The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is responsible for the coordination of the humanitarian action among the different United Nations Agencies. It has two offices: the headquarter of the organization is in New York, where the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs/Emergency Relief Coordinator resides; the office in Geneva, instead, has a more operational competence as to natural disasters, field offices management, coordination as well as elaboration of Consolidates Appeals Processes (CAP), inter-agencies coordination (IASC, “Inter-agency Standing Committee”), connection with multilateral institutions in Europe.
Moreover OCHA represents the driving force behind the UN reform of the humanitarian sector, a process started in 2005 and still ongoing, and it also manages the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a common fund to provide an immediate response at the earlier stage of a humanitarian emergency.
With regard to its role of coordination among the different humanitarian agencies, OCHA often organizes in Geneva in-depth meetings on specific topics and briefings concerning the humanitarian situations in contexts of crisis. In some circumstances it also holds specific “pledging conferences”.
Italy has established two instruments of cooperation with OCHA: the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) and the Bilateral Emergency Fund (BEF). These funds both allow a prompt response, with financial and in-kind resources, to humanitarian emergencies at global level.
Furthermore Italy takes part into the ODSG (OCHA Donor Support Group), the group that gathers all the main donors around the Unite Nations system and that establishes the guidelines and policies of the sector.
Since May 2021, the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs/Emergency Relief Coordinator is Martin Griffiths.