The roundtable on localisation agenda was led by The Humanitarian Leadership Academy and the NEAR Network and supported by Christian Aid, CAFOD, the British Red Cross and Shifting The Power initiative.
Many national and local NGOs receive funding for humanitarian response projects. These same organisations often struggle to receive funding for longer-term institutional strengthening and core capacity in peacetime, during disasters and in protracted crises. Sustained funding of national and local NGOs would equip the organisations to be better positioned to deliver responses when crises strike and be considered as primary grant holders in the future. This is a gap in the international funding architecture.
Furthermore, current barriers to the localisation of aid include legislation and regulation, perception and trust, the range of different interests and capacities of local actors, and often, a significant information gap.
As a result, the roundtable brought together a diverse group of influencers and decision makers from different pieces of the humanitarian jigsaw to come up with concrete actionable proposals to stimulate more funding for national and local NGO core capacities in peacetime and those working in protracted crises.
Outcomes of the roundtable session:
The roundtable discussions utilised a three P’s approach, working through the Problem, Practice and Policy.
Discussions included a diverse range of participants sharing examples where things had worked well and other examples of where there had been issues. The chairs ensured the focus was on concrete solutions and encouraged participants to ask themselves honest but difficult questions where appropriate.
The roundtable also addressed the importance of transparency and how humanitarian agencies should act in the best interests of beneficiaries.
Key matters also discussed included how stakeholders collectively maintained momentum in the localisation agenda, evidence of how and where localisation initiatives were successful and how stakeholders must hold each other to account for the achievements they have committed to.
Below is a summary of the recommendations that followed from the three sessions during the Localisation Agenda roundtable.
During the Problem and Practice sessions, numerous matters were discussed, some of which included the importance of domestic funding streams; the need to invest in coalitions, consortia and through networks to improve coordination and sustained capacity; and an encouragement for actors to work together to adopt common frameworks for assessing competencies and for staff salaries.
During the Policy session, the participants reviewed some of the most relevant recommendations that came out of the Wilton Park conference on localisation held in June 2017
New and Adapted Funding Mechanisms:Develop proposals for new and adapted funding mechanisms, to operate at national, regional or global levels, to support local organisations. These facilities should focus on enabling local organizations to promote community resilience by developing sustainably, including by strengthening their administrative systems, investing in sustainable core capacity between project cycles and improving governance and performance.
Support for overheads and core costs: Urge donors to adopt, as standard policy, provisions to ensure that local organisations implementing projects financed by contributions from donors, UN agencies and INGOs receive adequate overhead payments. Partnerships with these local organisations should include commitments to contribute towards their core costs, to ensure the quality of performance and the sustainability of the organizations.
Partnerships:Urge international NGOs to develop partnerships that support local and national organisations rather than seeking to ‘nationalise’ their own local offices in crisis-affected countries.
Harmonisation:Work together to develop and implement harmonised reporting systems, standardised registration and quality assurance mechanisms and transparent ways of measuring the progress of individual local organisations towards agreed benchmarks.