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Emergency standby partners are able to deploy Service Packages (set of equipment, usually supported by deployees to manage or install it).
The most frequently used Service Package is the ‘base camp', a fully equipped deep field staff accommodation and office solution, as interim solution until more sustainable solutions are identified.
The availability of a service package will depend on the standby partner’s funding as well as the availability of the required equipment and staffing.
Should you identify a need for a Service Package, contact the Emergency Preparedness, Deployments and Partnerships Section (EPDPS) in the Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) @ [email protected], keeping the Senior Occupational Safety Officer in copy.
In order to improve the efficiency and predictability of emergency response, UNHCR concluded a number of standby partnership agreements with Government agencies, NGOs, and private sector organizations whose specific expertise and capacity complement UNHCR's internal emergency and surge capacity. Emergency standby partners are organizations or entities that maintain a capacity of personnel or equipment on standby, which can be rapidly deployed upon request, to enhance UNHCR's capacity to respond to humanitarian crises. UNHCR's emergency standby partners offer two kinds of services: deployment of personnel and service packages.
A service package is a pre-defined set of operational support equipment that, upon request and mutual agreement between UNHCR and a standby partner. They often include the deployment of a dedicated support team that helps to set up the Service Package and train UNHCR staff on its use. Examples of Service Packages include light base camps, base camps, prefabricated facilities, accommodation and office space, as well as information and communications technology (ICT) modules.
The following entry covers Service Packages only. For more details on the deployment of standby personnel, please refer to the dedicated entry on standby partners available here.
Relevance for emergency operations
Service Packages can be requested from UNHCR’s emergency standby partners when UNHCR faces one of more of the following situations:
UNHCR lacks the capacity to provide a particular technical service;
The demand for a service exceeds the capacity of UNHCR's partners in the field;
UNHCR is unable to meet the demand for a service at short notice.
The availability of a service package will depend on the standby partner’s funding (taking into account the partner’s geographic or thematic priorities), as well as the availability of the required equipment and staffing. Additionally, while delivery timelines are outlined below, such Service Packages can often take longer to be delivered, depending on factors linked to operational contexts (availability of land, customs clearance process, building security fencing, etc.) or the partner’s capacity (availability of specific items).
A Service Package is a pre-defined set of operational support equipment that, upon request and mutual agreement between UNHCR emergency operation and a Standby Partner, is deployed to a country. Service Packages often include the deployment of a dedicated support team that helps to install the equipment and train UNHCR workforce on its use.
Service Packages usually consist of:
Light Base Camps: tented facilities to provide short–term and rudimentary working and living conditions in emergency operations (Lifespan: 2-8 weeks);
Base Camps: tented facilities of high quality that provide comprehensive offices and accommodation, including all necessary equipment and services; it can also serve as a transit centre (Life span: 3-12 months);
Prefabricated Facilities: to provide offices, accommodation, sanitary facilities, a kitchen, tools and equipment, water purification and distribution, power supply and distribution, etc. (Life span: 2-5 years).
Additionally, Service Packages can consist of:
Accommodation and office space as part of longer-term construction projects;
ICT modules, including systems to enhance connectivity for forcibly displaced and stateless people;
Civil or mechanical engineering modules;
Logistics support, including transport capacity, light vehicles, armoured vehicles, etc.
The legal framework for UNHCR’s collaboration with Standby Partners is the Emergency Standby Partnership Agreement that UNHCR has signed with each Standby Partner, covering the deployment of standby personnel and Service Packages. Support staff included in a Service Package deployment follows the same terms and conditions applying to Standby Partner deployees (as outlined in the Emergency Standby Partnership Agreement). The specific terms and conditions for a particular Service Package deployment should be indicated in a Service Package Letter of Agreement (LoA). The LoA concerning a specific Service Package is signed directly between the Standby Partner and the Country Office. Such contributions are recorded as in-kind contributions to UNHCR. The in-kind contribution related to the Service Package is recorded at field level as part of the Country Office’s Operations (OPS) budget, in coordination with the Division of External Relations (DER).
The following Emergency Standby Partners offer Service Packages to UNHCR operations:
Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA)
Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning of Norway (DCPEP)
German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW)
International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP): An informal umbrella organization for multinational cooperation between governmental emergency management agencies active in the field of humanitarian assistance. The IHP member agencies are: The Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC), Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB), The Luxembourg Rescue Services Agency (ASS Lux), Estonian Rescue Board (ERB), Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW).
To request Service Packages, contact UNHCR DESS Emergency Service (Emergency Preparedness, Deployments and Partnership Section / EPDPS – [email protected]) with the subject title “Request of Service Packages”, copying the Regional Bureau covering your operation and the Senior Occupational Safety Officer of the Division of Human Resources. Requests should contain the following information:
Type of Service Package required
Brief description of emergency situations in country (displacement numbers, affected people’s needs, UNHCR response)
Area, location and expected duration of the operation
A brief description of the UNHCR team on the ground
A description of safety and security issues
The required lead time for deployment
For the base camps specifically:
Number of staff (to be accommodated in the Base Camp)
Types of facilities: office, accommodation, electricity, etc; and
Need for security installations.
EPDPS/DESS contacts Standby Partners to seek their support. A Standby Partner who is interested to support may send a rapid technical field evaluation mission to the area concerned. If both an UNHCR operation and Partner agree, they proceed directly to transfer the Service Package. A Service package is formalized by a Letter of Agreement (LoA).
Service Package team members complete the same formalities and procedures as other individual standby partner deployees, except that Service Package teams may not be integrated in UNHCR's office structure and may have shorter deployments. Like individual deployees, service package team members may be accorded the status of ‘UN expert on mission' - this depends on the LoA.
Service Packages are usually delivered to the capital initially. The CO will have to provide logistical support, including customs clearance processes, to the standby partner in country in order to secure land and ensure security/fencing in the case of base camps, as well as internal transport to the location.
Post emergency phase
Service Packages such as base camps are usually deployed to provide support in the emergency phase, with a limited lifespan depending on weather conditions as well as wear and tear (from 2 weeks up to a year, as stated above). This capacity is deployed with the understanding that the Office will look at establishing more sustainable accommodation and/or office arrangements, should it be required. In exceptional circumstances, Service Packages can also consist in longer-term construction projects accommodation and office space in protracted crises contexts.