Localisation in Myanmar: Supporting and reinforcing Myanmar actors [EN/MY]



1. Purpose

This report explores the question of whether and how to support [further] localisation in the current conditions in Myanmar, which are assumed to remain similar for the next few years. It does this primarily from the perspective of international aid actors who, through their funding, hold much power over Myanmar actors. But it also speaks to what Myanmar actors need to do or do more of. Ihe report addresses questions such as: What do we understand by ‘localisation’? Why should we see this as an objective globally and in Myanmar specifically? What does it mean in practice, for example regarding funding, capacities, standards, risks, coordination, and political positioning? It provides recommendations for actions, based on clearer reflection on the why and how of localisation.

2. Target audience

Its target audience are all international and national/local actors responding to the crises in Myanmar today. This includes donors, the UN agencies, the Red Cross agencies, international NGOs [INGO] and the different Myanmar actors. Most international actors operating in Myanmar have formally subscribed to the Grand Bargain commitments. While focused on humanitarian action, their intention equally applies to development and peace actors. Turning these into practice is a collective responsibility.

3. Sources

The report draws on several sources: A ‘state of localisation in Myanmar’ assessment, itself drawing on relevant documents and interviews conducted in late 2020': a 2021 review of how the Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Facility [HARP-F] put the localisation commitment into practice; other reviews commissioned and reflective webinars hosted by the HARP-F in 2021 and 2022; short conversations with other funding instruments that continue to operate in Myanmar, notably the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF], Access to Health ([A2H}; LIFT (Livelinood and Food Security Fund) and the Nexus Response Mechanism [NRM]; earlier and other work by RAFT Myanmar and the Global Mentoring Initiative [GMI] in Myanmar; and GMI's involvement in global work on localisation and programming in volatile environments, and what is being learned from that.

4. Limitations and value

Due to the challenges of the current context in Myanmar, primary research for this study was conducted remotely. Shorter online interviews cannot substitute for observing meetings, actions in progress and being present to speak both formally and informally with many more people than those deemed ‘key informants’. The report cannot have the in-depth and up-to-date insights that agencies operating in Myanmar will have. Its value lies in its comprehensive perspective on localisation and the connection with a wider learning that is relevant for it. Lack of a comprehensive perspective can be one impediment for more intentional and collective action to turn the locatisation commitment into practice.

5. Structure of the report

The second section provides a very Summary picture of Myanmar as a protracted and currently deepening crisis. The third section situates the question of internationalisation or localisation at the strategic level and that of the collective of all responders. It appreciates the dilemmas all face in the current circumstances, and invites clarity about the why of localisation, what we mean with it, and what success would look like. section four examines how localisation is or must be turned into practice in key areas: the quality of collaboration, financing, capacities, and coordination. Section 5 presents recommendations to international actors but also to Myanmar CSOs. The report offers a systematic structure of reflection useful for all actors - and illustrates many aspects with references to the HARP-F practices, in text boxes. Recommendations appear in sections 3, 4 and 5 following the issue-specific reflections and findings. They are grouped together in a separate ‘summary’ document. Several are relatively short term - as localisation has been extensively discussed and researched for years now, and the current challenging situation in Myanmar has existed for 15 months already.