Brief description of emergency outbreak/upsurge and the consequences for OCHA
Cameroon is facing three crises with different causes and impacts.: First, the Far-North Region continues to be impacted by the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin and Cameroon remains the second most-affected country by the Lake Chad Basin emergency. About 490,000 persons in the Far North are displaced due to the conflict and face significant protection risks. Second, despite the voluntary repatriation operations announced, Cameroon's eastern regions are still home to about 270,000 vulnerable refugees from the Central African Republic. The influx of refugees is exerting significant pressure on natural resources and basic social services in host areas, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities. A third challenge arose in November 2017 when the socio-political crisis in the North West (NW) and South West (SW) regions turned into a low-intensity armed conflict with major humanitarian impact. Almost 680,000 Cameroonian are now internally displaced due to this conflict mainly in NW and SW regions, but also in West and Littoral. An additional 60,000 persons have sought refuge in neighboring Nigeria. The displaced communities have acute needs for protection.
There are significant concerns for the protection of civilians, shelter, food insecurity, WASH and other basic services for those affected by the crisis, both displaced and host households. For the past three consecutive years, 80% of children in the two regions have had no access to education and only 8% of assessed health infrastructures are functional.
Since November 2018, the period during which most of the United Nations agencies have strengthened their presence in the two regions, the security situation has deteriorated with increased militarization, increasingly violent fighting and more recently the use of IEDs.
As a result of this deteriorating security situation in the NW and SW, humanitarian needs have increased. However, resources are becoming increasingly scarce, particularly for the coordination, protection, access and management of information.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and OCHA are finding it increasingly difficult to find resources for the humanitarian response, despite a slight increase between 2018 (40% funded) and 2019 ($129.7 million received thus 43 % funded). Cameroon tops the Norwegian Refugee Council's 2019, annual list of the world's most neglected displacement crises. This worrying pattern of underfunding persists despite the fact that humanitarian needs have increased. The deteriorating situation on the ground requires a greater presence of humanitarian actors. Unfortunately, military operations, the presence of armed groups and others access constraints limit this presence.
Brief surge need justification
The conflict has flared significantly since late 2019, and for some time now, the use of IEDs and more sophisticated weapons has been observed, leading to increased destabilization, increased needs and increased security threats. The widespread attacks on government forces by the NSAG and retaliation on villages by the government troops are the main reason for large scale continuing displacement.
Despite the increase in OCHA's Cameroon budget, funding constraints are limiting the adequate scaling up of the office. OCHA's presence in the South-West region is limited to two permanent staff (one international and a national) who are overwhelmed by the increasing needs.
In addition, the newly created government managed Humanitarian Coordination Centres have set up procedures for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, thus requiring more collaboration with the administration. Humanitarian access is challenging because of the multiplicity of NSAGs to interact with. The unpredictable security situation, poor road conditions, restrictions on travel to certain villages and the "Ghost Down” and lockdown operations, demonstrations whereby city centres are rendered empty for days.
The UN has already positioned itself in the NW with a common office acquired and a P4 Civil-Military Coordination Officer based in Bamenda, however a SBP is needed to play the same role in the SW until the situation stabilizes and allows the existing P4 CM Coordinator to cover both regions adequately.
OCHA’s role and key challenges
The respect of humanitarian principles and IHL is one of the key challenges in these regions, which concerns all parties to the conflict as well as local humanitarian partners. Humanitarian activities are new to the stakeholders in those regions therefore training and sensitization are essential.
In this highly sensitive political environment with suspicion about humanitarian organizations' role, neutrality and motivation from both sides of the crisis, OCHA plays a primary role in sharing information on humanitarian operations, promoting and ensuring compliance with humanitarian space and principles to ensure a neutral, independent and impartial identity of the humanitarian response. Civilian and military coordination is fundamental considering the heavy militarization and the intensification of the conflict. In this context, the protection of civilians has become one of the main areas of concern. Civilians are targeted by both parties and human rights violations and abuses are common and widespread.
