Recent Publications

Intention to Impact: Measuring Localisation 

Humanitarian Horizons Localising humanitarian action in Asia and the Pacific Research 

The humanitarian sector is currently grappling with how to operationalise the localisation of humanitarian aid. However, without methods of measuring change across the spectrum of localisation processes, our understanding of what works, what doesn’t and why is limited. Building on existing initiatives, the research paper suggests an approach to measuring localisation across the areas of partnerships, funding, capacity, coordination and complementarity, policy influence and visibility, and participation.

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When the Rubber Hits the Road: Local Leadership in the first 100 days of the Rohingya Crisis Response

Humanitarian Horizons Practice Paper series

Researched and written in partnership with Nirapad

The international community has committed to a humanitarian system that is locally owned and led. This means a shift of power, resources and decision-making to local and national responders in humanitarian action. But how is this manifested during a humanitarian response of the scale and complexity of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh?

This rapid real-time analysis considers how the global localisation agenda has influenced the current operational response, and prompts questions about what happens when localisation moves from theory to practice. This paper is the first in the Humanitarian Horizons Practice Paper series.

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Humanitarian Advisory Group Annual Report 2016-2017 

The first HAG annual report represents an important milestone in our journey. It shows how our organisation is coming together and gives clarity to the story we want to tell. Thank you for travelling with us! We hope you enjoy reading about our last year.

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Going Local: Achieving a more appropriate and fit-for-purpose humanitarian ecosystem in the Pacific 

This report presents the findings of research conducted across the Pacific region in 2017 on the localisation of humanitarian action. Findings respond to the main research question “what would a successfully localised disaster management ecosystem in the Pacific look like, and what changes do Red Cross and the broader humanitarian system need to make to get there?”

Australian Red Cross commissioned this research to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities for localisation of humanitarian action in the Pacific region. This research is intended as a first step towards articulating the change required to achieve a more localised approach to humanitarian action.

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Humanitarian System Change Roundtable Outcomes

In October 2017, Humanitarian Advisory Group hosted a Melbourne-based roundtable to examine humanitarian system change and discuss the implications for Australia-based actors as a follow-up event to the Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meeting in Suva, Fiji.

Christina Bennett, Head of Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and Heba Aly, Director of IRIN News shared their global perspectives on the future of the humanitarian action and the underlying need for broader systemic change. These introductory comments framed a broader discussion about what this means in Australia and Asia and Pacific regions.

Pip Henty

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Independent Think Piece – Joint funding mechanisms for humanitarian response

Currently, several countries have operational coalitions or mechanisms for joint appeals for humanitarian response. Some mechanisms have been operational for over 50 years, whilst others have only been recently established. The most recently initiated was the Global Emergency Response Coalition in the United States launched on 17 July 2017. In recent years, several other countries including Australia, have examined the possibility of establishing joint appeal mechanisms for humanitarian response. This think piece explores the evidence for effectiveness, including advantages and challenges of existing joint mechanisms to enhance understanding on relevance and applicability in the Australian context.

Josie Flint

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Humanitarian Partnership Agreement – Saving lives through Collective Action

Peter Chamberlain, Pip Henty, and Beth Eggleston

The Humanitarian Partnership Agreement (2011-17) has transformed the way the Australian humanitarian non-government organisation (NGO) sector responds to disasters. This document provides a summary of the progress made by DFAT and its NGO partners in achieving the aims of the Humanitarian Partnership in the years that followed.

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Localising the Research Process: Walking the Talk Insight Series

Ayla Black and Kate Sutton

The Red Cross and Swiss government were co-conveners of the Grand Bargain work-stream on localisation at the World Humanitarian Summit. Reflecting the agreed commitments and building on a joint pledge between Australian Red Cross (ARC) and the Australian government on strengthening local humanitarian action, particularly in the Pacific, ARC has identified localisation as a key policy and influencing priority. In its ambitions to further understand the challenges and opportunities of localisation, ARC commissioned research on achieving a more appropriate and fit for purpose humanitarian ecosystem in the Pacific. This insight series will capture and explore the experience of walking the talk with regard to this research.

