Bridging the intention to action gap: The future role of intermediaries in supporting locally led humanitarian action

Lees, J. McCommon, J., Sutton, K., Flint, J., Robinson, L., Low, I., Khan, S. U., Islam, S. A., and Antonios, Z.
Publication language
Date published
01 Jan 2021
Research, reports and studies
Development & humanitarian aid

Since the World Humanitarian Summit 2016, the discussion on locally led humanitarian action has evolved considerably. The debate has become more nuanced in many ways, and with respect to intermediaries, the discussion has become less polarised and more constructive. This research paper contributes to that constructive direction by recognising that intermediaries have a role to play but that the future role of intermediaries needs to change substantially from the current status quo. This study results from a shared ambition of the members of the Grand Bargain Localisation Workstream to increase clarity and ambition as to how the role of intermediaries should be evolving. In consultation with its co-convener, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and members of the Workstream, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation commissioned the project to explore the future role of organisations when acting as intermediaries. The study was conducted during April and May 2021 and involved over 100 stakeholders from 36 countries from across the humanitarian system.

What this paper does:
-Proposes a future role for intermediaries in supporting locally led response, recognising that an important transition needs to take place.
-Employs a behavioural science approach to help understand why intermediaries are not already transitioning into this role.
-Identifies interventions for change in three essential areas: motivation, opportunity and capabilities to support change to an ideal future role for intermediaries.