Options for supporting and strengthening local humanitarian action in Ukraine: A scoping exercise report

Harrison, L., Kondratenko, D. & Korenkova, K.
Publication language
Date published
06 Jan 2023
Research, reports and studies
Capacity development, Partnerships, Conflict, violence & peace, Funding and donors

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 resulted in the world’s fastest growing displacement and refugee crisis since World War II. There are more than 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, and another 6.2 million displaced inside the country. There continue to be acute humanitarian needs across the country, likely to be exacerbated this coming winter. In response, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal in early March. It has so far raised £380 million from the British public, with some funds matched by UK Aid. DEC members are committed to strengthening local humanitarian action. The importance of supporting and strengthening local humanitarian action – and civil society more broadly as a consequence – has been widely acknowledged in recent years. A vast array of commitments have been made across the global humanitarian sector aiming to reinforce, not replace, national and local systems. These are included in the Agenda for Humanity, Grand Bargain, Charter for Change, and most recently Pledge for Change. Progress has been limited.

A scoping exercise was commissioned by DEC to gather ideas, options and approaches from local and national actors (L/NAs) implementing humanitarian response activities in Ukraine on the most important areas for supporting and strengthening local humanitarian action. The findings and recommendations will inform further DEC fund investment and programmatic approaches by DEC members. They are also relevant for other stakeholders funding, implementing and/or supporting humanitarian response activities in Ukraine. 

Over 120 people from 72 agencies and networks were consulted in August to November 2022; 42% L/NAs and 58% international NGOs, UN agencies and networks. In addition, well over 150 resources were reviewed, including reports, articles, news stories, podcasts and webinars. L/NA participants represented the full diversity of Ukrainian civil society groups – formal and informal, well-established and new, small and large NGOs, volunteer and community groups, community funds and foundations – so do not represent a homogenous group.

The four areas prioritised by L/NAs as most important for supporting and strengthening local humanitarian action were fairly unanimously agreed to include:

  • Priority 1: Funding and financial management
  • Priority 2: Capacity strengthening and organisational development
  • Priority 3: Equitable partnerships
  • Priority 4: Coordination and collaboration