You may have seen some public discussion recently about IRIN’s future, arising most recently from this online petition, an independent initiative launched by a US-based reader last week. In the interest of clarity we are taking this opportunity to let you know ourselves what is happening.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has taken measures to ensure we are fully resourced this year but beyond 31 December there are no budgetary provisions. With the encouragement of OCHA, which has hosted IRIN since our inception in 1995, we are now taking steps to spin off as an autonomous humanitarian news and analysis service.
In our envisaged new incarnation we believe we will be even better placed to address the complexities of the $18 billion-a-year humanitarian industry. Informed by your responses to recent surveys we are already restructuring our organization to be more nimble, relevant and responsive.
This evolution is the keynote of a transition business plan that also sets out the potential funding and partnership structure of the new IRIN, as well as the support needed to prevent an abrupt shutdown on 31 December. It is currently being studied by OCHA management.
We are excited by the idea of a re-launched IRIN; however, time is short, and the funding climate challenging, and while we are investing every effort in this endeavour there are no guarantees that we can succeed.
Much has changed since the days when we were sending out daily faxes on the Great Lakes crisis. What has not changed is our commitment to sustained coverage of emergencies, especially in parts of the world often overlooked by the international mainstream media.
Acting Chief and Head of Operations
(We welcome your comments and ideas: email@example.com)