Findings on localisation and nexus

AuthorDirectorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) (European Commission), Landell Mills International
Final Evaluation Report: Part B- NRC Partnership Evaluation
9. Findings on localisation and nexus
Finding 14: The partners differ in their adoption of the localisation agenda. Whereas DG ECHO is actively
committed to localisation, NRC’s identity is bound in direct implementation.
Finding 15: The meeting point on the humanitarian development nexus is partners shared commitment to
increasing resilience in protracted crises and the pursuit of durable solutions. This and funding limitations within
DG ECHO are leading to increasing tripartite collaboration with DG DEVCO.
9.1. Local partner participation
The evaluation question asks about the extent to which the DG ECHO-NRC partnership contributes to
increasing local partners' meaningful participation in humanitarian response.
Under the localisation workstream of the Grand Bargain, DG ECHO is looking at how to make its own
internal processes more effective and efficient by stepping up cooperation with local partners. Increasing
financial support to local partners and developing their competencies for better preparedness, faster
response and resilience-building is seen as a way to improve delivery of humanitarian aid.164
In its self-report to the Interagency Standing Committee, DG ECHO noted a baseline of various actions
prior to the signing of the Grand Bargain. These included local capacity-building implemented through
DG ECHO Disaster Preparedness (DIPECHO) and EU Aid Volunteers; and Enhanced Response
Capacity (ERC) funding to build the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR) network of
southern/local NGOs.165 DG ECHO has also designed a localisation marker to measure progress towards
the global target.
DG ECHO is currently working out the policy and legal implications of trying to achieve a system of
humanitarian assistance that is locally led. The Humanitarian Aid Regulation limits DG ECHO to funding
UN/NGOs with headquarters in EU Member States, which acts as a barrier to direct funding of national
or local partners. An internal process has been initiated to assess what change is needed and DG ECHO
has been actively involved in discussions with various FPA partners to move towards a common vision
and integrated approach to localisation. Interviews indicated that change is already happening at country
level where several governments are revising their requirements for localisation and, for DG ECHO, this
means a complete rethinking of its role if the power balance is to be shifted to local level. To this end, DG
ECHO is supporting four projects looking at the challenges of supporting global coordination and enabling
local organisations to bring their own perspective.
DG ECHO is not alone in the challenge. An independent review of the Grand Bargain highlights the
definitional issues around localisation and the difficulty of identifying the desired end goal. Aid delivery
organisations are starting from different baselines and, for donors including the EU, there are legislative
and political constraints on their ability to provide funding more directly to local and national actors. DG
ECHO is mentioned in its endeavour to address the strategic challenge through investments in ‘system-
transforming initiatives.166
NRC has signed all the commitments under the Grand Bargain although it gives lower priority to
localisation compared with engagement in other workstreams. It advances the localisation agenda
through its work on Country Based Pooled Funds, internal policy on partners and capacity building
initiatives implemented by NORCAP.
164 DG ECHO Grand Bargain Factsheet ECHO/what/humanitarian-aid/grand-bargain_en
165 DG ECHO (Undated). DG ECHO Grand Bargain annual self-reporting exercise (presumed 2017/18)
166 Overseas Development Institute (2018) Grand Bargain annual independent report 2018. HPG

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