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Humanitarian Partnership Agreement: The Impact of Disaster Risk Reduction Programming 

Pip Henty, Kate Sutton, and Beth Eggleston

Community-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) is the foundation to reducing loss of lives and livelihoods and safeguarding development gains. Non-government Organisations (NGOs) have a strong track record working with communities to strengthen DRR and emergency preparedness. This report captures the story of six Australian NGOs coming together to work on DRR and the impact on the communities and organisations they worked with. It is timely to review the impact these efforts have had on lives, livelihoods and health of disaster-prone communities. How have they reinforced community efforts to strengthen their own resilience to the increasing threat of natural hazards?

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Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies: Towards a Predictable Model 

Josie Flint, Beth Eggleston and Sally Airs Shevach

This publication is an initiative of the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific. The RCG seeks to not only link the region with the Global Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination, but also to provide a learning platform for good practice. This publication focuses on Asia and the five priority countries in this region that are highly vulnerable to large-scale natural disasters: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, and the Philippines.

This publication aims to address this recommendation by outlining the civil-military coordination mechanisms in the five priority countries and how these are activated during disaster response efforts in line with regional frameworks and guidance. The publication provides the context for humanitarian civil-military coordination in Asia at the regional level and considers existing national guidance and structures for civil-military coordination in disaster response, linkages to global and regional guidance and emerging best practices. It also focuses on contributing to enhancing predictability in civil-military coordination in disaster response throughout the region, through outlining the potential adaptation of the Humanitarian-Military Operation Coordination Concept (HuMOCC) in each of the five countries.

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Humanitarian Assistance In The Pacific: An evaluation of the effectiveness of Australia’s response to Cyclone Pam

Kate Sutton, Humanitarian Advisory Group Director, co-led this evaluation with Karen Ovington, Office of Development Effectiveness DFAT

This evaluation reviewed Australia’s response to Cyclone Pam to identify how DFAT can better support Pacific countries to prepare for, respond to, and recover from rapid onset emergencies. Australia’s response was evaluated in the context of the policy frameworks at the time, notably the Humanitarian Action Policy 2011 and the Protection in Humanitarian Action Framework 2013. For the evaluation to be forward looking, recommendations were formulated in the context of updated policy frameworks, recognizing that the policy landscape has changed since the response.

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Women in Humanitarian Leadership

Ayla Black, Kate Sutton and Pip Henty

Globally, women remain underrepresented in the workforce at every level, across sectors. At the current rates of improvement, it will take 118 years for women to close the gender gap. This report examines what is known about the disparity between men and women in humanitarian leadership, and to what extent women are being marginalised in leadership and with what impact. The research also examines what has been learnt across other sectors in relation to women in leadership and asks whether these lessons can be applied to the humanitarian sector to bring about important change.

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Inclusive Humanitarian Action: A Study into Humanitarian Partnership Agency Practice in the Nepal Earthquake Response

Over the last three decades humanitarian actors have made significant steps towards disaster response activities that are more inclusive. This study, commissioned by Humanitarian Partnership Agreement (HPA) agencies, examines inclusive humanitarian practice by five participating agencies (CARE, Caritas, Oxfam, Plan International and World Vision). It takes a look behind the policy commitments and known gaps to explore practice at a programmatic level: What are agencies doing? What are they not doing and why not? What could they do more of, and better, to strengthen inclusion?

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UNFPA 2016 State of World Population Report

Chapter 5: Igniting the Potential; Ayla Black and Louise Searle

At 10, a girl arrives at a vulnerable point in her life. She must negotiate a tricky transition to adulthood, with its rapid changes in body and brain, and dramatic shifts in family and social expectations. Although risks abound for both girls and boys, gender discrimination makes these risks worse for girls in almost every way. The world has already done well in many ways for the 10-year-old boy. It is past time to do equally well for the 10-year-old girl.

