Minutes of the Host Families
Assistance Co-ordination Meeting
1.Updates on ongoing distributions
Updates by agencies:
UNHCR’s distribution of firewood was completed on 28 February. DRC’s second distribution for disabled IDPs in 249 families in Kumanovo and Lipkovo area is ongoing and will be completed by the end of the next week.
IFRC is finalising the distribution plan for the second hand clothing from the Swedish Red Cross, which will cover some 8,000 persons. Distribution to IDPs, refugees and social cases is planned within the next 10 days through MRC branches and the "Nase Dete" warehouse in Skopje. The gap in winter clothes needs will therefore be filled by IFRC/Swedish Red Cross.
IFRC will take-over distribution of IDP and HF hygiene parcels from ARC in March and April, applying the same standards as ARC (1 parcel for 1-4 IDPs; 2 for 5-8 IDPs; 3 for 9-12 IDPs). The March distribution lists have been prepared. Distribution will start next week in Skopje and will continue countrywide through MRC branches.
ARC will continue distributing hygiene and baby parcels for IDPs in CCs. March distribution is scheduled to start next week. In May, ARC will take over the hygiene parcels distribution back from IFRC. Hygiene and baby parcel needs are fully covered until July. ARC is purchasing 12,000 hygiene and 2,200 baby parcels through OFDA funds to cover the programme until July, including up to 10,000 hygiene parcels that will probably be kept as contingency stock.
EU/EAR cash assistance programme is underway. HF will receive € 75 for each month in which they hosted IDPs. January and February figures include 3,133 HF, of which 2,715 hosted more than 1 IDP. The first instalment, covering January – March, will be effected in April through the Post Office.
German Caritas is interested in covering potential gaps in hygiene parcel distribution after July 2002. Meanwhile, it is considering distribution of bed sheets and blankets for IDPs in CCs. Issue will be followed up with UNHCR.
DRC plans to continue distributing diapers to CCs. Final confirmation for April is expected from the donor soon.
DRC has completed a survey of 93 families including IDPs in CCs, HF and returnees, regarding ways to facilitate return and enhance confidence-building measures. Initial findings indicate that IDPs in CCs are the most vulnerable group; that assistance to HF has lately been scarce; that reconstruction of homes is an urgent need of IDPs in HF; that an obstacle for return is the lack of employment and income; and that returnees in mixed ethnic areas do not experience significant inter-ethnic problems. The summary report will be shared after it is finalised. The Chair mentioned that UNHCR is working on a ‘return matrix’ and noted that information from the DRC survey should be incorporated.
3.Future of the working group
On the proposal by the Chair, agencies agreed that the HF sector group will stop meeting. Issues of concern will be addressed in the regional (Tetovo, Skopje and Kumanovo) and other sector coordination meetings and information sharing mechanisms. OCHA will continue to maintain the matrix on HF non-food assistance and if indicated by the agencies, will call for ad hoc meetings to discuss issues of particular importance.
The Chair briefed the group on the successful outcome of the 12 March Donor Conference, in which € 307 million was pledged against the € 256 million requested for the macro financial support, costs of the implementation of the Framework Agreement and reconstruction. In addition, donors pledged € 271 million for general economic development assistance in 2002. The success of the Conference demonstrated the commitment of the international community to solidify the peace process that, as was mentioned at the Conference, is still not ‘irreversible’.
It is hoped that the € 271 million pledged in the Donors Conference for economic development will address unemployment and economic issues which will be discussed by the new Economic Recovery / Small Businesses sector group that is being established within the Transition Framework. The Group will be temporary lead by Mercy Corps.
The Chair also noted that the UN Country Team is currently updating the contingency plan, taking into consideration NGOs contingency stocks too.