United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Formation19 December 1991; 30 years ago (1991-12-19)
TypeSecretariat office
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersNew York, United States
Istanbul, Turkey[1]
Martin Griffiths
 Politics portal

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a United Nations (UN) body established in December 1991 by the General Assembly to strengthen the international response to complex emergencies and natural disasters.[2] It is the successor to the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO).

The Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) was established shortly thereafter by the Secretary-General, but in 1998 was merged into OCHA, which became the UN's main focal point on major disasters.[3] OCHA's mandate was subsequently broadened to include coordinating humanitarian response, policy development and humanitarian advocacy. Its activities include organizing and monitoring humanitarian funding, advocacy, policy-making, and information exchange to facilitate rapid-response teams for emergency relief.[4]

OCHA is led by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC), appointed for a five-year term. Since July 2021, the role has been filled by Martin Griffiths of the United Kingdom.

OCHA organized the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a sitting observer in the United Nations Development Group.[5]

Staff and country offices

OCHA is headed by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, since July 2021 by Martin Griffiths. The headquarters based in two locations (New York and Geneva) in addition to 6 regional offices, 34 country offices, and 20 humanitarian adviser teams.[6]


As of June 2016, OCHA has 2,300 staff spread across the world in over 60 countries.[7]

Country offices

Major OCHA country offices are located in all continents, among others in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Palestinian territories, Sri Lanka, Sudan (including a sub-office in South Sudan's capital Juba), Syria, and Zimbabwe, while regional offices are located in Panama City, Dakar, Cairo, Johannesburg, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.[8] OCHA also has some liaison and support staff in New York and Geneva.

In the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut explosions, Najat Rochdi was the co-ordinator for OCHA's efforts in Lebanon.[9]


OCHA has built up a range of services in the execution of its mandate. Some of the larger ones are:

Humanitarian innovation in organizations

This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources. (January 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The OCHA encourages humanitarian innovation within organizations. For organizations, it is a way of identifying and solving problems while changing business models to adapt to new opportunities. In OCHA's occasional policy paper Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art, they list the reasons why organizations are moving toward providing their own kind of humanitarian service through innovation:

They also list potential challenges associated with these changes:

International dialing code

The OCHA was assigned its own international calling code +888. Telephone numbers in the +888 "country code" were assigned to agencies providing humanitarian relief. The +888 code was implemented by Voxbone.[21] However, the assignment of the +888 code has been withdrawn.[22]

See also


  1. ^ @TC_Disisleri (21 January 2021). "BM İnsani İşler Eşgüdüm Ofisi (OCHA) İstanbul Ofisi'nin Ev Sahibi Ülke Anlaşmasının İmzalanması Hk.…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 46 Resolution 182. Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations A/RES/46/182 19 December 1991.
  3. ^ "Who We Are". OCHA. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  4. ^ "OUR WORK". OCHA. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  5. ^ UNDG Members. Undg.org. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  6. ^ "OCHA Annual Report 2019" (PDF). ReliefWeb. 11 June 2020. p. 4. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  7. ^ "OCHA Annual Report 2015". ReliefWeb. 21 June 2016. p. 14. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Where We Work - All Countries". OCHA. Archived from the original on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  9. ^ Lederer, Edith M. (14 August 2020). "UN launches $565-million appeal for Beirut explosion victims". The Globe and Mail Inc. Associated Press.
  10. ^ Redesigning ReliefWeb. Reliefweb.int (1 September 2007). Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  11. ^ [1] IRIN News. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  12. ^ "About Us". ReliefWeb. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  13. ^ ""Who does What Where" Database". Archived from the original on 22 November 2007.
  14. ^ "Welcome - Humanitarian Data Exchange". data.humdata.org.
  15. ^ "Humanitarian Data Exchange". data.humdata.org. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Center for Excellence". COE. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  17. ^ "About OCHA oPt" Archived 9 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 November 2013
  18. ^ Salomons, Dirk. "Charity or Charade? The tragedy of humanitarianism." Journal of International Affairs 70, no. 2 (2017): 39-57.
  19. ^ "Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) x GISF 2021". Global Interagency Security Forum. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art". Retrieved 9 November 2014
  21. ^ "Voxbone Press Release". Voxbone. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  22. ^ "National Numbering Plans". International Telecommunications Union. Retrieved 16 May 2022.