During the last week of June in a small room in WFP headquarters, loggies from different corners of the globe gathered for the once-yearly Logistics Cluster Coordinator Workshop.
With attendance spanning operations from South Sudan to Syria as well as HQ, facilitator Valentina Signori said the workshop’s purpose was to provide a platform to discuss operational concerns, exchange ideas, and importantly, help one another with identifying solutions.
“Bringing all the coordinators together in the same room means you can really delve into best practices and possible solutions, and agree on standardised procedures to increase consistency across operations.”
What was on the agenda?
“A lot of discussions related to in-country dynamics,” said Valentina.
“One commonly recognised challenge was how we can ensure acceptable costs, efficient management and performance review of activities in a context where Logistics Cluster operations rely on services provided by cooperating partners - each with its own rules and procedures.
“To help with this, we agreed to develop a global template for costs and performance review. We will also engage in more regular discussion with partners in-country on the logistics gaps and needs in order to better understand when cluster services are no longer needed or have to be adjusted.”
Cluster coordinators and HQ staff discuss operational challenges and solutions. Photo: Alicia Stafford/Logistics Cluster
Building a network: from Juba to Rome
The annual workshop also offers an opportunity to build a common vision, and strengthen the network between country and the Global Logistics Cluster Support Team.
Cameron Kiss, Logistics Cluster Coordinator in Syria, commented: “I took away a wealth of local solutions, and a memory bank of ideas to manage complex customs clearance.”
Staff from the Global Support Team in HQ also appreciated the opportunity for exchange.
“We found ways of moving forward that simply couldn’t have been done without sitting in the same room with all these perspectives,” said Yuliya Petrova, Global Logistics Cluster Finance Officer.
Global Training Coordinator Andre Hermann chimed in, “In our role to assist field operations, meeting with our field colleagues is essential to better understand the needs. I feel that we’re not just a team - we’re a family.”