Roles and Responsibilities
As discussed in Chapter 1, About Camp Management, and Chapter 2, Roles and Responsibilities, the Camp Management Agency’s aim is to ensure efficiency and accountability in the provision of assistance and protection of the camp population through delivery of services in line with national and international laws and standards. This requires a process of coordinating and facilitating all those involved, in their activities and interventions. Coordination is an ongoing process. It must be dynamic and responsive, reflecting and responding to the often unpredictable shifts in circumstance throughout the life cycle of the camp.
It is invariably complex to achieve a level of agreement and compromise among a diverse group of stakeholders on how to define mutually acceptable common goals which uphold the rights of the displaced population and which are in line with agreed standards and international legal instruments. When faced by challenges the Camp Management Agency must look for innovative solutions, establish clear and diplomatic communication channels and engage all those involved in dialogue to identify priorities and appropriate actions. They need to ensure that all interventions are made in the best interests of the displaced population and the host community, with due regard for the Principles of Partnership, and the protection of people with specific needs. In order to ensure that standards and activities in the camp are in accordance with the broader camp response strategy, a Camp Management Agency will also liaise closely with the CCCM Cluster/Sector Lead who monitors and coordinates between different camps.
The main responsibilities for a Camp Management Agency, in relation to coordination with all stakeholders, can be summarised as:
- acting as focal point for all activities and issues taking place in the camp
- collecting data and managing information on needs of the camp population
- mapping all stakeholders (Who/What/Where) and facilitate a clear and agreed division of tasks
- maintaining open communication and coordination channels with the national authorities (Camp Administration at camp level)
- promoting and working in accordance with the Principles of Partnership
- ensuring strategic planning, implementation and monitoring of protection and assistance, throughout the camp life cycle
- ensuring that gaps and duplications in the delivery of assistance and services are identified and responded to
- ensuring mobilisation and participation of the camp population and host community through implementation of a camp governance system including elections, camp population representation and camp committees
- ensuring that the Age, Gender, Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) approach is integrated in all activities in the camp
- setting up and ensuring a centralised complaint and feedback mechanism that promotes accountability
- ensuring standards are respected and camp infrastructure maintained
- ensuring good relations with host populations and their inclusion in work and activities in the camp
- committing to an open dialogue with the CCCM Cluster/ Sector Lead in relation to support needs and implementation of its decisions at camp level
- ensuring all actions undertaken with and for the camp population reflect the search for durable solutions.
☞ For more details on the Camp Management Agency's responsibilities, see Chapter 2, Roles and Responsibilities.
Where sufficient capacity to address all the needs and rights of the camp population is present, national authorities and national partners in the national disaster management system may also take the role as Camp Management Agency. The role of humanitarian actors will then be to support the national authorities. In these cases, the humanitarian community and government may jointly identify eventual gaps in coordination and strengthen it. In some cases there are co-leadership arrangements, as a joint effort to combine capacities of national and international actors.
Collective Centres and Camps
Collective centres and camps might be very different when it comes to shelter that is provided, proximity to neighbours, problems faced during displacement, stakeholders and context. Collective centres can be education and religious institutions or public structures. Fields used for refugee and IDP camps might be at the outskirts of a city or village, or in quite remote places.
Nevertheless, there are also many similarities. Both land and property where refugee/IDP camps and collective centres are situated might be privately or publicly owned. Both must relate to owners or users of the place, and both are assisted through a structure that either existed before the displacement or that was set up to respond to it. All stakeholders must operate within this structure. Coordination is as important in a collective centre response as it is in a traditional camp response.
☞ For more information on the roles and responsibilities of the Camp Administration, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, see Chapter 1, About Camp Management.
Coordination With Partners
How Is Coordination Achieved?
The Camp Management Agency acts as an overall organising body, bringing people together, encouraging team work and contributing to planning, implementation and monitoring of humanitarian services and camp activities. Coordination forums and mechanisms engage stakeholders at different levels both inside and outside the camp. Depending on when in the camp life cycle the Camp Management Agency takes over, it must map already existing structures, build on well-functioning ones and initiate those missing.
