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Cablegate: Possible Funding Implications of Humanitarian Agencies Plan

VZCZCXRO0103
PP RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA
RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0481/01 2991433
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261433Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7360
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000481

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/C, S/USSES, AND PRM/AFR
USAID FOR OFDA
KHARTOUM FOR OFDA
NSC FOR GAVIN
LONDON FOR POL - LORD
PARIS FOR POL - KANEDA
ADDIS ABABA FOR AU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL PHUM SU CD
SUBJECT: POSSIBLE FUNDING IMPLICATIONS OF HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES PLAN
TO RELOCATE PROGRAMTIC FUNCTIONS FROM ABECHE

1. (U) This is an USAID/OFDA reporting cable drafted by
OFDA/Khartoum TDY Oumar M'Bareck and OFDA/Washington TDY George
Siasoco. Post thanks OFDA for their close collaboration during this
visit.

- - - -
SUMMARY
- - - -

2. (SBU) OFDA discussions in N'Djamena and Abeche with humanitarian
international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) indicates a broad intention of many organizations to relocate
programmatic functions out of Abeche -- long the hub of humanitarian
activities in Eastern Chad -- and into the capital, N'Djamena. The
relocation is motivated by (a) the joint USG-ECHO donor mission to
Chad in early 2009, which recommended that IOs (particularly UNHCR)
reorganize to improve field capabilities and coordination from
headquarters; (b) the increasing burden placed on Abeche and its
population of a growing mass of humanitarian and MINURCAT
functionaries; and (c) the growing threat of increased criminality
that this community and its activities seems to catalyze. Although
the planned moves of several large organizations that receive
significant USG financing may have funding and program implications,
most entities report that they do not yet have a clear plan for
operations, and preparations remain ongoing. END SUMMARY.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ABECHE: THE END OF A STORY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (SBU) In a mid-October meeting with USAID's Office of U.S.
Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) representatives
confirmed that humanitarian agencies intend to relocate from Abeche,
Ouaddai Region in eastern Chad, to the Chadian capital N'Djamena to
support increased humanitarian coordination. Although the planned
move may have funding and program implications, OCHA reported that
planning remains ongoing.

4. (SBU) In a separate meeting on October 18, a representative from
non-governmental organization (NGO) Solidarites told USAID/OFDA
staff that NGOs in eastern Chad have decided to relocate from Abeche
to N'Djamena in early 2010. Solidarites noted active UN advocacy
supporting the move and hopes that a single coordination mechanism
based in N'Djamena would make humanitarian meetings more fruitful
and streamline humanitarian response operations. Solidarites staff
noted that several organizations are under-represented or not
represented at decision-making levels in Abeche, which complicates
attempts to finalize and implement action plans during Abeche
humanitarian meetings.

5. (SBU) In addition, USAID implementing partner Action Contre la
Faim (ACF) reported that only two NGOs have active programs around
Abeche area, and most agencies are using the town as logistic hub
rather than a programmatic center. Although ACF plans to maintain
its presence in Abeche, the organization appreciates that other
humanitarian aid agencies will move operations elsewhere. ACF
reported that humanitarian staff can access key project areas
including Goz Beida, Guereda, Iriba, and Bahai directly from
N'Djamena, aircraft availability permitting.

6. (SBU) Following a recent increase in banditry and attacks on
humanitarian staff and facilities in Abeche town, NGO and UN staff
are seeking ways to minimize incidents with relocation to the
capital, where they evidently believe international and local
protection mechanisms are superior. Abeche relief staff also note,
however, that the shift of humanitarian operations from Abeche may
have additional impacts, particularly because the city population
had doubled in the past few years due to job opportunities that the
humanitarian presence created. With the pending relocation of
programmatic humanitarian operations and staff, local support staff
and businesses will suffer heavily. Despite the current robust
humanitarian presence in Abeche, ACF and other NGOs commented that
the organizations have provided little support to the Abeche host
communities, in part because the majority of humanitarian efforts
focused on refugees and IDPs located in the volatile border region.
Despite a lack of direct humanitarian assistance, the local
population of Abeche has benefited significantly from a robust
market and local commerce supported by the aid agencies, and the

NDJAMENA 00000481 002 OF 002


move will leave a large gap in the local economy and markets.

7. (SBU) At recent meetings, staff from several UN agencies reported
that the decision for a wide-scale humanitarian relocation from
Abeche to N'Djamena has already been taken and relocation is
imminent. In a meeting with USAID/OFDA staff, an OCHA
representative downplayed the move's potential consequences on local
populations, and confirmed that OCHA and other UN cluster lead
agencies plan to reinforce their field presence as a supplement to
the move (NOTE: OCHA currently has sub-offices in Abeche, Goz Beida,
Koukou, and Farchana. END NOTE). In addition, the OCHA
representative viewed the move as an opportunity for humanitarian
agencies to utilize one holistic country team coordination mechanism
and better visibility on the country-wide needs in Chad.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -

8. (SBU) USAID/OFDA officers note that although many NGOs and UN
staff confirmed their intentions to relocate staff from Abeche, the
humanitarian community appears to have undertaken very little
planning for the operation. Although staff anticipate a complete
relocation by mid-2010, humanitarian actors currently remain unable
to provide financial implications or information for donors, or
projections of the overall consequences on the livelihoods,
population, and security of Abeche area.

9. (SBU) In addition, USAID/OFDA staff note the importance of
programmatic considerations and subsequent changes that the move
will require. For example, current UN Humanitarian Air Service
(UNHAS) operations include two daily flights to Abeche from
N'Djamena, moving cargo and humanitarian aid workers. Any
significant move or future changes should involve wide-scale
planning coordination with the host government, as well as consensus
from the international donor community and implementing partners
regarding new destinations, needs, and programs.

NIGRO

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