In 2011, UN Targets Faster Disaster Response

Valerie Amos, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Photo by: Evan Schneider / United Nations

The United Nations has set an ambitious humanitarian agenda for 2011: save more lives, respond to disasters faster, and better coordinate relief efforts.

Valerie Amos, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the mega-disasters of 2010, such as the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan flooding, have prompted the global body to rethink the speed, scale and effectiveness of its response to humanitarian crises.

“In a changing world there can be no organizational status quo,” Amos told representatives of member states during a Jan. 21 meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York. “In 2011, OCHA’s structure, in the field and at headquarters, will be more adaptable to the evolving nature of crises.” 

Amos added that she expects OCHA to be “a more focused organization” by the end of 2011, affirming that the office “will be better at managing its human resources and there will be greater clarity between the field and headquarters in terms of who does what.” 

Amos is seeking voluntary contributions - the target amount being USD208 million - to fund OCHA’s programs in 2011.

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.