|07USEUBRUSSELS1120||2007-04-02 15:46:00||UNCLASSIFIED||USEU Brussels|
VZCZCXYZ0084 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHBS #1120/01 0921546 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 021546Z APR 07 FM USEU BRUSSELS TO SECSTATE WASHDC
UNCLAS USEU BRUSSELS 001120
1. (U) PRM Policy Team Leader and USEU RefAssistant visited
the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
(CRED) at the University of Louvain in Brussels on March 21
to monitor the continued development and global expansion of
the Complex Emergencies Database (CE-DAT) to provide key
nutritional, health and mortality indicators for all
populations affected by conflicts and other complex
emergencies (Agreement SPRMCO6GR067). At roughly the
project,s mid-point, the monitoring visit found that CRED
has made significant progress toward meeting agreed
objectives and indicators, demonstrating strong performance
on activities that are key to the Department,s ability to
assess humanitarian impact.
2. (U) PRM Policy Team Leader and USEU RefAssistant discussed
the CE-DAT project with CRED,s Director, Debarati Guha
Sapir, as well as research fellows Olivier Degomme and Chiara
Altare. Other CRED staff, including Information Technology
programmer Alexander Diaz, as well as Khassoum Diallo and
Sakura Atsumi of UNHCR,s Field Information and Coordination
Support Section joined an informal luncheon.
3. (U) CRED demonstrated significant progress ) already
meeting or exceeding some targets ) toward the first
objective of the CE-DAT project: To increase the quantity of
CE-DAT data available to the international humanitarian
Indicator 1.1: An increase of at least 50% from the current
number of survey data points included in CE-DAT.
Results to date: The target of 9,750 records has already been
exceeded. As of March 19, CE-DAT included 11,369 data points
from 1,625 surveys. CRED staff attributed this success to
their strong collaboration with nongovernmental organizations
Indicator 1.2: Geo-reference data provided for at least 70%
of survey records.
Results to date: Geo-referencing has become standard for all
data (100%) in CE-DAT; CRED staff demonstrated how data is
referenced to various administrative divisions within
countries (e.g., provinces, districts, cities, camps).
However, CRED continues to grapple with a common problem in
geo-referencing: how to reflect changes in administrative
divisions that occur in countries undergoing or emerging from
conflict, such as Afghanistan and Sudan.
Indicator 1.3: At least one contextual information item
included for every new record.
Results to date: Progress is needed on this indicator.
Although lots of contextual information is available in the
surveys collected, CRED has found it difficult to include
this data in CE-DAT in a standardized way. CRED plans to
seek solutions to this challenge during a meeting of its
experts, working group in April.
Indicator 1.4: 100% of new CE-DAT entries archived at
Recipient,s office in paper or electronic format.
Results to date: 100% of new CE-DAT entries have been
archived in paper format, including those that have been
received electronically. CRED,s policy is to archive all
entries @nd electronic format (thee). CRED staff recognil previous years of the
some entries were arc@s, which may have
change The project is on track tctive:
To improve thed data in CE-DAT.
Ind Emergencies Data Networth at least five memorandaed.
Results to date: Cd`paQso collaborating closely and in the process of negotiating
MOUs with GOAL, MSF-Belgium, MSF-Holand, and Action Contre
la Faim. While CRED as pursued MOUs for the purpose of
long-term Qnstitutional commitment to data sharing, it has
found that the existence of an MOU carries ittle implication
for the amount of data receQved from an NGO. Some NGOs have
provided sigificant amounts of data while hesitating to sign
an MOU for reasons of "independence." CRED,s ongoing
collaboration with UNHCR was evidenced by UNHCR staff,s
presence during our visit.
Indicator 2.2: Guidelines for reporting data designed and
distributed to all members of CEDN.
Results to date: Guidelines for reporting have not been
developed, but will be discussed at the expert working group
meeting in April.
