Charter4Change Report shows progress on localization

Every year, the Charter4Change (C4C), of which ICCO is one of the signatories, publishes an Annual Report to report on progress on implementing the eight commitments in the C4C Charter for more localization in the humanitarian sector. In addition, C4C published a set of policy recommendations in view of the Grand Bargain 2019 Annual Review.

Charter4Change Report shows progress on localization

The Charter4Change was launched in 2016. Its charter consists of 8 commitments to drive deeper change on localization – building on, but going beyond those in the Grand Bargain itself. The coalition’s Coordination Group has equal participation of INGOs and national/local NGOs. Every year the Charter4Change publishes an Annual Report which surveys the INGOs progress on implementing those 8 commitments.

Key findings of the Annual Report include:

  1. Three years after the Grand Bargain was launched, only 7 of 59 signatories report allocating 25% or more of their humanitarian funding to local groups. New research by Local2Global suggests that donors in 2018 allocated an estimated only 14.2% of their total funding flows to local and national actors – directly or through intermediaries. On average, these governments are estimated to give 0.2% in direct funding (no intermediary), 1.6% via country-based pooled funds and 12.4% via UN agencies, INGOs or Red Cross/Crescent organisations. Even now, most agencies have no system in place to effectively track how much funding they channel to local groups, let alone to disaggregate if that is investment in covering core costs or sustainable capacity strengthening, rather than short term emergency response projects.
  2. More encouragingly, some Grand Bargain signatories are taking forward strategic efforts to better partner with local organisations. WHO, for example, undertook a baseline of its support to local actors so far to inform its next steps. In the Sulawesi response, our C4C survey found that INGOs who had invested in prior partnership and preparedness work were much better ready to respond when the earthquake and tsunami struck. Yet this kind of longer term and strategic approach is not the norm. And donors don’t do enough to incentivise agencies they fund on this.
  3. Both our C4C Annual Report and wider reporting by Grand Bargain signatories point to the proliferation of increasingly burdensome compliance and due diligence requirements as a major obstacle to localisation. Sometimes confused and contradictory approaches by individual donors, as well as a lack of harmonisation across different donors, further gets in the way of resourcing local groups.

Key recommendations include:

  1. Grand Bargain signatories should baseline their current funding to local actors, including disaggregating how much goes to covering core costs and capacity-strengthening versus the more short-terms funds channelled for emergency response work. As a sector, donors, UN and INGOs need to clarify how they will track such funding as progress will be harder without transparency on this.
  2. Grand Bargain signatories making localisation a corporate priority and identifying clear, time-bound milestones over the coming two years to scale up good practices and overcome bottlenecks. And donors should incentivise this by making it a condition of multi-year funding to UN agencies and INGOs.
  3. Grand Bargain signatories harmonising and simplifying their compliance and due diligence requirements. Furthermore, donors should implement tiered approaches to compliance; recognising that funding should be made available for smaller, local NGOs with less onerous bureaucratic requirements. This should be packaged with investment in strengthening their capacity so that over time they are able to administer larger grants involving more complex forms of compliance.

Annual Report and Policy Paper

Read the full C4C Annual Report and Policy Paper for more insights and recommendations on ways forward.

Further reading: Read this blog about ICCO’s view on localization.