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Grand Bargain Annual Meeting 2020: A Joint Statement from NGO Networks

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With another Grand Bargain Annual Meeting and reporting cycle now complete, we would like to extend our congratulations to all signatories for their efforts to implement Grand Bargain commitments over the past year. Now as we enter the fifth year of implementation, the original commitments remain as relevant as ever. Even if the speed of implementation has not matched initial expectations, the Grand Bargain continues to drive improved impacts for affected women, men, and children.

Implications of COVID-19

The rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique challenge to the humanitarian system with the pandemic affecting all countries, and a truly global response required to combat its effects. Despite the significant challenges presented by COVID-19, the urgent response required also presents a critical opportunity to put into practice many of the commitments that are at the foundation of the Grand Bargain.

Measures currently being implemented in response to the needs arising from COVID-19, such as flexibility in partnership agreements and a renewed investment in localisation, have the potential to transition into longer term, standard practice. With increased need for global solidarity and the high degree of financial uncertainty globally, measures to improve trust among stakeholders and increase efficiency and effectiveness are more relevant and pressing than ever.

Good progress, and a need for further action

According to the 2019-2020 self-reports completed by signatories and the consolidated Grand Bargain independent annual report completed by ODI, good progress was made in the implementation of many commitments over the last year. However, along with this progress, NGOs also note the need to undertake further action to ensure Grand Bargain commitments result in practical, meaningful change in the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian operations.

With completion of the pilot work to test the 8+3 template for harmonized narrative reporting we now have a finalized reporting template that can be implemented by donors, UN agencies, and INGOs with their partners to reduce the burdens of narrative reporting and increase consistency in reporting requirements across humanitarian actors. Eight donors and UN agencies are now using the template or in the process of rolling it out.

  • NGO colleagues call on donors and UN agencies to make full use of the completed 8+3 template and supporting materials in fulfillment of the commitment to harmonize narrative reporting.

  • NGOs will seek to expand use the 8+3 template in partnerships between INGOs and our local and national partners to reduce burdens.

Efforts to push forward with quality funding measures to increase flexibility and expand multi-year funding picked up speed in 2019. The need for flexibility in funding has also emerged as a critical issue in COVID-19 response. It is vital that donors and UN agencies work closely with NGO partners to move from dialogue to the development and application of practical tools to improve access to quality funding in the field.

  • NGOs call for further efforts to ensure that flexibility arrangements are cascaded through the humanitarian funding chain.

  • NGOs commit to transferring flexibility to our own partners, and to using our own independent funding in flexible ways.

  • NGOs also call on donors to address blockages in funding and to ensure that money reaches frontline workers as directly as possible.