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PPRE Minimum Preparedness Actions (MPAs, refugee situations)

Key points
  • MPAs are mainly implemented by UNHCR offices and are mandatory.
  • MPAs include emergency risk analysis, monitoring, and early warning.
  • Develop a procedure for deciding when to trigger Advanced Preparedness Actions (APAs).
  • MPAs are not resource intensive.
  • MPAs should enable an office to prepare itself for the minimum demands of an emergency response.


Every country is required to establish a minimum level of preparedness for potential refugee emergencies.
Minimum Preparedness Actions (MPAs) are mandatory actions that enable a country operation to make itself ready to trigger advanced processes when the risk of an influx increases. MPAs are a routine part of UNHCR's work and are not risk- or scenario-specific. Implementation of MPAs does not require significant additional resources. It should be planned and budgeted for as part of the annual operations management cycle.
The Preparedness Action Plan checklist includes all Minimum Preparedness Actions (MPAs).

Building blocks of Preparedness

Building blocks of Preparedness

Main guidance

When and for what purpose

MPAs are mandatory at all times for all UNHCR country offices. The purpose of an MPA is to make a country operation ready to trigger advanced processes if the risk of an influx increases.

Some MPAs may take longer to implement (understanding local shelter options and practices, for example). Others may require more continuous effort (risk monitoring or updating contact lists). In most cases, MPAs can be integrated in regular office management activities.

Summary of guidance and/or options

Country level
Most MPAs require the collection of updated information, and analysis of the context. The UNHCR Representative should designate a focal point for each thematic area on the checklist. (See the Preparedness Action Plan checklist.)

Senior management and external relations
MPAs include early warning for refugee emergencies. Offices should monitor how likely it is that a refugee emergency might occur. UNHCR should at all times take the lead and be a dependable partner when analysing the risk of a refugee emergency.

A national office should keep an up-to-date record of the country's asylum policies, maintain contact with relevant government authorities and protection actors, strengthen the capacity of partners as required, and familiarize themselves with the standard for emergency refugee registration.

Programme and basic needs
A national office should develop a good understanding of the country's emergency response capacity (taking account of government capacity and partners' capacity), the presence of relevant facilities and services, possible refugee settlement options, cultural and contextual factors that might influence shelter options, and the feasibility of cash-based interventions.

Procurement and supply
An operation should keep an updated record of relief items that UNHCR holds in-country, assess the market for local procurement of relief items and other relevant services, keep track of local procurement frame agreements, and understand the country's customs procedures.

Administration, human resources, security and safety, and ICT
A national office should maintain an updated briefing kit (available for emergency deployees), understand visa procedures, maintain contacts with relevant authorities, and identify office and accommodation options for staff and deployees in potential operational areas.

How to implement this at field level?

MPAs are implemented primarily by UNHCR. When feasible and appropriate they are implemented together with partners. UNHCR Representatives are responsible for implementing MPAs at country level, supported by regional offices and HQ Regional Bureaux. Country offices and HQ Regional Bureaux share the primary responsibility for monitoring the risk of refugee movements, and decisions to trigger contingency planning. MPAs may be implemented remotely in cooperation with the host government in countries where a clear need has been identified but UNHCR has no office.

UNHCR offices should:

  • Identify one staff member (the preparedness focal point) who is responsible for managing and keeping track of compliance with the Preparedness Action Plan worksheet.
  • Use the Preparedness Action Plan worksheet as a management tool and assign responsibilities for each thematic group to specific individuals.
  • Ensure that a risk analysis is carried out at least once every year.
  • Share early warning information with UNHCR offices in countries that might be affected, as well as with UNCT/HCT partners and UNHCR HQ regional bureaux.
  • Take stock regularly of MPA implementation and possible gaps.

Main contacts

UNHCR HQ, Division for Emergency Security and Supply (DESS), at: [email protected]

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