Building a Blueprint for Change: Humanitarian reform at the country level Research Synopsis
Humanitarian Advisory Group is undertaking action research which aims to provide an evidence base for progressing transformative change to the humanitarian system at the country level. The research is currently focused on Indonesia, in partnership with the Pujiono Centre and is part of the Humanitarian Horizons Research Program 2019-2021. Building a Blueprint for Change aims to catalyse action for country-level reform.
Humanitarian Horizons 2018-21: Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
Humanitarian Horizons is Humanitarian Advisory Group’s three-year strategic research program, consisting of four key streams. It aims to contribute evidence and progress thinking and action towards better humanitarian outcomes for crisis-affected populations in the Indo-Pacific region. This framework outlines our approach to monitoring the impact of this research stream as it progresses across 2018 to 2021.
Positive Disruption? China’s humanitarian aid
China’s global aid program is evolving and expanding prompting considerable interest from the international humanitarian sector. Much attention has been paid to developments in Chinese aid. Most work examines the geopolitical, development aid and security policy angles, rather than the operational and policy implications for humanitarian aid. There is less understanding of how Chinese and traditional actors can engage on humanitarian reform. This practice paper aims to address that gap, as part of the Humanitarian Horizons research program, which seeks to stimulate discussion and inform practice.
Measuring Localisation: Framework and tools
In 2018-19 PIANGO and Humanitarian Advisory Group, together with national CSO umbrella bodies, collaborated to design and undertake a localisation baselining process in four Pacific countries: Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. This document outlines an approach, including a framework and some tools, that can be used to measure the activity and impact of localised humanitarian action.
Localisation in the Solomon Islands: Demonstrating Change
This is the final instalment in a series of four baselines seeking to measure localisation in the Pacific, published in partnership with PIANGO and DSE. Building on previous reports for Vanuatu, Tonga, and Fiji, released earlier this year, this research utilises the Measuring Localisation Framework to provide a snapshot of progress on localising humanitarian action in the Solomon Islands.
Data on Diversity: Humanitarian leadership under the spotlight
The latest piece from the Diverse Leadership stream, this report presents findings from the State of Diversity global sector survey, the largest of its kind in the sector globally, to demonstrate the current state of play of diversity and inclusion in humanitarian leadership teams, and to explore what exactly this might mean for the future of the sector.
Localisation in Fiji: Demonstrating change
This is the third instalment in a series of four baselines seeking to measure localisation in the Pacific, published in partnership with PIANGO and the Fiji Council of Social Services. Building on previous reports for Vanuatu and Tonga released earlier this year, this research utilises the Measuring Localisation Framework to provide a snapshot of progress on localising humanitarian action in Fiji.
Localisation in Tonga: Demonstrating change
This baseline builds on the previous localisation baselining work in Vanuatu. The international humanitarian sector is currently developing ways to measure progress on localisation following the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. This has also been a key issue for humanitarian actors in the Pacific region. Generating an evidence base on localisation is important in order to demonstrate what change is happening and the impact it is having. This report provides a baseline snapshot of localisation in Tonga.
Diverse and Inclusive Leadership Workshop Report
How do we strengthen humanitarian leadership to make it fit for purpose? The international humanitarian sector needs a greater diversity of approaches, funding sources, and thinking to confront its rapidly changing landscape. Evidence highlights that diversity and inclusion in leadership is key to being able to address new and emergent challenges. Humanitarian Advisory Group is currently undertaking research to understand how diverse and inclusive leadership can contribute to tackling key challenges faced by the humanitarian system.
This workshop explored potential methodologies and approaches to conducting Humanitarian Advisory Group’s Diverse Humanitarian Leadership research under its Humanitarian Horizons program. It convened a range of representatives from international non-government organisations, the United Nations, the Red Cross Movement and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Charting the New Norm? Local Leadership in the First 100 Days of the Sulawesi Earthquake Response
Humanitarian response to the 7.4 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that devastated the coastal township of Palu, Indonesia on 28 September 2019, charted a new norm. The government of Indonesia acted quickly to restrict international aid and emphasise the role of national and local actors in the emergency response and early recovery phase. This led to creative changes to the Asia-Pacific’s traditional approach to humanitarian relief in the aftermath of disaster
Does the Sulawesi response bring us closer to the new and improved way of delivering humanitarian assistance as committed in 2016 World Humanitarian Summit? To answer, we examine how this response differs from previous ones, and how different actors adapted to this change.
