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Country operations under emergency declaration (L1, L2, L3) can request additional staff from UNHCR internal emergency deployment mechanisms. The roster members are trained and on call to be deployed to emergency operations at short notice
First responder mechanisms of the Regional Bureaux and corporate missions from HQ divisions and other operations complement the global emergency deployment mechanisms
Emergency deployment requests from the internal deployment mechanisms need to include TORs and to be endorsed by the Representative and the Regional Bureau
To request an emergency deployment, contact the Emergency Preparedness, Deployments and Partnerships Section (EPDPS) in the Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS)
UNHCR is committed to deploying the right people to the right place, at the right time, to effectively respond to emergencies. In line with UNHCR’s Policy on Emergency Preparedness and Response, at any point during an emergency declaration (L1, L2 or L3), country operation(s) may request deployments from internal and/or external (standby partners) deployment mechanisms to address increased or new humanitarian needs. This entry provides information on internal deployment mechanisms. For detailed information on external deployment Requesting deployments from emergency standby partners.
UNHCR maintains internal emergency deployment capacity through the following deployment schemes:
DESS Emergency Surge Team;
Emergency Response Team (ERT);
Senior Corporate Emergency Roster (SCER);
Emergency Functional Rosters.
UNHCR's internal emergency deployment mechanisms enable the organization to maintain 100-150 active roster members at any given time for eventual emergency deployments. First responder mechanisms of the Regional Bureaux and corporate missions from HQ divisions and other operations complement these global emergency deployment schemes.
DESS is responsible for managing UNHCR’s internal emergency deployment schemes (DESS Emergency Surge Team, ERT and SCER), and jointly manages Emergency Functional Rosters with relevant HQ divisions.
This section first provides information on the types of UNHCR’s internal emergency deployment mechanisms, followed by advice to the operations on how to request such emergency deployments.
1. Emergency Surge Team of the Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS)
The DESS Emergency Surge Team is a multi-functional team of emergency professionals who can be deployed at short notice as a team or individually to provide emergency response coordination as well as specific technical support in declared emergencies. Deployments can also be sought exceptionally in other situations that are being considered for an emergency declaration or based on corporate priorities, as decided by the DESS Director.
2. Emergency Rosters (managed by DESS)
Deployment within (hours)
Roster commitment period (months)
Deployment duration (months)
Emergency Response Team (ERT)
Contains all profiles
Roster members participate in the Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM)
Senior Corporate Emergency Roster (SCER)
Profiles include emergency coordination, managerial functions
2 with possibility to extend
Participation in the Senior Emergency Leadership Programme (SELP)
3. Emergency Functional Rosters (managed jointly by DESS & the Divisions)
Emergency Functional Roster
Jointly managed by
Related profiles and trainings
Deployed within (hours)
Commitment period (months)
Deployment duration (months)
DESS and Global Data Service (GDS)
Training of Information Management in Emergencies (TIME)
DESS and Partnership and Coordination Service (PCS) and clusters
Protection, CCCM, and Shelter Coordination
Interagency Coordination Course (IACC)
DESS and GDS
Registration, Operational Data Management (ODM)
Emergency Registration Learning Programme (ERLP)
Advice to request an emergency deployment from UNHCR internal emergency deployment mechanisms listed above
Contact EPDPS/DESS. The request must be endorsed by the Representative and the Regional Bureau, and accompanied by the following:
An official request by email, containing the following information:
The budget code for travel and DSA: UNHCR internal Staff (ABOD), or International United Nations Volunteer (OPS)
The TORs should include clear reporting lines (name of supervisor) and concrete deliverables.
On request, DESS can provide generic or specific TORs for certain functions to be adapted for the operational context.
An existing welcome package for new staff or a one pager on useful information on the following:
Description of working conditions (availability of laptops and communication equipment, vehicles, internet access, etc.)
Description of living conditions (accommodation, electricity, food, water, etc.)
The DSA and travel costsof UNHCR internal emergency roster members are covered by the requesting operation.
Staff on the ERT, Emergency Functional Rosters or SCER rosters, as well as DESS Surge Team members are mobilized within 72 hours after receiving the official travel instructions from DESS, if visa is not required.
When contemplating to request emergency deployees, ensure to provide required administrative support, such as office space, equipment, and accommodation, etc.
Plan from the onset for mid/longer term staffing needs.
Post emergency phase
While operations may request deployments from internal or external deployment schemes at any time during which they are covered by an emergency declaration (L1, L2 or L3), emergency operations are required to look at sustainable staffing options from the start, and to think about the medium- and longer-term staffing plans.