United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"OCHA" redirects here. For other uses, see Ocha.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a United Nations (UN) body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182.[1] The resolution was designed to strengthen the UN's response to complex emergencies and natural disasters. Earlier UN organizations with similar tasks were the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), and its predecessor, the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRC). In 1998, due to reorganization, DHA merged into OCHA and was designed to be the UN focal point on major disasters. It is a sitting observer of the United Nations Development Group.[2]

After merging with the DHA, its mandate was expanded to encompass the coordination of humanitarian response, policy development and humanitarian advocacy. The agency's activities include organization and monitoring of humanitarian funding, as well as information exchange, coordination and rapid-response teams for emergency relief. Since 29 May 2015, OCHA is led by Stephen O'Brien as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC), appointed for a five-year term.

From 2013 to 2016, OCHA organized the World Humanitarian Summit that was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 23 and 24, 2016.

Staff and country offices

Christine Buchholz (German MdB) and Lise Grande (UN OCHA) in Juba, South Sudan

OCHA is headed by the Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, since 29 May 2015 by Stephen O'Brien.


As of September 2013 OCHA has some 1,900 staff,[3] distributed across the world.

Country offices

Major OCHA country offices are located in all continents, among others in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Palestinian territories, Sri Lanka, Sudan (including a sub-office in South Sudan's capital Juba), Syria, and Zimbabwe, while regional offices are located in Panama City, Dakar, Cairo, Johannesburg, and Bangkok.[4] OCHA also has some liaison and support staff in New York and Geneva.


OCHA has built up a range of services in the execution of its mandate. Some of the larger ones are:

Humanitarian innovation in organizations

The OCHA encourages humanitarian innovation within organizations. For organizations, it is a way of identifying and solving problems while changing business models to adapt to new opportunities. In OCHA's occasional policy paper Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art, they list the reasons why organizations are moving toward providing their own kind of humanitarian service through innovation:

They also list potential challenges associated with these changes:

International dialing code

The OCHA has been assigned its own international calling code +888. Telephone numbers in the +888 "country code" will be assigned to agencies providing humanitarian relief. The +888 code will be implemented by Voxbone.[12]

See also


  1. United Nations General Assembly Session 46 Resolution 182. Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations A/RES/46/182 19 December 1991. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
  2. UNDG Members. Undg.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  3. http://www.unocha.org/about-us/who-we-are retrieved 11 September 2013
  4. "Where We Work - All Countries". OCHA. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  5. Redesigning ReliefWeb. Reliefweb.int (1 September 2007). Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  6. IRIN News. Retrieved 10 Jun 2016.
  7. "Who does What Where" Database Archived 22 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets
  9. "Center for Excellence". COE. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  10. "About OCHA oPt" Archived 9 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 11 November 2013
  11. "Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art". Retrieved 9 November 2014
  12. "Voxbone Press Release". Voxbone. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
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