Keeping everyone informed and engaged in the coordination process is an important part of the Camp Management Agency’s role. If key players fail to commit to agreed systems for coordination, for example by not turning up to meetings and instead choosing to work independently and in isolation, it becomes increasingly difficult for a Camp Management Agency to ensure consistent provision of assistance and protection. For coordination to work, the Camp Management Agency needs to ensure the ‘buy-in’ of all those involved and to ensure stakeholders are communicating. Such an approach makes coordination meetings decision-making forums instead of purely information sharing sessions.
Question of Leadership
Effective coordination needs leadership. Taking a leadership role in coordination at camp level includes holding each agency accountable and monitoring to ensure coordination systems in place are functioning properly. The credibility of a Camp Management Agency depends on support from all partners, not least the Cluster/Sector Lead Agency. One of the biggest challenges of coordination is that while many support the idea in principle, in practice they prefer to work autonomously, do not want to be told what to do or to open themselves to criticism.
For coordination to work, the leader must therefore be authorised–requested/permitted to lead. This requires gaining and consistently renewing the trust of all those partners who permit themselves to be coordinated and participate according to the process and procedures set out in an agreed coordination agenda.
For leadership to remain legitimate and accountable there must always be space for feedback, for complaint and for change. Effective coordination is, by nature, dynamic and flexible and must meet the needs of those it seeks to coordinate.
The following diagram gives an overview of coordination in relation to camps and an example where the three main functions are activated, in camps and between camps. These three functions are traditionally explained as the Camp Management, the Camp Administration and the Camp Coordination Agency. In principle, the national authorities could fill all the three functions, but UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and national and international agencies never can fill more than two of them (Camp Coordination and Camp Management).
Stakeholders at all levels are always context specific and their roles will vary according to need and circumstances. Most commonly stakeholders are the camp population, host community, service providers and local government officials. Issues and problems that are not solved through the Camp Management Agency’s coordination at camp level must be raised with Cluster/Sector Lead at regional/national level for solution. This requires vertical accountability mechanisms to be put in place.
Build Upon Existing Structures!
Emergency responses should always build upon existing national functional structures rather than creating additional parallel ones. In some countries there is already a national disaster preparedness system in place as well as sectoral working committees chaired by the national authorities. The role of humanitarian agencies is to support and strengthen these when required.
What Coordination Needs?
Effective coordination requires multi-sectoral and multifaceted perspectives, as well as a dual approach in which the importance of both operational and strategic coordination are recognised.
Actors who seek access to camp populations often share the same objectives in regard to addressing human needs and allaying suffering. However, there is wide variance in organisational structure, technical and/or geographic expertise, mission, mandate and political interest. All these factors may hinder or prevent effective coordination in the field.
Humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence are necessary for effective coordination and are central to establishing and maintaining access to affected populations. Despite the challenges in adhering to them the advantages are significant. Applying humanitarian principles helps create more effective coordination mechanisms that, ultimately, improve humanitarian service delivery to the camp population.
Sound and harmonious relations between people who solve problems together are important. Building effective working relationships with partners entails a clear and shared understanding of mutual roles, responsibilities and expectations. It is important that these are outlined and agreed as early as possible when establishing the working relationships, providing the foundation and the parameters of the partnerships and mutual accountability. The outcome of coordination based on policy, perspectives, objectives and principles will be limited unless all stakeholders have a proactive and inclusive attitude towards each other and the coordination process. Listening skills, cultural sensitivity, trust and ability to establish consensus are important as is commitment to coordinate and to be coordinated.
Principles of Partnership
In 2007, the Principles of Partnership were adopted by 40 humanitarian organisations in the Global Humanitarian Platform (GHP), including NGOs, UN agencies, IOM, the World Bank and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This was done in response to the recognised need for more effective partnerships between humanitarian actors. The principles are:
Equality requires mutual respect between members of the partnership irrespective of size and power. The participants must respect each other's mandates, obligations and independence and recognise each other's constraints and commitments. Mutual respect must not preclude organisations from engaging in constructive dissent.
Transparency is achieved through dialogue (on equal footing), with an emphasis on early consultations and early sharing of information. Communications and transparency, including financial transparency, increase the level of trust among organisations.