The Sulawesi earthquake humanitarian response demonstrates how localisation of humanitarian aid is becoming an inevitable emerging new norm in the Asia-pacific region.
Protecting People in Locally Led Disaster Response
How will the shift to increased local and national leadership in humanitarian response impact on protection outcomes for affected communities?
Will it reinforce negative gender and cultural biases and leave marginalised groups without adequate protection? Or will it strengthen protection outcomes as local, national and international actors better recognise and strengthen each other’s complementary protection roles and responsibilities?
‘Protecting people in locally-led disaster response’ affirms that there are distinct and important continued protection roles for local, national and international actors in the Pacific. With a better understanding of the core national actor roles and the potential complementary international actor roles there is the opportunity for actors to better support each other and better protect affected communities.
This research is co-funded by the Australian Government, through DFAT, and the Australian Red Cross as part of a research collaboration between the Humanitarian Policy Group and Humanitarian Advisory Group.
Localisation in Vanuatu: Demonstrating change
The international humanitarian sector is currently developing ways to measure progress on localisation following the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. This has also been a key issue for humanitarian actors in the Pacific region. Generating an evidence base on localisation is important in order to demonstrate what change is happening and the impact it is having. This report provides a baseline snapshot of localisation in Vanuatu. It pilots the Measuring Localisation Framework developed through a consultation process in three countries led by PIANGO and HAG.
Annual Report 2017-2018
As we enter the festive season, it’s time to reflect on the year that was – and it was a very good year indeed. We published our first independently funded think pieces – something we had dreamed about when starting HAG – a way to put leading-edge ideas into the sector as our unique contributions. We found our feet as a social enterprise and achieved B Corp recertification, demonstrating that our contributions to the sector are ethical, authentic and meaningful. We worked in 11 countries and with national consultants in Vanuatu, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We were thrilled to welcome Jo-Hannah Lavey, Sally Airs-Shevach and Seeta Giri to our team and proudly hosted a CareerTrackers intern for the first time. And to finish off the year, we are so pleased to share our second Annual Report.
Extractives and Emergencies: the Papua New Guinea Earthquake Response
On the 26th of February 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), affecting 544,000 people. In addition to traditional humanitarian actors, including international nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), civil society, government and United Nations (UN) agencies, the private sector – notably companies working in the extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) – contributed significantly to the response at unprecedented speed and scale. This practice paper is a rapid analysis of the role played by extractive organisations (‘extractives’) in the 2018 PNG earthquake response. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of their engagement, and proposes that for humanitarian organisations to work more effectively with extractives they need to engage with them more intentionally – to understand, to learn and to plan together. The paper provides a series of questions to guide engagement, in ‘Digging Deeper’ text boxes throughout the paper, for both humanitarian organisations and extractives.
Localisation: Opportunities and challenges for protection in disaster response
Much debate about reform and improving the effectiveness of humanitarian aid in recent years has revolved around ‘localisation’, a prominent theme of the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). As humanitarian agencies implement the localisation commitments they articulated at the WHS, examining the impact of a localised response for protection outcomes has emerged as a topic deserving greater attention. This research initiative seeks to understand the impact of localised humanitarian protection in disaster preparedness and response, including identifying both the opportunities and challenges for effective protection in a locally-led response. This initial paper explores the existing literature on protection and localisation in disasters as the first stage of a joint research initiative of the Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG), the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG), and the Australian Red Cross.
Drawing on our Diversity: Humanitarian Leadership
This discussion paper summarises what is currently known about diversity and humanitarian leadership, and aims to identify how the two intersect in the international humanitarian system. It starts by unpacking what we mean by diversity – in gender, age, race, ethnicity and thinking. It explores the real and potential benefits of diversifying leadership identified across other sectors that could be applied to the humanitarian sector. It concludes with the proposition that humanitarian leadership does not currently draw on its diversity, to the detriment of humanitarian effectiveness, and suggests two hypotheses that could be tested in order to verify or refute this proposition.
Linking Women, Peace and Security with Disaster Response and Management: Issue Paper
Sustainable peace and prosperity require the full and equal participation of women. So far, the crucial role of women in disaster management and in building resilient communities has received less recognition than it deserves. This paper aims to provide recommendations on how Australia’s next National Action Plan (NAP) on women, peace and security can be responsive to natural disasters, both within Australia and overseas.
Fanny Berg, who recently graduated from Uppsala University in Sweden with a degree in Peace and Development Studies, wrote this Issue Paper during her internship with Humanitarian Advisory Group in 2018.
