Role of the ERA
The main element of the role will be supporting the RC/HC to ensure that the humanitarian response carries out its basic function - responding to the emergency - but also orienting the humanitarian strategic plans and the response to contribute to recovery and development. Humanitarian response and the recovery/development agenda are linked within the humanitarian-development nexus, , and a significant element of the ERA’s job is to leverage both to support each other.
There is no definitive approach for successfully supporting a RC/HC to integrate early recovery approaches into a humanitarian response. As the ERA ToR suggests (see Annex 1), a set of specific skills and plenty of energy will be useful for any ERA. It is imperative to understand the context of the crisis that you will be working in to give you legitimacy and credibility in your role, and carry the necessary gravitas to develop support for early recovery. It is also important to understand the context, the dynamics of the humanitarian response and how it is organized. This is framed currently in the evolving Transformative Agenda.
The ERA also needs to have a good understanding of the evolving humanitarian response, tracking funding patterns, identifying gaps, and articulating how early recovery approaches can be strengthened in a changing environment.
The ERA will need to understand how to use information management tools, and how to extract information for advocacy purposes to advise the Humanitarian Coordinator and Humanitarian Country Team (HTC) appropriately. Consequently, the ERA will need to use strong advocacy, and the ability to negotiate and influence senior level officials.
The role of an ERA is to work across the entire humanitarian community and this will include engaging with all clusters (or as many as possible) as well as building alliances to support early recovery initiatives (advocating for early recovery is easier with a support base, than with a single voice). In many contexts the ERA will also be required to leverage the potential for development actors to contribute to addressing a crisis. The ERA will need a high level of energy and dynamism to engage with such a wide array of actors.
The key role of the ERA is to ensure that an early recovery approach is integrated into the humanitarian response. This means the humanitarian response should take into consideration the longer term objectives of a country that has been affected by a crisis and is receiving international humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian response should look beyond immediate assistance, or more specifically, try to ensure the immediate assistance can also have a lasting benefit where possible.
In order to bring the early recovery approach into humanitarian response, the ERA needs to be engaged with all clusters and as many humanitarian actors as possible to encourage their individual activities to include early recovery.
The ERA will also be expected to respond to questions about the integration of early recovery. One of the key functions of a cluster coordinator is to have a good picture of what is happening in a particular thematic sector e.g. the Health Cluster Coordinator will be expected to know what the health situation is in a given crisis, and also to explain the health response, and how the health crisis is being address. Similarly, the ERA will be expected to answer questions on early recovery: how well it is being integrated into the humanitarian response, how different agencies are integrating early recovery into their work, how the humanitarian response is linked to longer-term objectives, how early recovery is supporting the resilience of affected populations etc.
Improving Coherence of the Humanitarian Response
Another added value of the ERA is that he/she will be able to contribute to increased coherence and synergies between the works of different clusters/sectors, which combined with timely integration of the Early Recovery approach, will enhance resilience building and recovery. Engaging in the Inter-Cluster Coordination platform and working closely with OCHA is encouraged.
This will add value to the humanitarian response in general, or in other words ‘will provide a better return on donor investment’. The fact that the humanitarian community will be confronted with a new generation of complex crises and the fact that the financial resources to respond to these will not increase exponentially, is one reason why resilience strengthening is so prominent on the humanitarian agenda.
In regard to this, gathering information, developing a strong understanding of the entire humanitarian response, and utilizing and exploiting information management tools will be required to illustrate how (and how much) early recovery is being integrated into the humanitarian response. UNDP often does not maintain dedicated Information Management personnel in their offices, so relying on OCHA’s support for this is vital, and is an excellent resource to rely on, even in situations where an Information Management Officer (IMO) has been deployed to support the cluster. A separate module in this part of the training course (Phase 1) introduces you to Information Management tools, most particularly what is available from OCHA and can be utilized by an ERA.
An important part of the job will be knowing about the activities of many different actors and being able to articulate their work verbally, as well as illustrate it in various formats to show examples of early recovery as a learning tool, monitor and account for early recovery to provide an evidence base as to whether it is happening or not (and if it needs to be strengthened, or not).
The ERA will need to have the skills to convey early recovery work from various information sources, using diagrams, graphs, charts, illustrations, multi-media, video, written reports etc. to convey information to the HCT and the RC/HC.
What is the difference between an Early Recovery Advisor and a Cluster Coordinator?
It is important to distinguish the role of the ERA and CCfER. ERAs are the representation of the GCER in crisisaffected countries and are the backbone of the work related to coordination support, providing advisory services to the HC, development of durable solutions strategies as required, managing and creating an evidence-base of information for decision-making, supporting the humanitarian-development nexus, and much more. In addition to the advisory support provided by an ERA to the HC/ RC and the humanitarian system, the HC/RC may require additional coordination support for issues not covered by any of the other clusters that have been activated in-country. A separate cluster may be established by the Humanitarian Country Team in a country affected by a crisis, which is related to early recovery. The CCfER establishes and maintains an effective cluster coordination mechanism, ensures the members of the cluster engage with national authorities and government counterparts and leads the cluster members in inter-agency processes.
Early Recovery Advisor
The key role of the Early Recovery Advisor (ERA) is to ensure that an early recovery approach is integrated into the humanitarian response. The main mechanism for this is the “advice” that is provided to the HC/RC in their lead role in coordinating the inter-agency early recovery work across all clusters. The ERA typically is based in the UNDP country/field office in-country but reports to the HC/RC. The ERA will work across the entire humanitarian community, which will include engaging with all clusters (or as many as possible) as well as building alliances to support early recovery. This is in close collaboration and consultation with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG).
The ERA needs to be engaged with all clusters and as many humanitarian actors as possible to encourage their individual activities to include early recovery.
In most contexts the ERA will also be required to leverage the potential for development actors and private sector to contribute to addressing a crisis. This means the humanitarian response should take into consideration the longer term objectives of a country that has been affected by a crisis and is receiving international humanitarian assistance.
The ERA is astutely aware of the following four core knowledge competencies and their respective programmes in implementing his/her work:
- People Centered Approach
- Humanitarian Response
- Recovery Programming
- Transition Planning
Cluster Coordinator for Early Recovery
The key role of the Cluster Coordinator for Early Recovery (CCfER) is to “enable” cluster partners to be more effective by working together in accordance with the principles of partnership than they could be individually. The CCfER provides accountable leadership and works on behalf of the cluster as a whole, facilitating all cluster activities and maintaining a strategic vision. He/she also ensures coordination regarding the areas covered, e.g. governance, infrastructure and livelihoods, with other clusters in relation to inter-cluster activities and crosscutting (People Centered approach) issues. The CCfER is based in the UNDP country/field office in-country and reports to the Country Director/Resident Representative or their Deputy (Programme).
The CCfER also has a duty, to all partners within the Clusters, to act as a representative of the cluster as a whole rather than solely as a representative of UNDP. The CCfER is responsible for the development of the Cluster’s action plans and monitoring their implementation. The CCfER ensures that the action plans are coherent with the priorities outlined in the overall early recovery strategic framework developed by the ER network with the support of the Early Recovery Advisor. The CCfER is astutely aware of the following four core knowledge competencies and their respective programmes in implementing his/her work; Livelihoods, Governance, Basic Infrastructure Repairs and Rehabilitation, Capacity-Building – Investing in People.