PLATFORMA defends the role of local and regional governments in humanitarian assistance

18 November 2016

This year, AidEx conference focused on the “localisation” of aid. PLATFORMA and its members were there to defend the role of local and regional governments in humanitarian assistance. 

PLATFORMA, the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNGi) and Cités Unies France (CUF), attended the annual AidEx 2016 Conference on humanitarian assistance on 16 and 17 November in Brussels. The “localisation” of aid is a topic of special relevance given the recent commitment of donors to direct 25% of all humanitarian aid to local and national actors by 2020, up from the current 0,4%.
However, this commitment raises a number of questions:


  • How will local actors be able to absorb this amount of aid?
  • Will donors directly fund local actors or will it continue to be done through international NGOs?
  • And, most importantly, where do local governments stand in this new framework?
Arne Musch from VNGi spoke about the Dutch association experience in “adding municipal expertise to the humanitarian efforts”. He gave the example of a local resilience programme in Northern Jordan, where VNGi is assisting UNHCR in the design of urban services for Za’atari refugee camp and the surrounding municipalities.
CUF representative Simone Giovetti also stressed the need to involve local actors. According to him “until recently, local authorities were not considered an actor in humanitarian assistance”. Arguing in favour of an increased role for local and regional governments, he gave the example of Lebanon. There, the absence of a strong central government means that local governments carry the burden of service delivery to both their citizens and the refugees. Moreover, he pointed out that decentralised cooperation can be a powerful force in building the capacities of local governments in conflict-affected areas.
PLATFORMA and its members have been a key voice in the preparation of the World Humanitarian Summit that took place in Istanbul last May, contributing with a position paper to the European Commission’s new approach to forced displacement and development.
It is now time to consolidate the gains and closely monitor the European Union’s progress towards the goal of committing 25% of funds to local actors.
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