At the World Humanitarian Summit and the ensuing Agenda for Humanity, stakeholders committed to reinforce – not replace – national and local systems (Transformation 4A) and invest in local capacities (Transformation 5A). This is often referred to as the localization agenda. Since self-reporting against the Agenda for Humanity began three years ago, Transformation 4A (reinforce local systems) has consistently resulted in the highest number of stakeholder selfreports. In 2018, self-reports on 4A and 5A focused on the following four areas:
• a growing use of cash transfers as a preferred modality for humanitarian aid where appropriate, because cash enables affected communities to have greater options for how they prioritize their own response and recovery needs;
• increasing efforts to put affected populations at the centre, including by strengthened actions to adhere to the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability and improved complaint response mechanism modalities;
• increased investment in strengthening the capacities of local and national actors; and
• the growing use by donors of Country-Based Pooled Funds as an effective modality to channel funds to national and local front-line responders.
Some of the continuing challenges that prevented faster progress towards the goals of 4A and 5A included donor financing modalities that were not always conducive to facilitating localization, as well as insufficient multi-year funding, insufficient funding for long-term organizational strengthening and for core costs of local actors, and insufficient funding for preparedness. Other challenges included the growing climate of risk aversion associated with compliance, counterterrorism, sanctions and zero tolerance to fraud, which created high entry barriers for local actors to access funding.
To build on areas of progress and mitigate current challenges, this paper recommends a shift towards more flexible funding modalities, an early and open dialogue about risk management and risk tolerance, incentives by donors so their partners accelerate localization, increased investment in pooled funds, and better communication on international commitments between headquarters and country offices.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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