Six major themes emerged from the presentation and discussion:
- Contexts where humanitarian space is limited or restricted offer particular opportunities for localization but carry additional risks. Draconian NGO legislation, restrictive visa regimes and other measures increase reliance on local partners. Mitigating the security consequences is crucial, including the development of risk-sharing rather than risk transfer approaches.
- Decentralization and simplification of the international humanitarian system is key to building trust and acceptance and ensuring adequate levels of engagement of local responders. Appropriate screening (due diligence) and mapping of local actors should be reinforced to fine-tune localization approaches.
- Country-Based Pooled Funds are powerful tools to reinforce partnership principles with local NGOs. Positive examples include the establishment of twinning arrangements between international and local humanitarian actors, the use of standardized allocation of overheads particularly for security costs, and the promotion of nexus approaches in support of local systems.
- Flexibility is more easily found at local levels. For instance, donors tend to be less risk-averse at the local level, and are more willing to find solutions regarding NGO registration, reporting etc.
- Deliberate knowledge sharing and inclusiveness are central to bringing local actors to the decision-making table. This includes making space for them in HCTs and CBPF boards, developing new ways of working, customizing institutional development that empowers local actors as leaders, rather than as implementing partners, and addressing time and resource constraints.
- Affected communities are an untapped resource. They should be further empowered to contribute to the humanitarian response. Localization should go beyond local NGOs and authorities and have a deeper connection to the population.
Finally, the discussion showed that HCs and HCTs are experimenting with a range of local solutions and are simplifying tools such as CBPFs to suit the realities on the ground. It would be important to codify and share these experiences in order to lighten the administrative and coordination burden in other contexts.