This article has been originally published at Crown Agents.
For many years it has been clear that driving localisation is the way forward to transform humanitarian response and meet the needs of those most affected by crises. The Grand Bargain, developed at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, cemented commitments by getting global buy in to put meaningful localisation at the top of the agenda. Key elements included the allocation of 25% of global humanitarian funding to local humanitarian responders by the end of 2020, the removal of barriers to meaningful partnerships, and the increase in multi-year humanitarian funding. Since then, the international development community has been encouraged to work together with local actors, supporting their role as decision-makers and implementers of solutions impacting their country.
With 3 years passed, are we closer to meeting these goals? Disaster Risk Management Officer, Nao Tokavou, of The Pacific Community has reported that localisation is currently being embraced in at least 15 countries across the Pacific. So, what does this look like on the ground? The Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Programme Facility (HARP-F) is an ambitious, DFID-funded, Crown Agents-delivered, project based in Myanmar. Designed to provide both emergency relief AND build the strength and resilience of local communities, it offers insight into how effective local action can be in relief operations, as well as the challenges the sector faces in meeting the localisation agenda.
Myanmar exists in a state of protracted crisis, with long-term conflict and climate change effecting multiple regions of the country. HARP-F aims to meet the needs of newly displaced peoples and those in remote areas. Simultaneously, it seeks to address the long-term drivers of these needs, to reduce the vulnerability of affected populations and increase their ability to withstand emergencies, at a community level. This work is done by partnering with a network of national actors who not only have in-depth knowledge of local communities and relationships with authorities, but are ideally placed to assist in the hard-to-reach areas of the country.
‘Partnering for Resilience’ is run as part of HARP-F’s drive for collaboration. Overcoming preconceptions that development and humanitarian work should be separated, this programme works across the development-humanitarian peace nexus to tap into the under-used capacity of development actors in the area, for humanitarian response. The programme works with the DFID supported, Access to Health and LIFT fund’s local grant partners – many of whom are civil society organisations – to participate in resilience training. This helps them better prepare themselves to respond to emergency situations, and enables for faster, more locally driven responses.