Effective humanitarian action must be reality-based and action-oriented. This requires result-oriented coordination based on effective capabilities and concrete operational capacities.
Humanitarian organisations have an ethical obligation to each other to accomplish their tasks responsibly, with integrity and in a relevant and appropriate way. They must make sure they commit to activities only when they have the means, competencies, skills, and capacity to deliver on their commitments. Decisive and robust prevention of abuses committed by humanitarians must also be a constant effort.
The diversity of the humanitarian community is an asset if we build on our comparative advantages and complement each other’s contributions. Local capacity is one of the main assets to enhance and on which to build. Whenever possible, humanitarian organisations should strive to make it an integral part in emergency response. Language and cultural barriers must be overcome.
Coordinating With Camp Population
Developing effective coordination with members of the camp community is an integral part of ensuring participation and accountability. Community members and group representatives have a vital need not only to be consulted, but to actively participate in the assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all aspects of camp life.
Involving camp representatives in camp and sector coordination meetings can help to improve data collection, dissemination of information and development of reporting systems. This, in turn, will contribute to better assistance, protection and service provision. The Camp Management Agency should promote a transparent and participatory approach and encourage other service providers to do the same. The camp population can be active subjects in the effective management of their own displacement. A Camp Management Agency should adopt an approach which respects and builds upon their capacities, including members of groups with specific needs and those at heightened risk.
Voice From the Field - Engaging a Camp Population in Coordination Mechanism
Four months after typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) struck the Philippines in November 2013, all remaining 16 spontaneous sites, evacuation centres and transitional sites in and around Tacloban had functioning site management committees. Each had an elected president, vice-president and secretary and included representatives from every sub-committee, all of them sites' residents. Most sites had sub-committees for food and non-food items (NFIs), shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health, peace and security and information. The site management committees were supported by the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) and site managers, with the CCCM Cluster providing advice.
Participation mechanisms as well as objectives may change considerably as time in displacement increases. Participation objectives for short-term camps focus on data collection, distribution mechanisms and protection. In long-term displacement situations advocacy, governance structures and the development of clear policies regarding durable solutions become more important.
An often very successful way to ensure participation of the camp population is through the formation of committees. These are composed of persons who represent various groups and carry out specific tasks and assignments relevant to issues within the camp. They may also carry out awareness raising, monitoring and maintenance activities.
The inclusiveness of the procedure used to select those who participate in meetings, sit on committees or serve as representatives is of critical importance. The Camp Management Agency must ensure broad and effective community participation through oversight of the selection of resident representatives.
The key rational for involving camp residents in committees is that their voices, needs and opinions are channelled into a responsive system. Referral and complaints mechanisms must be in place in all camps to deal with and respond to various inputs, empower camp populations and improve life in camps.
☞ For more information on community participation and complaints mechanisms, see Chapter 3, Community Participation.
Coordinating With National Authorities
In both IDP and refugee contexts, national authorities are central to camp activities and interventions. National authorities have primary responsibility for communities in camps, and it is at their invitation, or with their consent, that the humanitarian community is present. National authorities at camp level are by default filling the tasks of the Camp Administration. These relate to the oversight and supervision of activities in camps.
The Camp Management Agency must, independently of who is filling its role, monitor all stakeholders operating in a camp. It is the responsibility of the Camp Management Agency to appropriately advocate that each partner fulfil their agreed responsibilities and duties.
☞ For more information on roles and responsibilities of the Camp Administration, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, see Chapter 1, About Camp Management.
Coordinating With Camp Coordination Agency
When working in an IDP context where the cluster coordination system has been activated, a Camp Management Agency at camp level is part of an overall camp response strategy led by the Camp Coordination Agency/CCCM Cluster Lead at inter-camp or regional level, in cooperation with the relevant national authorities. Increasingly national authorities are assuming the role of the Camp Coordination Agency. In IDP situations where the cluster coordination system has not been activated, there may be a Sector Lead Agency, playing an inter-camp coordination role, with whom a Camp Management Agency works closely. The camp coordinating role falls under the mandate of UNHCR in refugee contexts.
