Minister of State, Peter Power T.D., welcomes UN emergency response training team to Ireland
Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr Peter Power TD, this morning warmly welcomed officials from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to Ireland. The delegation is in Dublin to deliver a training workshop in communications in humanitarian emergencies to Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps. Members of the Corps are on standby to deploy to humanitarian emergencies anywhere in the world. Also participating in the training are humanitarian aid workers from Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Welcoming the delegation Minister Power said:
“Our hosting of this OCHA Training Workshop is about building the knowledge and the skills of the members of the Government’s Rapid Response Corps. Several members of the Corps – all of them journalists or public relations experts - are participating. As a result of the training they receive this week, they will be better prepared for the challenges which they will face on their deployment.
Hosting this workshop also allows Irish Aid to deepen our partnership with OCHA and other aid organisations. This pooling of our human resources and knowledge will help all of us in the international community to respond better to humanitarian crises”, added the Minister.
Note to editors:
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is tasked with strengthening the United Nation's response to both man-made emergencies and to natural disasters. OCHA's mission is to mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action on the part of both national and international partners in any humanitarian emergency.
In October, 2007, Irish Aid and OCHA entered into a standby partnership arrangement whereby members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps could be deployed with OCHA to humanitarian emergencies worldwide. To date, four members of the Corps have been deployed to OCHA operations in Nepal, Darfur and the Somali region of Ethiopia. Irish Aid has similar stand-by arrangements in place with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), and is about to finalise a similar arrangement with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
OCHA is a significant Irish Aid partner, receiving €7.7m in direct contributions from Irish Aid in 2007. OCHA is also charged with the management of the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – a special Fund of up to US$500m which is used to finance an immediate response to any crisis. It is also used to finance the so-called “forgotten emergencies” – i.e. those crises that continue, but no longer receive much media attention or donor support. Ireland is a strong supporter of the CERF having contributed a total of €52.6 million since its inception in 2006 and Ireland is currently the 6th largest donor to the CERF. Mr Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern, is an alternate member of the Advisory Group of the CERF