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Civil-military coordination and humanitarian access

Since 2005, the OCHA Regional Office in Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) has worked with regional partners to tailor global guidance on humanitarian civil-military coordination to the regional and national context, to strengthen humanitarian civilian-military coordination for response preparedness, and ensure the enhanced predictability of civil-military coordination processes and platforms during a response.

Several countries in the Asia Pacific region is also experiencing complex emergencies where humanitarian access has been severely constrained. ROAP works to provide technical support and knowledge sharing to facilitate and coordinate efforts to establish and maintain principled humanitarian access to people in need, and to overcome factors that inhibit access. Where access is a challenge, ROAP provides operational support to in-country partners in the development of tools and guidance to address access barriers, including pertaining to access advocacy and engagement. ROAP also supports in-country partners to establish access monitoring and reporting mechanisms in order to identify constraints and their implications for affected populations and the humanitarian response.

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Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific

In 2014 the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on UN-CMCoord for Asia and the Pacific was established. The RCG focuses on enhancing preparedness and cooperation in countries at a high risk of large-scale, sudden onset disasters in which foreign military assets are likely to support an international response, including in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines.

The RCG is a multi-stakeholder platform that acts as a regional forum to bring together the humanitarian, civilian and military actors involved in disaster preparedness and response in the region. The main objectives of the RCG are to:

  • discuss response preparedness planning, with a focus on coordination of operational planning between civilian and military actors;
  • facilitate exchange of information and innovative ideas to enable well-coordinated and needs-based effective disaster response to a broad range of humanitarian emergency operations; and
  • strengthen linkages with other relevant platforms with an emphasis on the relationship with Regional Organizations and the Global Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination.

Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Course for Asia and the Pacific

The United Nations Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (UN-CMCoord) Course for the Asia and Pacific region aims to promote appropriate and effective humanitarian civil-military interactions in humanitarian emergencies through bolstered knowledge of and adherence to UN-CMCoord standards and principles. This includes the use of assets to better support the humanitarian community in providing emergency services to people-in-need.

The course prioritizes nominations from national disaster management authorities, national and foreign militaries, civil defense and police organizations, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, NGOs and UN agencies in Asia and the Pacific region.

Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies: Towards a Predictable Model

The first session of the RCG took place in 2015 in Thailand and discussions focused on enhancing operational response planning between civilian and military actors for major disasters in the five priority countries. A key recommendation that emerged from this RCG first session was to ‘enhance predictability and develop a common understanding of the civil-military coordination mechanisms and their respective functions during a response.’  This publication aims to address this recommendation by outlining the civil-military coordination mechanisms in the five priority countries and how these are activated during disaster response efforts in line with regional frameworks and guidance. This publication provides a context for humanitarian civil-military coordination in Asia at the regional level and considers existing national guidance and structures for civil-military coordination in disaster response, linkages to global and regional guidance and some of the challenges that exist in providing humanitarian assistance and protection to disaster-affected populations.  This publication has been produced as a collaboration between the Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG), the Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP).