About the Grand Bargain
Origin and concept of the Grand Bargain
As part of the preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016, the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing sought solutions to close the humanitarian financing gap. Their report made recommendations to shrink the needs, deepen and broaden the resource base for humanitarian action, and to improve delivery. In relation to the latter recommendation, the report suggested “a Grand Bargain between the big donors and humanitarian organisations in humanitarian aid”.
The Grand Bargain, launched during the WHS in Istanbul in May 2016, is a unique agreement between some of the largest donors and humanitarian organisations who have committed to get more means into the hands of people in need and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian action.
The structure and membership of the Grand Bargain
Initially thought as a deal between the five biggest donors and the six largest UN Agencies, the Grand Bargain now includes 61 Signatories (24 states, 11 UN Agencies, 5 inter-governmental organizations and Red Cross/Red Crescent Movements and 21 NGOs) and represents 73% of all humanitarian contributions donated in 2018 and 70% of aid received by agencies.
The Signatories are working across eight workstreams to implement the commitments:
1. Greater Transparency (Co-convenors: The Netherlands, World Bank)
2. More support and funding tools to local and national responders (Co-convenors: IFRC, Switzerland)
3. Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming (Co-convenors: UK, WFP)
4. Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews (Co-convenors: Japan, UNHCR)
5. Improve Joint and Impartial Needs Assessments (Co-convenors: ECHO, OCHA)
6. A Participation Revolution: include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives (Co-convenors: USA, SCHR)
7. & 8. Increase collaborative humanitarian multi-year planning and funding & Reduce the earmarking of donor contributions (Co-convenors: Canada, Sweden, UNICEF, ICRC)
9. Harmonize and simplify reporting requirements (Co-convenors: Germany, ICVA)
The tenth work-stream, Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors, has been closed as an independent work-stream and it has been mainstreamed as a cross-cutting committment.
The Grand Bargain is championed by an Eminent Person, Ms. Sigrid Kaag (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, the Netherlands), responsible for promoting and advocating for the advancement of the Grand Bargain commitments.
A Facilitation Group has been established to provide continued momentum to the overall Grand Bargain process. The composition of this group is reflective of the different Grand Bargain constituencies (two donors, two UN agencies, IFRC/ICRC, NGO consortia).
2019/2020 Facilitation Group: ECHO, UK, OCHA, WFP, ICRC, SCHR
2018/2019 Facilitation Group: USA, Sweden, OCHA, UNICEF, IFRC and InterAction
2017/2018 Facilitation Group: Germany, United Kingdom, OCHA, UNHCR, ICRC and InterAction
2016/2017 Facilitation Group: ECHO, Switzerland, WFP, OCHA, UN Women, IFRC and SCHR
Each workstream is co-convened by one donor government representative and one humanitarian agency or organisation.
Grand Bargain Secretariat
The Grand Bargain process is supported by a light Secretariat, responsible for coordination and communication. In 2020, the Grand Bargain Secretariat is supported by the governments of Sweden and the United States, and hosted by the Norwegian Refugee Council/NORCAP.
Monitoring the progress
Grand Bargain progress is assessed in an Annual Independent Report, based on self-reports submitted by the Signatories and workstream Co-convenors. The progress and next steps are agreed upon at an Annual Meeting, which brings together all the Signatories.
Translating the Grand Bargain commitments into reality
As needs of affected people are increasing, the humanitarian community has to find better ways to respond to crises. In 2018, 25 billion USD was needed to respond to humanitarian needs, but only 15 billion USD was funded. As one of the three recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian financing, the Grand Bargain helps to overcome this gap by making humanitarian aid more efficient.
The purpose of the Grand Bargain is to ensure that we are able to anticipate and prepare for crises, that we can deliver protection and assistance better to the most vulnerable and that we can restore opportunity and dignity to them.
The Annual Independent Report 2019 already identified some successes:
- The Grand Bargain brought a normative and an operational shift towards increase use of cash programming, which gives greater choice and empowers the people in need and strengthens local markets.
- Under the Grand Bargain framework, donors and humanitarian organizations are piloting a common, simplified reporting template that saves time and money.
- Multi-year planning by humanitarian organizations has become a norm, enabling better linkages between humanitarian and development actors.
- Donors have increase multi-year funding, which lowers administrative costs and enables humanitarian programming that is more responsive and adapted to the needs of affected people.
- Donors and humanitarian organizations have increased their focus and investments in national and local responders, who are often the first to respond to crises, remaining in the communities they serve before, during, and after emergencies.
Humanitarian organizations, particularly in the UN, have improved transparency and comparability in cost structures, bringing measurable cost savings and efficiency gains.
For information about the Grand Bargain, please contact the Grand Bargain Secretariat in Geneva.