Localisation in Coordination- Q&A

Manual and Guideline
Originally published


What is localization?

Page 22 of the WHS Report refers to a collective commitment to promote responses that are both “as local as possible” and “as international as necessary .” Localisation is a process in which the humanitarian response is re-configured to meet this collective commitment.

Two excellent summaries have also been prepared by ICVA and HPG:

SDC and Local2Global:

1. Does localization mean that the humanitarian response must be localized or locally-led?

Not necessarily. Localisation requires us to promote a humanitarian response that is as local as possible. Sometimes – where this is possible – the response should be locally led and locally delivered.

But there are many considerations that we have to take into account when determining what is possible. At times, local actors may be overwhelmed by the scale or complexity of the humanitarian crisis. There may also be issues related to technical and/or institutional capacity, access or resources.

There may also be other reasons why local actors are unable or unwilling to adhere to humanitarian principles (particularly if the actors are party to a conflict, are perpetrating human rights violations or are compromised by their (perceived or actual) political or other affiliations. In these cases, the international community would respond – as much as necessary.

At all times, however, local and international actors should all continuously review their involvement and contributions, and ensure that they remain in line with the principle – as local as possible, as international as necessary.

We should also always bear in mind that that what is possible, or necessary, will likely change over time, depending on the context – such as when there are changes in capacity, access, and resource availability.