New evaluation of support to local actors in humanitarian crises

Local and national actors are the first to act in humanitarian crises and are also central in terms of long-term commitment. Yet they have been structurally marginalized by the international humanitarian system. At the World Humanitarian Summit 2016, Sweden, together with 66 other countries, signed the Grand Bargain. There, support was promised to local actors in the form of resources and support in leadership, delivery and capacity. But since then very little has changed.

Just over 1 percent of international humanitarian aid goes to local and national actors, compared to the 25 percent that was the goal. This despite the fact that increased influence from local actors over the design and implementation of responses would increase their effectiveness.

As Sweden continues to stress the importance of an effective international system for humanitarian assistance, and promotes localisation, it is important to know why progress has been weak in this particular area. This is why EBA commissioned an evaluation of how Sweden has applied the localisation agenda.

The evaluation shows that Sweden has better financing of local actors than many others, but that much remains to be done in areas such as governance and guidance, criteria for cooperation, management of financial and security-related risks and systematic follow-up.

The authors emphasize the importance of prioritizing and integrating the localization agenda into Sweden’s humanitarian strategies, as well as applying existing guidelines to monitor and promote progress. They also suggest investments in capacity building and sufficient resources for local actors.

“Sweden was at a crossroads regarding localisation when we began this research – and remains at a crossroads now. There is will and momentum, but also external demand for Sweden to act in good faith on its commitments. Several of the 16 recommendations in the evaluation are already known, but not yet acted upon. Making effective progress will take a coherent and coordinated effort – listening and learning from the evidence”, says Sophia Swithern, evaluator.

The evaluation Sweden’s humanitarian assistance to eleven countries, of which three more studied more in-depth: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar and Ukraine. It was conducted by a team of seven evaluators based in six countries: Sophia Swithern, UK, Charlotte Lattimer, France, Teddy Atim, Uganda, Gang Karume, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dmytro Kondratenko and Kateryna Korenkova, Ukraine and Cheery Zahau, Myanmar.

Read the evaluation: Supporting Local Actors: Supporting Local Actors: Evaluation of Sweden’s Application of the Grand Bargain Localisation Agenda | EBA

Welcome to the seminar where the evaluation is presented: Time and place: April 12:th 10.00-11.30 at Medelhavsmuséet in Stockholm. Read more and register: Supporting Local Actors for a More Effective Humanitarian Assistance