Problem: lack of coordination in humanitarian pre-positioning
Pre-positioning relief items is a preparedness measure set up by many humanitarian organisations all over the globe. Pre-positioning helps to be better prepared to respond to natural or man-made disasters, improving the overall speed, quality and efficiency of humanitarian responses. When a disaster strikes, the implementation of coordinated and effective pre-positioning reduces the time and costs required to transport relevant relief items where they are needed the most.
However, pre-positioning is still very much done in silo, with organisations activating separate strategies. Due to a lack of communication, coordination and a common objective, humanitarian organisations and agencies often do not take into consideration what other actors around them might already be storing, nor where.
As a result, there is little overall coherence regarding which core relief items are stored, in which locations and in which quantities. This lack of coordination and coherence becomes apparent during the response phase of an emergency. In some cases, relief items are not enough to cover the needs of the affected people; conversely, there might also be an excess of certain items. In other cases, paradoxically, items are not stored in the most appropriate location, which prevents the very measure of pre-positioning from effectively making a difference in an emergency response. In this last scenario, humanitarian actors still have to make considerable efforts to transport available items where they are in fact needed, with little impact on potential improvements in terms of time and cost efficiency.
ESUPS tackles this lack of coordination and coherence: the project objective is to support the definition of national and regional coordinated pre-positioning strategies. These will lead to increase time and cost effectiveness in stock delivery during emergencies.
To achieve this objective, ESUPS is developing STOCKHOLM platform, a visual pre-positioned stock mapping and analysis tool. STOCKHOLM stands for STOCK of Humanitarian Organisations Logistics Mapping. The name refers to the Swedish capital, composed of 14 separate islands (representing humanitarian actors working in silo when it comes to pre-positioning), which are linked through over 50 bridges (reinforcing the overall ideas of exchange, connection and collaboration that drive the ESUPS project).
The STOCKHOLM platform will offer stockholders access to a visual representation of pre-positioned core relief items. Users will be able to filter stock data based on country, province, or any other cross-geographical area; stock data will also be filtered by organisation holding the stock, cluster, and item. In parallel, ESUPS and its academic partners are carrying out studies to demonstrate the value of collaborative pre-positioning practices.
ESUPS stock analysis focuses on a set of critical relief items: blankets, clothes, kitchen sets, ropes, shelter kits, sleeping mats, tarpaulins, tents, lamps and lanterns, winterization kits (Shelter cluster); buckets, hygiene and dignity kits, water containers, water purification tablets, sanitation (WASH cluster); diarrheal disease kits, mosquito nets, safe delivery bags, personal protection equipment (Health cluster); individual educational material, school/play kits (Education cluster).
ESUPS supports the definition of coordinated, coherent and collective strategies for the pre-positioning of emergency supplies, at national and regional level. This ensures that the humanitarian community has the right relief items, in the right quantities and in the right locations. In addition, such collective pre-positioning strategies help to avoid or minimise duplication and gaps in emergency supplies. Ultimately, this measure facilitates the timely and efficient dispatch and replenishment of humanitarian stocks.
Through evidence and research-backed advocacy work, ESUPS promotes the collaborative practices of loan-borrowing, data sharing and branding postponement.
The project supports a logistics localisation agenda, in line with the actions that the humanitarian community worldwide committed to during the World Humanitarian Summit. In particular, ESUPS relates directly to some of the Core Commitments which are part of the round table on “Natural disasters and climate change: managing risks & crises differently“ (Core Commitment 2, 3 and 5).
ESUPS aims to contribute to fulfill these commitments by providing tools and information to local authorities holding decision-making power. These will enhance their essential role in delivering assistance during humanitarian response operations.
Finally, we strive to ensure that donors funds are used more efficiently by improving stock-related preparedness measures.