Local and national humanitarian actors are essential for effective humanitarian response.
November 21, 2016Delivery and Access
Local humanitarian actors are often the first responders when disaster strikes.
Local actors have the best understanding of the context and acceptance by the people in need of assistance and protection.Yet, despite recent developments - including the commitments made during the recent World Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain - local actors still only receive approximaitely 2% of all humanitarian funds. They also struggle to be treated as strategic and equal partners by international actors. On the other side, critics raise concerns over the inability of local actors to operate in a principled manner as well as fulfil due diligence and quality requirements.
Through field missions and partnerships, the STAIT works to identify concrete examples of how the comparative advantages of international, national, and local humanitarian actors have been optimised to strengthen humanitarian preparedness and response. The STAIT shares these examples and the practical steps that can be taken to bring local actors to the forefront of field operations across senior humanitarian leaders and practitioners.
“Localisation means better results and reaching more people sooner - for lasting effects”
In the STAIT webinar, As local and possible, as international as necessary: Practical Steps, the Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator (HC) in Pakistan; HC and First Assistant Secretary, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the Head of East Asia Country Support, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, outlined six important steps for strengthening the role of local actors that are applicable to most contexts:
Support activities that can be done locally by local actors. Advocate for international support towards local efforts, and ensure that international response complements rather than overwhelms local structures. Develop frameworks and establish agreements with local actors before disaster strikes, and provide long-term investment with ‘quality money’ to build sustainability.
Invest in local capacity. Train volunteers who are normally present in all contexts. Build a culture of volunteerism among communities and people at risk. Utilise staff secondments from international organisations to national organisations. This can help with the transfer of expertise and build experience in complying with detailed ‘international’ reporting requirements.
Invest in preparedness. Link to the risk reduction and response efforts of national and local actors. Actively support the development of coordinated contingency and disaster management plans among actors, including agreeing on pre-disaster Memorandum of Understanding between national, local, and international actors. Engage with established community disaster management committees for assessments and accountability, and put in place a strong monitoring system. This will help levels of trust in national and local actors to increase. Governments can agree on frameworks with other governments in advance of a crisis, by setting out a menu of support that can be provided when disaster strikes.
Include local actors as leaders in international humanitarian structures. Ensure national and local organisations are represented in Humanitarian Country Teams (HCT) and Inter-Cluster mechanisms. An example of this could be guaranteeing a number of seats. Support the prioritisation of local actors by humanitarian country-based pooled funds (CBPFs).
Ensure special consideration for women and other vulnerable groups. Pursue a deeper level of inclusivity with women and other vulnerable groups, to ensure that their voice and priorities are appropriately represented.
Engage the private sector. Work with private sector partners to identify what and how they can contribute to disaster preparedness and response, including how response actors and leaders can mobilise private sector resources and expertise. Consider developing a database of local businesses, their specialisation, stock, and ability - to deploy quickly to remote places.
Do you have any practical examples to share on localisation in field operations? Please email them to STAIT@un.org