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Humanitarian Aid on the move # 19, special issue: Aid localisation

Localisation: moving from commitments to implementation
Kirsten Hagon

Key word: Point of view /

 Good practices around implementation

We are already seeing some innovative good practices from various Grand Bargain signatories.

For example, there has been some progress around accessibility of pooled funds to local and national actors and around support for capacity strengthening. A number of UN managed country-based pooled funds have specific windows for local and national actors. For example, in Nigeria there is a specific window for capacity building. The START network, a collaboration of INGOs and NNGOs, has developed its own pooled funds and there is discussion around an NNGO-led pooled fund. IFRC and ICRC have also established a new National Society Investment Alliance, devoted to long-term institutional capacity strengthening of National Societies.

There have been a number of initiatives undertaken by humanitarian coordination bodies at a global level and in the field, as well as some initiatives to enhance cooperation with government actors. The Global Cluster Coordination Group (GCCG) has a localization working group that is developing practical approaches to strengthen the participation of national civil society actors in coordination and reinforce collaboration with national authorities. UNICEF has recruited a dedicated localization focal point to support the UNICEF-led clusters and sub-clusters to improve their work with local actors.

In the Turkey-based humanitarian operation for Syria, OCHA has dedicated staff working on strengthening the participation of local NGOs in coordination and response. They have provided support to Syrian NGOs to facilitate their familiarity with humanitarian coordination, such as clusters, the HCT and on humanitarian principles, and supported the establishment of a Syrian NGO forum to promote coordination between Syrian NGOs as well as with bodies such as the HCT. Outreach by cluster coordinators and OCHA to Syrian NGOs has led to a high degree of participation in coordination, including the co-leadership by national NGOs of 3 clusters. Cluster meetings are held in Arabic or are translated using interpretation equipment purchased by OCHA and made available for all clusters.

Similarly, a number of national governments have implemented disaster laws in order to facilitate international disaster relief and clarify coordination structures and processes. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Guidelines for the Domestic Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance, which has so far inspired new laws and procedures in 30 countries. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are currently offering support to their authorities in developing similar law and procedures in 45 countries.

 Looking ahead – capturing good practice and developing guidance

The workstream workplan looks at identifying and capturing good practices and sharing what is found. The workstream supported a localization-focused interagency mission to Gaziantep, Turkey, to collect good practices, after which a webinar was held to discuss findings, and further such missions are planned. The workstream hopes to identify “demonstrator countries” and to undertake outreach to local actors, including governments, in particular through regional meetings. The workstream also aims to coordinate experience sharing and research in order to reach common understandings of how best to achieve localization goals, and to support the collaborative development of guidance on how to implement the commitments.


Kirsten Hagon Senior Analyst, Humanitarian Policy International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies