The speakers offered a brief overview of the Cluster approach and predicted that it would be the main coordination mechanism for the next five to ten years. Graham Saunders explained that IFRC had formally accepted the role of convener of the Emergency Shelter Cluster in response to natural disasters, jointly with the Cluster Lead role of UNHCR in the Emergency Shelter Cluster in response to conflicts.
A recent guidance note issued by IASC was presented, explaining their approach and agreements reached.
A call was made for more NGOs to attend the regular meetings in Geneva of the Emergency Shelter IASC Cluster.
The intention was expressed to take the Shelter Cluster more into the field, and invited the participants to describe what services they needed from the Emergency Shelter cluster, and where.
The speaker reported that the Early Recovery Cluster had progressed to considering itself more as a cross-cutting issue than as a sector. Consequently, the Early Recovery Cluster was working with each of the other clusters in turn. He pointed out that the Emergency Shelter Cluster was already familiar with early recovery needs.
The speaker recounted the history of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, which is led jointly by IOM and UNHCR. Other organisations attending the regular meetings included NRC, IRC, UNICEF, OCHA, Care Canada and Shelter Centre. The CCCM Cluster was presented as cross-cutting and complementary to other clusters, and so the key concepts which had recently been drafted were being circulated amongst other clusters. The CCCM Cluster had already produced a CD-ROM, was employing staff, and was training practitioners. The Cluster wished to become operational at field level, and to increase its capacity to support mapping.
The speaker, Atle Soberg, emphasised the cross-cutting nature of the Protection Cluster, describing how the field cluster coordination lead should was decided on a case by case basis: he noted that in Pakistan in 2005, UNICEF had taken on the role.
He reported how the Protection Cluster was producing a handbook which would define protection and hopefully be useful to actors in all sectors. The Cluster was also working on a needs analysis framework, a gap analysis tool, and a gender handbook.
The Protection Cluster was building response capacity by developing field training, and standby capacity of high level protection officers.
Digitally, a CD-ROM of policy documents and standards and tools had been produced and a web site will follow.
Atle Soberg concluded by expressing the intention of the Protection Cluster to engage more with operations in the field.
The speaker explained how the name and the role of the WASH Cluster had changed when public health considerations were integrated with water and sanitation considerations. She listed many organisations attending the regular Cluster meetings, and noted that the work of the Cluster was advanced because a similar coordination mechanism had existed previously.
She described how the organisations participating in the development of the WASH Cluster met every three or four months for a workshop, and teleconferenced more often. The WASH Cluster liased with other clusters on the challenges such as information management, and was interested in engaging with relevant initiatives, such as for the revision of `Shelter after Disaster: Guidelines for Assistance` (UNDRO, 1982) and the development of the plastic sheeting booklet presented earlier.