For the first time in history, the 2030 Agenda explicitly commits countries to leaving no one behind as they seek to develop. This puts the world on notice that no 10-year-old girl can remain on the margins, abandoned to poverty, illness or ignorance. This chapter examines what is already being done around the world to contribute to realising this vision.

Independent Interim Review of the Australian National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security 2012-2018

The Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (Australian NAP) is the Australian Government’s primary mechanism for fulfilling its commitment to turn the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda into action.This report provides the findings from the independent interim review of the Australian NAP. The focus of the interim review was on tracking the whole of government progress on the implementation of the recommended actions under the Australian NAP, analysing their relevance against the intended outcomes, and analysing the relevance of the Australian NAP to inform actions to implement the WPS Agenda more broadly.

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Civil-Military-Police Coordination in Disaster Management: Perspectives from South East Asian Countries

The South East Asian region is highly vulnerable to rapid onset natural disasters. Effective coordination among diverse civilian, military and police actors is critical to ensuring an effective response to disasters.This research paper and stakeholder guide provide practical insights on civil-military-police coordination in disaster management and response both at the regional level, and in four specific countries: Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The research findings and guidance are aimed at assisting regional and global responders to better understand the contexts in which they may operate in times of natural disasters.

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Annual Civil Society Report on Australia’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security

In April 2013, Australian civil society came together with government to hold the inaugural Annual Civil-Society Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security. The aim of the Dialogue was to monitor progress against each of the NAP’s strategies and ensure implementation of the NAP remains both accountable to civil society and informed by its input and deliberations. This Civil Society Report Card on Australia’s NAP is the result of that process, and outlines the perceptions and opinions of civil-society members, based on the presentations and reports of those government departments attending the Dialogue. The report card outlines how civil society perceives progress of the NAP against its stated indicators and outlines key achievements, recommendations and areas for improvement.

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The Role of Mentoring in Professional Humanitarian Action

This think piece explores the role of mentoring in professional humanitarian action. Drawing on personal experience in the nursing and humanitarian sectors, former Humanitarian Advisory Group Director Louise Searle makes the case for mentoring programmes as part of the process of professional practice and development of expertise for practitioners.

Women in Humanitarian Action

This think piece explores the role of women in humanitarian response. It explores what is known about the differentiated impacts of disasters on women and men, and how women can be important change agents in humanitarian contexts, advocating for an increased focus on promotion of women in humanitarian action, more research on the benefits of female leadership and knowledge about constraints and enablers for increased participation.

UNFPA 2015 State of World Population Report

Chapter 2: The Disproportionate Toll on Women and Adolescent Girls

Humanitarian crises disproportionately impact sex, marital status, economic status or expose women and adolescent girls to layers of disproportionate risk. This chapter highlights that research and experience are contributing to a more nuanced perspective on how women and young people are affected by crises. However, unpacking these differences of experience is often complicated by a dearth of robust data, the collection of which can be very difficult in crisis-affected settings.

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Strengthening Accountability to Affected Populations through Network Learning

Jo-Hannah Lavey and Louise Searle, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)

Strengthened accountability to affected populations is central to humanitarian action. While much has been achieved, there is also considerable scope to further improve accountability to people affected by conflict and disaster. Across a broad spectrum of networks (global, regional, national and sub- national) this study found evidence that network learning contributes to improved AAP practice, and has the potential to contribute further.

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Australia’s Humanitarian Response to the Syria Crisis – Evaluation Report

Office for Development Effectiveness, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

This evaluation examines the effectiveness of Australia’s humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis. It considers both the efficacy of material assistance provided and Australia’s diplomatic efforts. The evaluation identifies ways in which Australia’s ongoing response can be strengthened in the context of what has become a protracted, and expanding, humanitarian crisis.

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