Charter for Change: Localisation of Humanitarian Aid

Report
from Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
Published on 26 Aug 2015
preview

50 National NGOs urge international organisations to change the way they work

Fifty Southern-based national and local organisations such as Adeso (Kenya), EcoWEB (Philippines) Amel (Lebanon), Mercy Malaysia, Seeds (India) and Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA-Ethiopia) have endorsed the Charter for Change, an initiative that intends to practically shift the way the humanitarian system operates to enable southern-based national actors to play an increased and more prominent role in humanitarian response.

International NGOs (INGOs) are encouraged to play an active part in this shift towards a more locally-driven humanitarian system by changing the way that they work. The 8-point Charter for Change (C4C) outlines a number of commitments intended to strengthen the capacity of local actors, who are often the first to respond to disasters, increase transparency within the sector and emphasise the importance of national actors in humanitarian response.

It also calls on INGOs to increase direct humanitarian funding to southern-based organisations, a topic that has been discussed in great detail during the World Humanitarian Summit consultation process. The recent Global Humanitarian Assistance report stated that a mere 0.2% of humanitarian aid is channelled directly to national NGOs and Civil Society organisations. Alongside advocacy to governments which are humanitarian donors, those signed up to the charter have committed that by May 2018, two years after the World Humanitarian Summit which is being held in May 2016, they will pass on at least 20% of their own humanitarian funding directly to southern-based NGOs.

The Charter has already been signed by seven international organisations: CAFOD, Caritas Denmark, Caritas Norway, Christian Aid, Danish Church Aid, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe and Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe.

Regina Salvador-Antequisa, Executive Director of the Filipino NGO – EcoWEB hopes that more agencies will sign on; she said ‘We are calling on our international partners to be part of this movement. With or without disasters, local and national NGOs will always operate in the Philippines. We are able to provide greater knowledge of the context and have strong connections with community and government structures. However we often struggle to access necessary financial resources and the current system invests little in building sustainable capacity of local actors.

‘In seeking these changes, organisations that sign the Charter for Change are helping to put into practice the changes needed to achieve a more locally-driven humanitarian sector.’

Anne Street, Head of Humanitarian Policy at CAFOD which is spearheading the Charter, commented “The initiative grew out of the World Humanitarian Summit and the repeated calls during the consultations for the localisation of humanitarian assistance. Although there has been a welcomed focus on the need to localise humanitarian aid, little has been offered in the way of practical solutions that tackle the problem. As participants in the international humanitarian system, INGOs are in a privileged position to begin this change process and it is our hope that through the commitments outlined in the Charter we can move towards a more locally-rooted humanitarian system.’

The deadline for INGOs to sign the Charter is October 1st 2015, ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit Global Consultations, taking place in Geneva later that month.

To sign the Charter email admin@charter4change.org, further information can be found at www.charter4change.org.

Notes to Editor

A list or endorsing NNGOs can be found at http://charter4change.org/endorsements/, Any Southern-based National or Local Organisation working in the humanitarian sector can endorse the Charter, the process is open to all reflecting the ever expanding humanitarian ecosystem