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Report | “Reality and perspectives of humanitarian coordination in Latin America and the Caribbean: recommendations for Spanish cooperation”

Humanitarian needs in Latin America and the Caribbean have increased significantly in recent years, in a scenario in which the region is not only affected by disasters caused by natural hazards, but also by urban violence, armed conflicts and large-scale migratory flows. Given this scenario, the region has implemented a significant number of humanitarian coordination mechanisms promoted by actors such as OCHA and regional integration initiatives, among others. However, it is striking that many of these mechanisms have failed to consolidate in a region that needs them to address the emergencies and humanitarian crises that affect it.

Seeking to recommend Spanish cooperation on ways to improve humanitarian coordination in the region, this report analyses the current situation of the mechanisms already in place and explores the trends and prospects for their evolution. In general terms, the report identifies that, in the face of significant changes in the humanitarian situation, OCHA has lost importance in coordination, while UNHCR and IOM have gained prominence as a result of the response to the migration crisis in Venezuela. Furthermore, most of the mechanisms proposed in multilateral fora have been left to the mercy of the vagaries of the regional political panorama, as changes in government tend to have a strong impact on the participation of states in such mechanisms. In turn, states continue to opt for bilateral humanitarian coordination, and few of them have the capacity or determination to assume a leadership role in this area. Finally, civil society organisations and NGOs are slowly making inroads into coordination mechanisms, and there is now an opportunity to make further progress on this challenge.
Recommendations for Spanish cooperation include leading advocacy initiatives in favour of regional humanitarian coordination; promoting localisation and deepening more horizontal relations with the region; supporting the emergence, consolidation, and coordination between humanitarian civil society fora; strengthening humanitarian training processes at the regional level; promoting the incorporation of the triple nexus; and establishing multi-year funds.

The study was carried out with the support and collaboration of AECID’s Humanitarian Action Office (OAH).

Executive summary


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