18 October 2011 – Bruxelles
People in crisis: 4 million (50% of total population).
750,000 famine affected. IDPs: 1.46 million. Somali
refugees in the region: over 900,000
Worse humanitarian indicators: GAM <5 above
30%, high child mortality (U5MR)
Multifaceted causes of the crises: Conflict, lack of
Governance, External interferences, Extremism –
Djihad, Piracy, recurrent climate shocks (drought),
inflation, insecurity, eroded coping mechanism,
Several actors involved
Limited access in AOG (Al Shebaab) controlled areas:
Population acceptance remained good but there was a change in local
perception by de facto administration (al Shebaab). Occidental aid workers
were targeted for what they represented, not for what they were doing. Various
INGOs evicted since 2008 and humanitarian workers seen as legitimate
targets. Looting of humanitarian assets, taxation requests, extortion..
Counterterrorism: domestic legislations (US..).
Accountability (Reports / allegations on aid diversion).
The risk of “blurring” of the lines and respect of the
Expats presence not accepted in Central South: Remote control
& Remote management
Limited access: limited coverage
“Stay and deliver paradigm”
Different definitions leading to a common element:
A modality that responds to an insecure
environment and enables existing programmes and
projects to continue.
Withdrawing presence of International staff.
Authority (decision making) delegated to national
staff requiring skills transfer and capacity building.
Remote control, management, support &
Suggested ECHO definition: « An approach
allowing a humanitarian agency to deliver aid to
people in crisis zones when access for its staff is
hindered or blocked ».
What were the main reasons for
applying remote management?
2008, 33 humanitarian workers killed making Somalia
the most dangerous places in the world.
High risk of kidnapping of international staff.
ECHO/EC flight stoppage.
Heightened political tensions and conflicts in the area
Appropriate approach to maintain live-saving
activities for the most vulnerable.
Main identified risks/concerns:
an accountability issue
Misuse of project resources and risk of diversion;
Assistance not reaching intended beneficiaries.
Interventions not implemented effectively;
Limited technical capacities of national staff and interaction
with international experts.
Limited supervision and monitoring.
Politicisation of aid created additional constraints and pressure
for humanitarian agencies on the ground.
Perception of aid agencies by local authorities: Adherence to
the HP have facilitated community-protected humanitarian staff
How to cope: a Risk mitigation approach
Remote management is an option to the complete suspension of programs.
Need for good risk assessment before implementation. Rules of
engagement: IASC Somalia ground rules + Somalia NGO Consortium red
Improve monitoring practices: Community-based (i.e. involve beneficiary
monitoring through mobile phones), third party monitoring, opportunistic
visits by senior national or international staff.
Develop local staff capacities: daily contact with key staff for planning and
reporting purposes, training, capacity building.
Information analysis: counter checking of information and data with other
actors (triangulation), pre and post implementation technical surveys and
Use of new technologies: visual reporting through video, photos and GIS
mapping (satellite imagery).
Others: Diaspora, internal complain system, minimize local cash handling,
How to cope: a Risk mitigation approach
Remote management: part of the tool box or last
Strict criteria for partner selection (experience,
local knowledge, acceptance, perception…)
Life saving, “KISS” Actions;
Detailed reporting (compensate lack of monitoring)
Need for remote management policy
Ex post evaluation, audit.
Now let’s debate!
How to balance the dilemma between humanitarian imperative and
life saving (90% of funded operations carried out in CSZ Somalia).
Should we define clear set of criteria/benchmarks (or red lines) and
policies/guidance or go for a more flexible approach? (ad hoc
decision on whether a remote management project should be
Do you support the idea of having a DG ECHO policy on remote
management? Do you have similar plans within your respective
Where to fix limits / conditions, on which ground? Against which
principles, guidelines or regulations? Can we compare different
contexts, draw and apply lessons learnt?
Mutual trust eroding over years
Suggestion for follow up
Develop guidelines / policy on remote management
– Donors and international agencies
Develop an exit strategy to remote management
with a longer term planning for insecure and hard
to access areas – Donors and agencies
Flexibility in allowing additional funds to leverage
the use of technology for improved monitoring such
as Google, GPS, etc. Donors
Document lessons learnt in remote management in
Somalia – donors and agencies Develop minimum
operating standards that will guide agencies before
engaging in remote management – Each individual
Documentations of the M&E techniques in remote
management – individual agencies