Humanitarian contingencies considered

A sub-regional workshop addressing inter-agency contingency planning and the generation of consolidated humanitarian appeals for several West African countries opened on Monday in Abidjan, Coted'Ivoire. The workshop, hosted by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (OCHA), is intended to consider contingency humanitarian action plans - including operational response, coordination and management, and resource mobilisation - for Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is also intended to serve as a mid-term review of the 2002 inter-agency consolidated appeal. "While the situation in Sierra Leone is stabilising, there is cause for concern in Liberia as it may deteriorate further - with implications in terms of refugee outflows, continued internal displacement and spread of instability in the region," Besida Tonwe, OCHA West Africa regional officer said. "Guinea has stabilised [except for] new refugees," she added. UN heads of offices in the region presented situation reports on Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Various UN agencies are attending the meetings, together with delegates from non-governmental organisations, donors, and sub-regional organisations involved in humanitarian interventions in the four countries involved. Abou Moussa, West African regional delegate of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), urged participants to consider why previous consolidated appeals (CAPs) had failed to attract full funding from donors. "We need to critically assess the process so that the appeals attract at least 80 percent funding from donors," he said. "The humanitarian needs in the region remain enormous." The meeting followed other appeal workshops organised by the recently created OCHA Regional Support Office for West Africa, in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia.