Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation Learning Paper: Localisation in the COVID-19 response

Publication language
Date published
02 Mar 2023
Thematic evaluation
Community-led, Local capacity, Partnerships, COVID-19, IAHE evaluation

Early on in the pandemic, there was widespread optimism that the COVID-19 response would help accelerate the pace of reform on localisation, by demonstrating the ability of local responders to play a more prominent role in internationally-led humanitarian operations.4 As the global emergency escalated in 2020, and as UN and other international aid actors sought ways to balance continued programme delivery with the enforcement of constraining pandemic protection measures for their staff, the role of local and national actors (L/NAs) acquired critical importance. As international agencies reduced their operational footprint and the scope of their activities on the ground, L/NAs stepped in to take on key responsibilities in ongoing operations.5 There is now broad recognition of their critical role in the COVID19 response.

This Learning Paper uses the framework of IASC guidance to strengthen localisation in the context of the COVID-19 response to explore the following three thematic areas:

• Relationships between international (i.e. UN, INGOs, RC/RC) and local actors (including partnership arrangements, respect for principles of duty of care, and recognition and visibility of the work and role of local frontline responders).

• Funding mechanisms and how these allowed local actors to play a key role through prompt access to funding, re-programming efforts, and fast track provisions.

• Promotion of local leadership and local participation in coordination mechanisms and decisionmaking processes at national and sub-national levels.