Indicator 2.3: Promptness of data availability increase with
a turnaround for data inquiries of 24 hours minimum and 15
Results to date: Anecdotal evidence suggests that turnaround
for data-inquiries has been prompt; however, CE-DAT has no
mechanism to measure the amount of time between the request
for analysis and the response. CRED has recently added a tool
to track the time it takes to provide the data requested.
Indicator 2.4: Two technical and advisory meetings with
partners organized at project,s mid-point and at end of
Results to date: The first CE-DAT Technical Advisory Group
(TAG) meeting occurred in London in November 2006. The
second TAG meeting is planned for July 2007.
5. (U) The project has made some progress toward its third
objective: To develop decision support products and tools.
However, further efforts will be needed to achieve targets in
Indicator 3.1: Partner capacities improved through
Recipient,s participation in at least eight discussions and
four technical meetings.
Results to date: CRED has participated in several technical
discussions with partners, and has formed an Expert Working
Group to address technical issues and improve partner
capacities. For example, CRED met with Action Against
Hunger-UK to discuss its Hunger Watch initiative. The Expert
Working Group will meet in April 2007. CRED is in the
process of redeveloping the CE-DAT website to add a new
function and applications devoted to the CEDN that would
include discussion groups.
Indicator 3.2: At least six reports or briefs prepared and
Results to date: CRED produced and disseminated a report on
The Democratic Republic of the Congo: A brief analysis of
anthropometric surveys from 2000-2006. It disseminated on
March 26 the first CE-DAT newsletter, which provided a useful
analysis of data from Afghanistan, and identified complex
emergencies where data is lacking. CRED has prepared three
briefs for PRM: 1) an update on crude mortality and global
acute malnutrition rates that exceed emergency thresholds; 2)
a short primer on CMR and GAM for a non-technical audience;
and 3) a brief analysis of available data for Palestinian
refugees in the West Bank and Gaza. CRED is currently
preparing a brief on Iraq at the request of the UN,s Deputy
Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Indicator 3.3: A report on baselines, thresholds and
reference values prepared and disseminated to the CEDN.
Results to date: The project has produced a preliminary
analysis of baseline data on mortality rates for children
under five in several countries.
Indicator 3.4: Four risk maps created and made available on
the CE-DAT website.
Results to date: Risk maps are not yet available. As part
of the redesign of the CE-DAT website, CRED plans to create
risk maps by linking data possibly via Google Earth. This
capability is under development.
6. (U) Overall, the CE-DAT project has made significant
progress toward its objectives. For the remainder of the
project period, providing tools and resources for the CEDN )
such as guidelines for reporting, technical meetings and
discussion groups ) should be a major area of focus for the
CRED team. The redesign of the CE-DAT website will also be
critical to achieving the project,s objectives, particularly
through online discussion groups and the creation of risk
maps. PRM Policy Team Leader pressed CRED to continue to
reach out to humanitarian partners on data sharing,
especially to increase its engagement with the International
Committee of the Red Cross. PRM also would like to see
greater collaboration between CRED and the UN,s Standing
Committee on Nutrition. CRED has effectively managed staff
turnover in its small team, including restoring electronic
files lost by the abrupt departure of its previous
Information Technology program officer. Communication
between CRED staff and PRM remains excellent.
7. (U) The CE-DAT project remains essential to the
Department,s ability to track and report on core indicators
of humanitarian assistance, as laid out in PRM,s FY08 Bureau
Performance Plan, the Department,s Performance
Accountability Report, and the new State-USAID framework of
foreign assistance. It is also a key tool in the Office of
Management and Budget,s 2007 Program Assessment Rating Tool
(PART) review of PRM,s assistance to refugees. While
refugee health is the most immediate cross-cutting policy
goal that it addresses, CE-DAT serves a broader function of
building the international humanitarian community,s capacity
to use reliable, timely evidence in decisions about
intervention policies, program design and resource allocation.