Funding to local humanitarian actors: evidence from Somalia and South Sudan

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The localisation commitments within the Grand Bargain, signed in May 2016, are one of the major achievements of the World Humanitarian Summit, with the potential to drive truly transformative change across the humanitarian system. There are now 59 signatories to the Grand Bargain; of the ten
workstreams, workstream two – commonly known as ‘localisation’ – commits donors and aid organisations to provide 25% of global humanitarian funding to local and national responders ‘as directly as possible’ by 2020, along with more unrestricted money and increased multi-year funding.

 

Overall progress towards the Grand Bargain commitments is uneven and difficult to assess. The latest annual independent monitoring of the Grand Bargain notes that maintaining momentum and reinvigorating it where it is faltering will require political commitment, streamlining and prioritisation of commitments and, crucially, better monitoring and analysis of progress and challenges (Metcalfe-Hough et al., 2018). Measuring progress is noted as a barrier: ‘in the absence of consistent reporting by signatories against the target it is difficult to determine whether [progress reported] represents a significant change’ (ibid.). Despite making an explicit commitment to measure progress in meeting the 25% commitment, and clear recommendations on how to monitor progress, no measurement of the baseline or progress against it has taken place.

 

This study, commissioned by NEAR, is an attempt to build the evidence base from a crisis perspective. It aims to explore alternative approaches to tracking funding dimensions of localisation, in order to complement global estimates such as the Global Humanitarian Assistance report, which shows funding provided to local and national responders directly and through one intermediary accounted for 3.6% ($736 million) of total international humanitarian assistance reported to FTS in 2017.

Barnaby Willitts-King

Barnaby Willitts-King's current research focuses on humanitarian financing, the foreign policy and decision making of both DAC and rising donors including the UK and China, and the role of emerging actors such as the private sector and regional organisations. He has worked in humanitarian action for over 19 years, including for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Save the Children, and as a consultant to international agencies including the World Food Programme, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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