Sweden has made another contribution through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, to the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) of SEK 5 million (approx. US$ 584,000), in addition to the SEK 5 million contribution made earlier in the year.
The MHF is an OCHA-managed country-based pooled fund that provides funding for emergency responses to urgent needs of people affected by natural disasters or conflict. MHF projects respond to new emergencies or fill gaps in the humanitarian response. The MHF targets 50 percent of its funds for allocation to local NGOs, who are often the first responders during emergencies.
The MHF provides funding for projects which provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by natural disaster or conflict. All humanitarian sectors are eligible, and projects must correspond with sector priorities described in the Humanitarian Response Plan.
OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.
Each year, Sida conducts a humanitarian allocation exercise in which a large part of its humanitarian budget is allocated to emergencies worldwide. This allocation takes place in the beginning of the year as to ensure predictability for humanitarian organisations and to allow for best possible operational planning. In an effort to truly adhere to the humanitarian principles Sida bases its allocation decisions on a number of objective indicators of which the most important are related to the number of affected people, vulnerability of affected people and level of funding in previous years. One of the indicators is also related to forgotten crises in order to ensure sufficient funding also to low profile crises. Besides this initial allocation, another part of the humanitarian budget is set aside as an emergency reserve for sudden onset emergencies and deteriorating humanitarian situations. This reserve allows Sida to quickly allocate funding to any humanitarian situation throughout the year, including additional funding to the Myanmar crisis.
For 2016 the Myanmar crisis is allocated an initial 40 MSEK in January 2016. Close monitoring of the Myanmar crisis follows throughout the year for potentially additional funds.
There is ample room for strengthening humanitarian coordination and OCHAs role in Myanmar and Sida should support this process. Through its support to OCHA, Sida should also continue to support a stronger role of gender in humanitarian programming and implementation, for example through a stronger role of GenCap advisers in the humanitarian programme cycle as well as in capacity work with implementing partners and government authorities.