About the Logistics Cluster

Background

The cluster approach was adopted in 2005 to address consistent gaps and weaknesses and to improve international responses to humanitarian crisis. It is a means to strengthen response capacity, coordination and accountability by enhancing partnerships in key sectors, and by formalising the lead role of particular organisations in each of the following sectors: WASH, Shelter, Protection, Nutrition, Health, Food Security, Emergency Telecommunications, Education, Early Recovery, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Logistics.

Clusters are groups of organisations and other stakeholders designated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), and committed to commonly address humanitarian needs in each of the aforementioned specific sectors. The Emergency Relief Coordinator can activate one or more clusters when there exists response and coordination gaps in addressing humanitarian needs, and the existing national response or coordination capacity is unable to meet needs in a manner that respects humanitarian principles. The de-activation of clusters may be considered when at least one of the reasons for its activation is no longer present.

The Logistics Cluster

The Logistics Cluster is a coordination mechanism responsible for coordination, information management, and, where necessary, logistics service provision to ensure an effective and efficient logistics response takes place in humanitarian emergency missions. Due to its expertise in the field of humanitarian logistics, the UN World Food Programme was chosen by the IASC to be the lead agency for the Logistics Cluster. Where there are critical gaps in a humanitarian response, WFP, as the lead agency, acts as a ‘provider of last resort’ by offering common logistics services.

The Global Logistics Cluster

Globally, the activities of the Logistics Cluster are driven by the Global Logistics Cluster, hosted by WFP in Rome, Italy. Its primary goal is to provide surge capacity to provide logistics support to the humanitarian community and to support the staff on the ground with operations assistance, information management, coordination support, training and the development of logistics tools:

Operations – Global Logistics Cluster Logisticians act as the focal point at the global level for Logistics Cluster operations, provide a concentration of logistics expertise, and regularly deploy in support of on-going activities or in response to sudden onset emergencies. Global Logistics Cluster Logistician support the activities of the Logistics Cluster by representing the Logistics Cluster in the field, facilitating coordination between humanitarian actors during emergencies, designing and managing logistics cluster activities, supporting deployed field staff and offering specific logistical support to specialised agencies.

Information Management (IM) – The primary role of Global Logistics Cluster IM staff is to serve as the communications link between field operations and the humanitarian community. They support field operations directly by providing surge capacity at the onset of an emergency, establishing guidance and maintaining global standards to ensure continuity across operations, and directly filling the position of field IM Officer where additional trained personnel are unavailable. The IM Officers ensure that high quality, timely, and accurate information products are disseminated through the Logistics Cluster website to support activities at both the field and global levels.

Coordination – A central focus of the Global Logistics Cluster is to act as a liaison between humanitarian actors, where logistics operations are concerned. To that end, Global Logistics Cluster staff organise and participate in a variety of inter-organisational forums, prepare and disseminate regular updates on Logistics Cluster activities to organisations, and participate in a variety of specialised working groups.

Training - In order to improve coordination between humanitarian actors in logistics, allow for better information sharing between organisations, and improve the ability of our partners to understand and access services offered by the Logistics Cluster, Global Logistics Cluster staff organise and facilitate multiple trainings each year including: Logistics Response Team (LRT) training, Stand-by Partner (SBP) training, and Logistics Emergency trainings for corporate partners.

Tools – The Logistics Cluster also works to develop tools aimed at improving the capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness of logistics response in emergencies. These tools represent the combined expertise of all Logistics Cluster partners, and are made available for the benefit of the humanitarian community via the Logistics Cluster website.

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