The quality of the relationship between a Camp Management Agency and a Camp Coordination Agency is central to the overall capacity of the camp response in providing assistance and protection. The two functions have different roles and responsibilities that are mutually dependent upon each other and upon those of the Camp Administration. Tracking gaps and duplication in service provision is undertaken by the Camp Management Agency. Such information will be shared and acted upon in coordination meetings and fed into the information management systems and tools developed and updated by the Camp Coordination Agency; the CCCM Cluster/ Sector Lead.
Coordination between the Camp Management Agency and the Camp Coordination Agency ideally begins with joint assessments and planning. In reality however, it may be that one of them is first on the ground and that by the time both are established coordination systems, mechanisms and tools are already partially in place. It is then a question of building on functional existing structures, sharing what is already in place and working together to ensure that the information needs of all stakeholders are met.
☞ For more information on the role of the Camp Coordination Agency, see Chapter 1, About Camp Management.
Coordinating With Service Providers
The Camp Management Agency also has to coordinate with a variety of service providers, important stakeholders when it comes to upholding the basic rights of the camp population. Service providers may be national or international NGOs, or business or public actors. All have to be coordinated either by a Camp Management Agency or within an existing structure.
Coordination with the Camp Management Agency should provide added value for service providers. Through coordination by the Camp Management Agency, they need to be able to share and receive information, foster support for their programmes and maximise impact. Both service providers and Camp Management Agency take part in the overall strategy for humanitarian assistance delivered to a camp.
To ensure proper coordination of services and protection in the camp, the Camp Management Agency should expect the following from service providers and vice versa:
- There should be commitment to the coordination process, transparency in all programme activities and acknowledgment of the role of the Camp Management Agency and those of service providers.
- Ideally, there will be written agreements on each other’s roles and responsibilities and sharing of programme goals. These should aim to improve coordination, monitor performance and ensure accountability.
- It is important to set out clear and achievable short-term and long-term aims that will motivate everyone involved and make it easier to monitor interventions and reach agreed targets.
- Efforts must be made to establish and maintain positive relations and provide regular updates to each other throughout the camp life cycle.
- Mutual respect and encouragement that facilitates trust, performance and accountability is important.
In Contact With the Camp
NGO compounds, where agencies locate their offices all together, often for security reasons, can lead to many staff becoming very isolated from camp life, and camp population having little contact with those who are there to assist them. Also in situations where camps have expanded but offices have not, it is easy for the camp population and the service providers to lose touch, and have limited contact due to distance or inaccessibility.
The Camp Management Agency should encourage service providers to ensure presence of staff and services at camp level wherever possible.
Coordinating With The Host Community
Good coordination at both camp level and with the neighbouring community can increase trust between the camp population and their hosts and help to avoid conflicting messages. Involving the host population in development of the camp, providing a forum for listening to issues and acting on grievances can have a positive impact on relationships and on the management of the camp itself.
Hosting a camp population can put considerable social, economic, environmental and cultural pressure on a host population who are themselves often poor and under-resourced. It sometimes happens that the camp population enjoys a higher standard of living or better protection than they do. This is less likely to be the case in collective centres where people generally live in poorer circumstances than the surrounding population. Tensions may develop around the sharing of common resources, making for a fractious relationship between the host and displaced communities.
Relations between camp population and host communities are driven by unique local circumstances and are context-specific. Promoting positive co-existence between the host community and the camp population requires adherence to these principles of coordination:
- establish direct contact with the host community as soon as possible. Representatives of the host community should be invited in forums for coordination on camp issues such as environmental care or larger employment opportunities
- advocate for representation of camp population in mechanisms of local governance, for this is where decisions relating to camps might be made
- assess ways in which the host community could benefit from services delivered in camps, such as health care, safe water provision, education, socio-cultural events and employment.
Commitment to the Coordination Process
To ensure proper coordination in camps, all stakeholders should have a clear understanding of the Camp Management Agency’s roles and responsibilities, including coordination in camps. Stakeholders at camp level should commit to participate in coordination meetings, to be transparent and to openly communicate on issues of importance for coordination. This should happen with the full knowledge of the Camp Coordination Agency, so that the Camp Management Agency properly can ensure assistance and protection to the camp population.
