Revised Memorandum of Understanding - WFP and UNHCR
In 1985 UNHCR and WFP formally attempted to clarify their roles and responsibilities by drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU has undergone various revisions since then. The revisions have been made to "further clarify the division of programming and operational responsibilities".
The MOU has been revised again and came into effect as of the 31st March '97. It was presented to the donors at a meeting in March and appraised by everyone as a step forward in the collaboration between the 2 agencies . The idea behind this revision was to produce a more user-friendly version of the current MOU. Also, specific areas of collaboration have been clarified while WFP's involvement in critical steps of operational implementation has been reinforced.
Under the new terms of the agreement between the two agencies, WFP/UNHCR will jointly decide on the selection of implementing partners (Govemment or NGO) to undertake the distribution of the food commodities. Distribution modalities and reporting requirements will be the subject of a tripartite agreement between UNHCR, WFP and the implementing partner. Furthermore, in situations where UNHCR does not have the capacity, WFP may take over the responsibility of distribution, e.g. in non-camp situations or food for work programmes.
The importance of arriving at a reliable number of beneficiaries requiring WFP food assistance has been stressed. In the revised version, UNHCR and host govemment responsibility for ensuring that registration takes place is clearly indicated. In normal circumstances registration should take place within 3 months of the start of an emergency. In cases where registration is not possible, WFP and UNHCR will jointly agree on the number of beneficiaries requiring food assistance.
Under the new MOU, WFP will also be responsible for provision of high energy biscuits. This was previously a IJNHCR role. Greater commitment to the involvement and well-being of women has also been incorporated in many of the topics covered by the agreement, e.g. in assessment, food distribution and reporting.
The new MOU also stipulates that in order to improve co-ordination between agencies at country level, a joint plan of action should be signed between the two agencies' country offices which clearly defines and delineates the actions and steps to be undertaken by each agency during the implementation of the programme.
Available from Michele Morneau, Christine Van
Nieuwenhuyse at WFP, Via C. Colombo 426, 00145
Also available from Janak Upadhyay UNHCR/FSU
P.O. BOX 2500 ch-1211 Geneva 2 depot, Switzerland.
A version in French will be available soon.
Taken from Field Exchange Issue 1, May 1997