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The Grand Bargain

A new deal for humanitarian aid

Children perform during the closing ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit in IstanbulThe ‘Grand Bargain’ is the name given to a package of reforms to make humanitarian aid financing more efficient and effective. It was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016 by 30 donors and aid agencies who together command the majority of global humanitarian funding. A package of ten measures was agreed, as outlined below:

1. Greater transparency

Publish timely, transparent, harmonised and open, high-quality data on humanitarian funding within two years.

2. More support and funding tools for local and national responders

Just 0.4% of emergency funding currently goes directly to local and national agencies. The new target is 25% by 2020. This pledge will mean less direct funding to the UN agencies and international NGOs involved in humanitarian response.

3. Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming (although there are no firm targets for the expanded use of cash).

4. Reduce duplication and management costs by reducing individual reporting requirements and oversight mechanisms for donors and aid organisations.

5. Improve joint and impartial needs assessments

Significant efforts have been made to strengthen needs assessments, but critics claim that aid agencies too often get to define the scale of the problem and choose where they wish to intervene.

6. A participation revolution

The end customers of aid often have little choice or influence in the services they get, and feedback mechanisms so far have had little impact in changing programme delivery.

7. Increase collaborative, humanitarian, multi-year planning and funding

Most humanitarian funding is issued on a 12-month cycle. The target is for five countries to trial multi-year planning and funding by the end of 2017.

8. Reduce the earmarking of donor contributions

Donors typically earmark funds for specific projects. Pooled funding mechanisms will expand.

9. Harmonise and simplify reporting requirements

Identify core requirements and developing a common report structure.

10. Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors

Combining emergency and development funds and agendas is a hot topic. The general intent is broad: to use existing resources and capabilities better to shrink humanitarian needs over the long term, with the view of contributing to the outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals. The package also notes that, to achieve this, the focus will not only be on aid agencies and donors but also on national governments, civil society and the private sector.

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Reference this page

ENN (2017). The Grand Bargain. Nutrition Exchange 7, January 2017. p8.



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