Main Coordination Mechanisms and Tools
The term ‘coordination mechanism’ simply means the method the Camp Management Agency employs to coordinate. A coordination mechanism is the way in which coordination results are achieved. The main coordination mechanisms for a Camp Management Agency are joint planning and implementing and monitoring and evaluation of decisions taken during the coordination meetings.
Coordination may also extend to a process of collaboration, consultation and joint planning. Sector needs are jointly assessed between service providers in the camp, and plans are made together for technical activities. If feasible, joint training of agency staff may also be undertaken. Agencies may also decide to share personnel and operational resources as part of their coordination activities.
It is important to clarify both agreements and the process that led to the agreement. Documentation such as minutes of meetings, memorandum of understanding, plans, indicators, guidelines and reports should be written and disseminated in such a way that they are clear, specific, manageable and useful for everyone
The Camp Management Agency needs to have a holistic overview and to understand how issues are connected and interdependent. For example, coordinating a solution for how food distribution is organised, can have protection implications. Vulnerable groups, such as older persons or those with disabilities, might be protected by receiving their food in a special fast-track row or by having food delivered directly to where they live.
Respecting diversity is essential. A Camp Management Agency’s staff should always practice and advocate for respect and understanding of all groups and stakeholders.
Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation
Consistent monitoring of the impact of programmes and assessment of the effectiveness of the coordination mechanisms in filling gaps and providing appropriate and timely assistance, is central to best practice for a Camp Management Agency. Those tasked with addressing the gaps are thereby held accountable. Evaluating sector-specific interventions enables projects to be adapted and lessons learned to be integrated into future project planning. It is important to adopt new approaches and anticipate future needs. It is also important to monitor each agency’s delivery of services and its impact on the camp population itself.
Having too many meetings can be symptomatic of complex relief operations. Meetings must be well-planned and well-chaired to avoid being regarded by busy humanitarians as a waste of time. When organising effective meetings it is important to ensure that:
- the right participants are present
- relevant information is sent out beforehand
- the agenda is clear, agreed and adhered to
- start and finish times are agreed and kept to
- guidelines for constructive behaviour are in place
- time is used to build trust and relationships within the group
- agreed action points are recorded and followed up
- meeting minutes are circulated within 48 hours and allow for evaluation of meeting effectiveness.
It is useful to identify distinct meetings for different topics always considering whether a meeting:
- is necessary at all
- has clear objectives
- includes programme planning
- includes political developments and related security conditions
- involves training needs and staff concerns.
Is the meeting meant to be organised for a larger and more inclusive group, for a smaller group or bilaterally? When chairing a meeting, or supporting someone who is, it may be challenging to stick to the objectives and time set, while facilitating contributions from the participants and allowing sufficient space for the sharing of expertise. Specific clear and achievable goals need to be set which generate involvement, commitment and a spirit of trust.
Types of Coordination Meetings Most Often at Camp Level
- regular weekly/bi-weekly meetings, including distributed agendas and minutes
- sector specific committees, for example regular meetings for protection agencies in the camp
- camp committees, representing camp residents in camp governance
- informal chats and exchanges, planned and/or ad hoc general relationship building
Type of Coordination Meetings Most Often at Cluster/Sector Lead level:
- cluster/sector (facilitated by the camp coordinator)
- teleconferences (involving more stakeholders)
- task forces (often used to target a specific issue needing urgent, technical/expert attention which provide feedback and recommendations)
- working groups/sub-groups (tasked with researching a specific issue or producing a specific deliverable)
Meetings at camp level and cluster/sector level should be coordinated and interlinked. The outcomes from meetings at camp level should inform the agenda and discussions of meetings at cluster/sector level. Vice versa, strategies and directions agreed upon at cluster/sector level should be discussed during meetings at camp level. This will assume that meeting schedules are coordinated and timely information is available.
