The original vision of the Grand Bargain was to negotiate an agreement between the largest donors and main implmenting humanitairan agencies to help address the “trust deficit” in the sector and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian aid delivery.
The Grand Bargain and its set of commitments were officially launched during the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and has since then been endorsed by more than 50 humanitarian donors and aid agencies.
Two years after its launch the Grand Bargain significant progresses have been made in relation to the implementation of the 51 commitments and there remains strong consensus among signatories that the Grand Bargain is acting as a catalyst for institutional and systemwide change. For NGOs the Grand Bargain offers a unique opportunity since among the 10 inital workstreams many relate to issues NGOs are directly affected with: be it in relation to donors conditionalities (e.g on reporting, multi-year planning and funding) or issues linked to quality and modality of aid delivery (e.g on participation of affected population, localisation of aid, cash programming).
”Our goal over the next five years is to bring an additional billion dollars into the hands of people in dire need of live-saving help, by making efficiency savings on the backroom activities of donors and aid organisations. In the space of a few months, we have been able to negotiate a deal between major players in the humanitarian ecosystem – a deal addressing issues that have hindered and hampered life-saving work for years.” – May 2016
Evidence available for 2019 indicates that progress continued to be made by and within this workstream in 2018 against commitment 1.1, which the workstream consciously decided to focus on at an early stage. Since June 2017, the number of Grand Bargain signatories that are publishing open data on their humanitarian financing and providing much more useful and usable data on their activities has significantly increased as organisations begin using the humanitarian features of the latest version of the IATI Standard.
One of the most prominent and important messages emerging from WHS was that if more capacity, power, respect, resources, space and voice is given to national and local actors within the humanitarian system, we can improve the results and services delivered to the people in needs. Because the volume of crisis globally is too much for international actors alone to cope with, and because in a large number of situations, local people, communities and organisations are best-positioned to help and the first to arrive.
The workstream has collectively developed best practice papers on six themes relevant to localisation: capacity-strengthening, coordination, donor/intermediary arrangements, financing, gender and partnerships. These will be finalised and published in January 2020 and will represent useful learning material for organisations interested in advancing their localisation practice.
In 2019, for the second year running, the Cash work stream has made more progress than the other Grand Bargain workstreams. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) emphasized that while the high level of energy around cash, and progress associated with it, was largely independent of the Grand Bargain, the work stream acts as an important catalyst, bringing together a range of actors to address key issues. The ODI report welcomed the collaborative approach that has included clear and actionable priorities, defined roles, and targeted efforts to address areas identified as receiving less attention.
Reduce duplication and management costs with periodic functional reviews has had promising steps, especially due to NGO-led initiatives, on the harmonization of partnership agreements, joint logistics and procurement procedures and transparent and comparable cost structures. According to the annual independent report (2019), however, the progress remains uneven. On the donors’ front, there has been reluctance to move to reduce individual donor assessments. The co-conveners continued to focus primarily on instituting measures to reduce costs within the UN group, capitalising on UN reform efforts to gain traction on certain commitments.
The Grand Bargain Commitments on Needs Assessments are a mix of assessment outputs (e.g. comprehensive and cross-sectoral), methods and resources to assessments (e.g. transparent, collaborative, shared data, with adequate capacities and independent reviews), and components of assessments (e.g. risks and vulnerability analysis). Through a series of workshops, participants identified a set of priority issues and associated activities. While to date, work has primarily been conceptual in nature, it is envisaged that this work will be more field focused in the latter half of 2018.
We need to include the people affected by humanitarian crises and their communities in our decisions to be certain that the humanitarian response is relevant, timely, effective and efficient. Donors and aid organisations should work to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable groups considering gender, age, ethnicity, language and special needs are heard and acted upon.
Increase collaborative humanitarian multi-year planning and funding is one of the workstreams that progressed significantly and positively in the past two years, especially in documenting the impact of multi-year, collaborative and flexible planning and multi-year funding instruments.
In 2017 important progress was made by the workstream on agreeing a baseline for measuring progress; identifying shared needs and concerns between donors and aid organisations; and understanding different interpretations of what counts as ‘flexible’ funding and where it occurs in the funding chain
Following an initial stakeholder workshop in November 2016, a decision was made to move forward with a pilot project to test a harmonized donor narrative reporting framework. The harmonizing reporting pilot to test the new 8+3 template began on June 1, 2017 in Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia and ended on May 31, 2019. The pilot has shown that partners view the new template as a significant improvement over existing donor templates since it simplifies and standardizes the reporting process considerably
Since March 2018, the Humanitarian and Development nexus work stream is officially closed. However, some actions are still taking place at a different level and through different processes.
VOICE is the main NGO interlocutor with the European Union on emergency aid and disaster risk reduction, and it promotes the values of humanitarian NGOs. It is a network representing 86 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in humanitarian aid worldwide.
This present website arises from one of the objectives from VOICE Grand Bargain project which is to raise awareness and facilitate access to relevant information for NGOs and frontline responders in relation to the implementation Grand Bargain.
Norwegian Refugee Council and Development Initiatives
Christian Aid, CARE, Tearfund, ActionAid, CAFOD, Oxfam