Pathways to Localisation: A framework towards locally led humanitarian response in partnership-based action

Executive summary

The essential role of local and national actors in humanitarian response was highlighted at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016. The changes or transformations needed to enable local and national actors to take a greater leadership role in humanitarian action were outlined in all three major sets of commitments endorsed at the summit; Agenda for Humanity (2016), the Grand Bargain (2016), and the Charter for Change (2015).

Accelerating Localisation through Partnerships is a consortium programme of Christian Aid, CARE, Tearfund, ActionAid, CAFOD, Oxfam and guided by local and national actors in national steering committees. It is funded by the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) from late 2017 to 2019. This programme has built on existing work from the consortium aiming to strengthen the leadership of local and national actors in humanitarian action since 2012 through the Missed Opportunities5 series of work.

The Accelerating Localisation through Partnerships programme conducted research to identify a partnership model which consists of partnership practices that local/national actors believed to be most conducive to localisation4. This research consulted more than 350 organisations in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan – 85% of which were local and national organisations – and recommendations were identified, validated and piloted by consortium members and local partners. Learning from the pilot phase was collated with findings from capacity self-assessments of more than 100 local and national actors. The research, learning and findings from the programme informed the development of national localisation frameworks with contributions from local and national actors and other humanitarian stakeholders including international NGOs, UN agencies, donors, Red Cross/Crescent societies, and relevant government authorities.

The four national localisation frameworks are context-specific to the very different operating environments and humanitarian crises in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan. Notable differences between the four national localisation frameworks are outlined in this paper and reflect the diverse contexts; they diverge particularly in relation to the role of government authorities in localisation.

However, there are a number of priority actions and areas common across the four frameworks; many of which link closely to existing localisation commitments, frameworks, and indicators which are referenced. While the focus of Accelerating Localisation through Partnerships was partnership-based humanitarian action, the national localisation frameworks have gone beyond this. The key areas included in all four national localisation frameworks are outlined in the paper, along with objectives, priority actions, and potential indicators.

Pathways to Localisation, presents a synthesis of the common areas across the four national localisation frameworks in a Global Localisation Framework in two areas: 1) actions for partnership-based humanitarian action; and 2) actions for an enabling environment for localisation. Actions, and suggested indicators and results, outlined in the Global Localisation Framework are relevant for international NGOs, UN agencies, donor agencies, government authorities, and local and national actors. They reflect what more than 120 local/national actors and another 30 humanitarian stakeholders have highlighted as crucial for a shift towards localisation in their countries.

Humanitarian stakeholders are urged to review the Global Localisation Framework with a view to developing a workplan with an ambitious but realistic timeline to make measurable progress towards the objectives. This Global Localisation Framework presents easy to follow pathways to localisation. Now we must act.