Why was REACH created?
In contexts as volatile and dynamic as those that characterise natural disasters and complex emergencies, access to high quality and rapid information is a critical pre-condition for effective aid delivery. Unfortunately, recent crisis have exposed the continued shortcomings by the humanitarian community in its capacity to rapidly gather and effectively use information on the key needs and priorities of affected populations. Such shortcomings are largely due to the lack of dedicated interagency resources for the collection, analysis and dissemination of key information that add value to coordination and planning.
If not informed by qualitative data, aid planning and targeting can be highly ineffective.
In recent years, significant steps have been taken towards establishing interagency aid coordination structures that promote better information sharing and joint planning. In particular, the cluster and inter-cluster mechanisms were designed to improve humanitarian coordination at country and global levels. While this has improved the coordination, it has not resulted in the desired improvements to the amount of information or the ability to inform decision making, as dedicated resources and expertise is often still lacking.
As a result, post-emergency contexts are often characterised by significant gaps between availability and demand of data products that facilitate aid planning, targeting and coordination:
- The first gap concerns the emergency phase of a crisis, when availability of data is insufficient to meet demand. As data products become increasingly available, demand for them decreases as humanitarian actors increasingly focus on their operational priorities.
- The second gap takes place in the recovery and development phases, when availability of information products exceeds their demand. This could eventually lead to a decline in the supply of information products and in a resulting lack of preparedness once a new crisis occurs.
REACH was created in order to contribute to fill the above-mentioned gaps. In the aftermath of a crisis, REACH increases the rapid availability of information products that add value to the emergency response. In the recovery and development phases, REACH promotes the continued use of information products among aid stakeholders, increasing their demand.
REACH products include publications, reports, specialised tools, static and web maps, and are accessible through this website. In crisis where it is deployed, REACH also sets up information centres in order to facilitate access to maps and other information-products for field-based aid actors.