic-areas/evaluations-of-humanitarian-response/reports

o  OCHA homepage: http://www.unocha.org


Independence

The evaluation function of OCHA is located in the Office of the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. The Evaluation Unit is headed by a chief and has four professional officers. The Chief of the Evaluation Unit reports to the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs through the Chief of the Strategic Planning, Evaluation and Guidance Section.

The Chief of the of the Evaluation Unit does not have the authority to issue reports without clearance from the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs or other parties outside the organization for externally-mandated evaluations.

Evaluators sign a statement of potential conflict of interest. There are no rules and mechanisms that allow evaluators to report discreetly on cases of wrongdoing.


Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

OCHA prepares a multi-annual evaluation plan, which is informed by availability of evidence for each of the Strategic Framework outcomes, information needs of the Organization, and OCHA's past performance. The evaluation plan is approved by the OCHA Senior Management Team.


Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

Stakeholders are systematically consulted in the planning/design, conduct of and follow-up to evaluations. In particular for Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluations, national NGOs and representatives of national governments are part of country level Advisory Groups. Peer reviews or reference groups composed of external experts are used in the evaluation process. Evaluation teams often include professionals from the countries or regions concerned.

Quality Assurance

The Evaluation Unit has developed an internal Quality Assurance System for evaluation process and outputs. The system covers the totality of the evaluation process - planning and design phase; commissioning of the evaluation; stakeholder engagement; implementation of the evaluation itself; and data and methodological approaches. Likewise, the system covers all evaluation deliverables, including the terms of reference, inception, and final reports.


Use of Evaluation

The Senior Management Team (SMT) issues an explicit response to each evaluation, in the form of a Management Response Matrix, which is reported to oversight bodies, the head of the Organization, and the Strategic Planning Unit. The Strategic Planning Unit is responsible for ensuring that agreed recommendations from evaluations are implemented within the stated time-frame.  The implementation tracking process is supported by a database of all recommendations, which is openly accessible to all OCHA managers and staff. 

As of 2014, all OCHA-commissioned evaluations are made publicly available on the Internet. Lessons are extracted and communicated through information briefs, abstracts, press releases, workshops, and meetings with operations management.

The evaluation function promotes a culture of evaluation within the Organization through engaging closely with the operational arms of OCHA and ensuring the lessons from evaluations inform decisions, planning and programming. OCHA does this through regular brown-bag presentations at the completion of evaluations, ad-hoc workshops as well as tailored collaborations with key internal stakeholders, both in the field and at the HQ.


Joint Evaluation

OCHA is the Chair of the Inter Agency Humanitarian Evaluation (IAHE) Steering Group. Under the IASC's Transformative Agenda, IAHEs constitute the final component of the common Humanitarian Programme Cycle and are automatically triggered by the declaration of a system-wide Level 3 emergency. OCHA works closely with the steering group - composed of UN agencies and NGOs - to develop the guidance and to carry out IAHEs based on agreed criteria and triggers. IAHEs contribute to accountability and strategic learning for the humanitarian system, and seek to promote human dignity and the empowerment of affected people.


UNEG Members

Nicolas Rost

Humanitarian Evaluation Officer, OCHA

Evaluation Unit

Scott Green

Head, Evaluation and Oversight Unit, OCHA

Tijana Bojanic

Humanitarian Evaluation Officer, OCHA

Fact Sheet

Assessment