Humanitarian civil-military coordination is multi-faceted and evolving. The work ranges from on-site coordination of foreign military assets (FMA) in disaster relief, to access negotiation in conflict. Since the international disaster response community first created the United Nations Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (UN-CMCoord) function, it has adapted to the changing environment.
CMCoord traditionally coordinated the deployment of foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets (MCDA) in disaster response.
Governments increasingly deploy military forces as part of their international assistance to a natural disaster response. In addition, national armed forces are often relied upon as first responders in-country.
With multidimensional and integrated peace operations, CMCoord became an important interface between the humanitarian community and military components of UN and regional peacekeeping operations. “Attitudes of humanitarian civil-military coordinators are as important as knowledge and skills.” Josef Reiterer, Chief of OCHA’s Civil-Military Coordination Section (CMCS)
In different settings, the interaction between humanitarian and military actors ranges from close cooperation to sheer co-existence. Humanitarian-military dialogue at all levels is essential – and the basis for effective humanitarian action on the ground.
The UN-CMCoord Field Handbook is designed as a guide for CMCoord Officers and focal points in natural disasters and complex emergencies. The 2015 edition includes significant updates in comparison with the 2008 edition. It promotes common understanding and a coherent approach in a changing institutional framework and operational environment.