Presentation on theme: "Contingency Planning Tips and Resources IASC Cluster/Sector Leadership Training Why is this issue important? The fundamental reason for contingency planning."— Presentation transcript:
Contingency Planning Tips and Resources IASC Cluster/Sector Leadership Training Why is this issue important? The fundamental reason for contingency planning is to improve the quality of humanitarian response. Experience demonstrates that contingency planning can enhance the effectiveness, appropriateness and timeliness of response to emergencies. Planning in advance of an emergency allows participants time to think through and address some critical questions and solve problems in advance of an emergency response. The benefits of contingency planning: Contingency planning provides an opportunity to focus on operational issues and identify constraints prior to the on-set of a crisis. For example, it provides opportunities to map the vulnerabilities of a potential target population, potential areas of rights violations, assess logistical infrastructure such as port or warehousing capacity, and assess coordination and institutional capacity. Contingency planning processes can help to reinforce coordination mechanisms by keeping them active and by clarifying roles and responsibilities before a crisis. An active contingency planning process enables individuals, teams, organisations to establish working relationships that can make a critical difference during a crisis. By working together in a contingency planning process, people develop a common understanding of common challenges, of each others capacities and organisational requirements. This helps facilitate effective collaboration in a crisis. What is expected of Cluster/Sector lead in the field? According to the Guidance Note on the cluster approach, cluster/sector leads at the field level must ensure adequate contingency planning and preparedness for new emergencies; In practice cluster/sector leads at the field level must ensure: i. agreed objectives, response strategies and action plans for the sector; ii. that responses are in line with existing policy guidance, technical standards, and relevant Government human rights legal obligations iii. ensure that they are aligned with the activities of other cluster/sectors and that cross-sector/cluster issues are identified and acted upon; In the case of countries with pre-established contingency plans, cluster/sector leads at the field level must ensure: i. that they and the cluster/sector participants are familiarized with the existing objectives, response strategies and action plans for the sector; ii. preparedness actions are articulated and implementation is monitored to improve the level of preparedness of agencies/organizations in the sector; iii. sector response plans are regularly reviewed and updated.
Contingency Planning Tips and Resources IASC Cluster/Sector Leadership Training What challenges will you face? A key challenge in any contingency planning process is generating and maintaining commitment and participation in the process from senior decision-makers and those at the working level within organizations. Keeping the process dynamic and up-to-date is another key challenge, too often contingency plans have been consigned to the shelf after the initial planning has been completed. To be truly effective contingency planning needs to be see as an ongoing process that is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure all participants are familiarized with their various roles and responsibilities and preparedness actions are undertaken. What can you do to promote effective contingency planning? Tips and practices. Where there are pre-existing inter-agency contingency planning processes, cluster/sector leads should familiarize themselves with there content and coordination mechanisms and ensure that cluster/sector participants are also fully briefed to avoid wasting time reinventing the wheel. Encourage active participation from members of the cluster/sector. The most constructive planning processes are those which actively engage agencies/organizations, encourage real problem-solving and result in useful plans that are owned by the participants. Ensure that organizations are committed to the contingency planning process from the outset and that the necessary resources, both human and financial, are provided and follow-up actions are taken. The success of contingency planning depends on a strong commitment of senior decision-makers from the agencies/organizations participating in the cluster/sector. Ensure the following questions are answered in the development of the cluster/sector contingency response plan: What are the specific sector/cluster objectives? What common standards will be used to guide the response? What are the current capacities of the agencies/organization to respond? What are the gaps between the current response capacity and the scale of emergency anticipated? What initial assessment arrangements are needed? What information management mechanism will be required? What actions will be taken as an immediate response to the situation? Who does what and when? What is required to support the immediate response (logistic/transport, TC-IT, commodities, staff…)? What resources will be needed? How will information flow between the various levels (local and national) and vice-versa? Have specific preparedness actions be agreed on for cluster/sector? What follow up actions are required? Establish strong working relationships with other cluster/sector leads to ensure that cross-sector/cluster issues are identified and acted upon.
Contingency Planning Inter-cluster Coordinator, Philippines. Tips and Resources IASC Cluster/Sector Leadership Training Prioritize and implement preparedness actions. Contingency Planning should not be a theoretical exercise; its main objective is to ensure that agencies/organizations develop a level of preparedness that is sufficient to respond to an anticipated emergency. Prioritizing and implementing preparedness actions, and monitoring agreed early warning indicators for developments that would trigger response, convert intentions into action. Co-ordinate with government and other partners as required on measures required to enhance preparedness and response capacity; Review and update the plan on a regular basis. The contingency planning process does not end with the production of a plan. The process must be continued and plans reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It is particularly important that the plan be thoroughly reviewed when there is a change in the situation or a change in the institutional environment such as a significant change in membership or leadership of the cluster/sector. Draw upon experienced staff from agencies/organization at the regional and global level as well as Global Cluster Leads for the necessary technical support required for contingency planning activities; Conduct regular tests/simulations of the plan. Testing/simulation exercises are valuable in familiarizing those who will be involved in response with the coordination and response mechanism envisaged in the plan. They also help to test planning assumptions and response systems. Reference Material –IASC Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach to Strengthen Humanitarian Response, and Generic Terms of Reference for Sector/Cluster Leads at the Country Level, 24 November 2006.IASC Guidance Note on Using the Cluster Approach to Strengthen Humanitarian Response –IASC Contingency Planning Guidelines 2007 (still in draft and not yet approved by the IASC WG) –Challenges and Suggestions for Enhancing Inter-Agency Contingency Planning: Report of the 1st Global Consultation of Contingency Planners in Humanitarian Agencies, July –Richard Choularton, Contingency Planning and Humanitarian Action, ODI HPN No 59, March 2007.