Following the creation of a humanitarian coordination center by the Government, procedures have been issued to control the delivery of humanitarian assistance, which requires more collaboration with the authorities. For this purpose, OCHA has been appointed to act as a link between humanitarians and government representatives.
To cope with this new situation, OCHA and humanitarian actors are struggling to mobilize resources and advocating for a better access to reach the beneficiaries. For this purpose, a CM Coord officer is being requested for a period of 6 months.
Approximate percentage of duty time on travel
The SBPP will be based in Buea, South-West region, where living conditions are satisfactory.
However, the incumbent will have to carry out frequent field missions, the costs of which will be covered by the office
The SBPP staff will have to bring a laptop. Mobile phone, VHF handset, workspace in the OCHA Office (w/ internet connection) and vehicle transportation will be provided.
Overall security situation summary
Security level:4 as per UNDSS classification
SSAFE training required: Yes. If yes, arrangements for attendance:
Living conditions: The SBPP will be based in Buea, South-West region, where living conditions are satisfactory.
Accommodation provision: No
Medical requirements e.g. vaccinations: Yes
Medical facilities available: Yes
Main tasks and duties
■ Support and implement the CM Coord and access working plan in the two regions
■ Support the monitoring, analysis and reporting on any major accomplishments and progress as well as identify and follow up any potential or actual friction points in relations between the humanitarian and military/security forces communities.
■ Support dialogue and coordination with the military and security forces in the area of responsibility.
■ Identify, establish and maintain contact with the appropriate military counterparts and ensure mutual exchange of information about ongoing humanitarian activities and issues. Advise the military forces in the area of responsibility on international humanitarian coordination mechanisms.
■ Maintain contacts with relevant government officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, and other actors; ensure appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information both in and outside the UN system, including on early warning and contingency planning.
■ Support, with relevant and balanced humanitarian and military representation, the organisation of workshops on civil-military relations, by advocating adherence to applicable guidelines and principles and focusing on positive examples, contribute to a positive working relationship between relevant international military and IASC members.
■ Participate in working groups, meetings and consultations with other UN agencies and humanitarian partners.
■ Prepare, or provide substantive input in the preparation of policy, position papers and reports on civil-military coordination issues for presentation to various agencies throughout the UN system and IASC members.
■ Maintain engagement with the Cameroon Security Management System as appropriate.
■ Support and/or lead Access Working Group and link this work to the initiatives of the Operational Humanitarian Country Team, the HCT and Government led coordination mechanisms.
■ Support, when applicable, the development of country-specific guidelines on civil-military relations based on the current 'Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief'
■ Ensure that the country-specific guidelines, such as the HCT Common Position Paper on Principled Approach to Humanitarian Assistance Coordination in the North West and South West Regions are properly disseminated and understood by both the humanitarian actors and the military forces present, as well as by local actors, as appropriate.
■ Promote and ensure adherence to the above Guidelines within the entire humanitarian community and advise on potential consequences if these principles are compromised.
■ Conduct CMCoord trainings with security forces, humanitarian partners and others.
■ Carry out further duties' incidental to the above or as assigned by the HC or OCHA head of office.
Expected outcome of the deployment
• Existence of an enhanced access plan
• Implementation of access working group plan of action
• Regular HCT briefing on the access situation
• Establishment of a network of exchanges with the parties involved in the conflict
• Organization of workshops on civil-military relations, by advocating adherence to applicable guidelines and principles and focusing on positive examples, contribute to a positive working relationship between relevant international military and IASC members.
Specific required skills
■ Fluency in English and working knowledge of French
■ Excellent writing, analytical and communications skills
■ Experience in humanitarian inter-agency coordination, UN-CMCoord and access issues,
■ Experience in working with multiple organizations,
■ Experience in conducting and coordinating inter-agency needs assessments,
■ Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to humanitarian assistance,
■ Ability to work in a multi-cultural team under demanding working conditions,
■ Ability to work in a stressful environment and to meet tight deadlines