Tracking Progress on Localisation: A Pacific Perspective
In June 2018, the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO) and Humanitarian Advisory Group brought together Pacific humanitarian actors from Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu to discuss progress on localisation and to explore priorities for measuring change. This outcomes paper provides an overview of the consultation discussions and highlights Pacific priorities for measuring change. It will inform the development of a framework for measuring localisation in Pacific case study countries across the next three years.
From an Ombudsman to a Humanitarian Passport: How Should We Be Addressing Abuse in the International Aid Sector?
Tackling sexual abuse and exploitation in the aid sector has never been so crucial. This think piece explores key issues in relation to safeguarding and raises questions about what recent developments mean for the Australian context. It is intended to contribute ideas and promote thinking about how the Australian aid sector can both learn from and influence global conversations and action.
Taking Sexual and Gender Minorities Out Of The Too-Hard Basket
Sexual and gender minorities’ unique protection and assistance needs remain largely unconsidered and unaddressed in international crisis response. Of 2018’s ten largest humanitarian response plans, none mention inclusion of sexual and gender minorities. The latest practice paper challenges the premise that it is too hard to improve the inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in humanitarian action.
Transforming Surge Capacity Project Evaluation
This report presents the findings and recommendations from the final evaluation of the TSC Project conducted during the period November 2017 – February 2018. The evaluation reviews progress and evaluates the extent to which the project was successful in achieving its goals. The evaluation built on the wealth of knowledge acquired throughout the project and complements the learning captured in the Future of Humanitarian Surge report. The evaluation complements the broader DEPP External Evaluation during 2016–2018.
Women’s Voice in Humanitarian Media. No Surprises.
Part of the Humanitarian Horizons Research Programme
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. It also marks a call for action to accelerate gender parity. Gender parity does not exist for women’s voices in the media. Neither does it exist in humanitarian media. Gender parity in humanitarian media is important to address inequalities in humanitarian action and how people perceive the role of women in humanitarian action, including by women themselves.
Intention to Impact: Measuring Localisation
Part of the Humanitarian Horizons Research Programme
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.
When the Rubber Hits the Road: Local Leadership in the first 100 days of the Rohingya Crisis Response
Part of the Humanitarian Horizons Research Programme
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Humanitarian Partnership Agreement – Saving lives through Collective Action
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.
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.
Humanitarian Partnership Agreement: The Impact of Disaster Risk Reduction Programming
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?
Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies: Towards a Predictable Model
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.
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.
Women in Humanitarian Leadership
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.
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?
UNFPA 2016 State of World Population Report
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.
The 3 ways that social entrepreneurship can contribute in the humanitarian space
There is a global movement underway. It challenges our assumptions about how businesses make money and what they do with it. It demands that businesses make social change central to their business models; not an add-on or afterthought. This movement is social entrepreneurship. Within the humanitarian world we are motivated and enlivened by a desire to see social change. Yet somehow we are less comfortable with the use of business to achieve that social change. And yet the sustainability and efficiency of the business world has much to offer as a model for humanitarian problems. So how can social entrepreneurship contribute to humanitarian action?
Why we need more women in humanitarian leadership
Women are under-represented in leadership globally and across sectors. In 2016 in Australia one quarter of organisations reported that they still have no women (none!) in key management positions. Analysis of gender equality in the humanitarian world tells a similar story. As of January 2016, there are 29 UN Humanitarian Coordinators globally and only 9 of these are women. As the professional humanitarian workforce worldwide consists largely of women – up to 75% – this disparity is absurdly at odds with the rhetoric about empowerment and equality within the sector. Why is it important? Why hasn’t it been done already? What can and must be done?
Selling protection: Does the protection imperative require a social marketing approach?
Today, too much of the clarity and conviction of protection messaging and communication seems to have been lost. Protection is still considered a priority by many humanitarian actors; indeed it is a core mandate to organisations such as UNHCR and ICRC. However, a legalistic and theoretical narrative seems to have replaced the compelling narrative of the late 1990s and 2000s. This contributes to a growing sense of confusion and frustration with regards to protection amongst humanitarian actors. So why has the protection discourse lost the clarity and conviction it carried in the late 1990s? And how can we reclaim it? This paper suggests that some of the explanation lies in the increasing complexity and inaccessibility of protection messaging. It further suggests that part of the solution may lie in applying a social marketing approach to protection communication.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.