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Humanitarian Horizons

Intention to Impact: Localised Humanitarian Action

Practical progress on localisation had been insufficient and inconsistent, despite widespread recognition of localisation as a principle within the humanitarian sector. This stream addresses the localisation measurement gap by exploring and testing approaches to measuring the activity and impact of localised humanitarian action.

Iraqi Kurdistan, Photography by Greta Carroll

Stream overview

The stream seeks to provide a solid evidence base for localised humanitarian action that can demonstrate impact and support the ongoing momentum in the sector leading towards a genuine shift in power.

This research has been widely consultative, socialised across the Indo-Pacific region and conducted in close partnership with the Pacific Island Association of Non-government Organisations (PIANGO) and national researchers from the Indo-Pacific.

This research stream is currently in its fourth year.

The Philippines, Photography by Robert Wagner
The Philippines, Photography by Robert Wagner

Our approach

Key research questions under the stream are:

  • How can the sector measure the activity and impact of localised humanitarian action?
  • To what extent have actors in the Pacific adopted more localised approaches to humanitarian action?
  • What has changed as a result of localised humanitarian action (positive and negative)?

Key partners

This research has been conducted in partnership with the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs and their country-level NGO umbrella body members across the region.

This includes the Vanuatu Association of NGOs (VANGO), the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS), the Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT) and Development Services Exchange in Solomon Islands (DSE). PIANGO has been involved from the outset of the research design, and led on the implementation, and socialisation process across the Pacific.

Other key national partners for publications in this stream have been NIRAPAD, a network of researchers in Bangladesh.

As part of our work, we have also partnered with Humanitarian Policy Group, the Australian Red Cross, and the Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Bangladesh.

Research impact

Through strong engagement and socialisation with a diversity of actors, and in a range of different forums, we have witnessed the impact and influence of our research in a diversity of ways.

We’ve piloted mapping this impact and influence in Reach and Reality.

Localisation research wheel
  • Local actors have continued to use the findings to advocate for greater opportunity for involvement in decision-making processes and for increased funding for local organisations.
  • The research has helped to frame the narrative around localisation in the Pacific. Global perceptions articulated at key regional and global forums and shared by key stakeholders suggest that localisation of humanitarian action in the Pacific is leading the way to progress necessary change. This was evident at the Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Localisation in Jakarta in 2019, and by the establishment of the Technical Working Group on Localisation for the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP).
  • A localisation TWG within the formal Humanitarian Coordination Structure in Bangladesh has been set up to track and promote localisation activities in line with recommendations presented in the report: Elevating Evidence: Localisation in the 2019 Bangladesh Flood Response. Our partner, NIRAPAD, has been funded to function as the secretariat of this TWG and will be responsible for tracking progress on localisation targets.
  • The Humanitarian Response Plan for Cyclone Amphan, produced by the Bangladesh HCTT, has referenced our research findings and integrated specific localisation targets under each of the clusters. HAG supported UNRCO in identifying localisation indicators which can be tracked as part of the Cyclone Amphan (and other) responses