Voice From the Field - Coordination in a Situation of Protracted Displacement, Kenya 2012
In situations of protracted displacement, such as Kenyan refugee camps, there can be a lack of shared vision between stakeholders. Coordination meetings become a routine exercise to simply update each other and there is an absence of joint planning or sharing experiences. Among the main challenges are protracted disputes, political differences, deep-seated personality clashes and conflicts of interest. High turnover of agency personnel, and especially expatriate staff, can undermine the development or strengthening of coordination mechanisms. It is essential for a Camp Management Agency to identify weaknesses and to build on strengths in an inclusive and transparent manner. Being innovative, and prepared to modify coordination mechanisms that need revision, can make a difference.
Five-Factor Coordination Analysis Tool
This provides a starting point for planning coordination meetings, analysis of the shortcomings of a specific coordination approach and how to improve it. It uses five criteria: location, membership, decision-making, formality and resources.
- LOCATION – where and when will the meeting take place?
- MEMBERSHIP – who is this meeting for?
- DECISION-MAKING - do the organisers of the meeting and the participants have decision-making power?
- FORMALITY – is there an invitation and agenda for the meeting, are minutes taken and distributed?
- RESOURCES – do the organisers have resources for copying of minutes, electricity, IT equipment, coffee and tea for participants?
Coordination Meeting Action List
This suggests what to remember when preparing for a meeting.
Who does What Where?
The 3W is a simple tool that facilitates registration of stakeholders in camps, a prerequisite in the work of identifying gaps or duplications in service provision.
SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely
The SMART tool can be used for developing action points during coordination meetings.
Meeting Minutes Tracking Form
The Meeting Minutes Tracking Form facilitates organising of note-taking during during the meeting and can easily be used as minutes for sharing with participants.
☞ For more details on tools in coordination, the see Tools section.
Challenges in Coordination
The way in which a Camp Management Agency approaches coordination and the outcomes that are achieved will directly impact on the protection and services provided to a camp population. While coordination is a topic frequently discussed in relation to a camp response, its practical and effective implementation can be difficult. Some of the challenges are presented below.
Challenge: to Organise Coordination Meetings
Solution: To ensure that the coordination meetings are properly organised from the start, the Camp Management Agency can use:
- the Five-Factor Coordination Analysis Tool (Location, Membership, Decision-making, Formality, Resources and Commitment) as a checklist
- the Coordination Meeting Action List
- the Who Does What Where approach
- SMART criteria – being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely
- the Meeting Minutes Tracking Form
Coordination works when people can see the benefits of coordinating and the process of coordination itself gains respect. This happens when people begin to rely on effective information sharing and joint planning and invest in building relations because it produces a dividend in terms of the efficiency and/ or effectiveness of their programmes. It is then that a Camp Management Agency is seen to be really making a difference.
Challenge: Qualified Coordination Capacity
Solution: The Camp Management Agency must have enough staff trained and experienced in coordination to avoid the risk that coordination becomes dependent upon one charismatic person. When the Camp Management Agency does not have enough trained staff, and when the national authorities fill their role, the humanitarian community should offer training, tools, equipment, material, facilities and personnel.
Challenge: Commitment by All Stakeholders
Solution: All stakeholders must commit to the coordination process and make it a priority by participating in meetings and committees, by sharing information and by responding to the Principles of Partnership. In cases where this becomes difficult the Camp Management Agency may seek the support of the authorities, and/or the Camp Coordination Agency who may take action and advocate for better coordination. Complaints procedures and advocacy strategies need to be decided as part of the Camp Management Agency’s strategic plan.
Coordination at camp level is also part of a larger global system led by the IASC, which is an inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making that brings together key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners.
Challenge: Appropriate Funding
Solution: The Camp Management Agency as well as other agencies aiming to expand their activities during an emergency response can apply for money in various funds. The application processes might be led by OCHA, by UNHCR in refugee operations or the Cluster at national and regional level. Responsibilities of the Cluster Lead Agency include to promote better coverage of camp management services; support partners during direct funding applications when required by donors; facilitate coordination with partners for timely submission of funding applications and advocacy with donors to ensure that Camp Management Agencies may more easily access funding.
Following a humanitarian crisis, there are three types of pooled funds that can be applied for through OCHA: the Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and Emergency Response Funds (ERFs). The funds provide assistance for basic needs like food, water, shelter, life-saving nutrition and medical care.