COVID-19: Effective and efficient humanitarian response needed more than ever

Published Date

Today the humanitarian community launched the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan to enable us to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illness.

Several elements in the response plan link to the the Grand Bargain commitments, demonstrating the need for humanitarian donors, UN agencies, Red Cross movements and NGOs to continue and step up their efforts to make humanitarian aid more effective and efficient, in order to to get more means into the hands of people in need.

Please find the extracts from the plan as they relate to the Grand Bargain commitments below: 

Pg. 20 (Strategic priorities and response approach): Given the current mobility restrictions, the role of local and community-based actors in the response is essential. The coordination mechanisms (see page 28) must foster their participation so that they contribute to the understanding of the situation and needs as they evolve, and influence decisions on priorities and response at field level. 

Pg. 22 (Enabling factors): Flexible and reprogrammable funding is provided, in line with existing Grand Bargain commitments. 

Pg. 24 (Response approach): Community engagement and ensuring operations are accountable to affected people is a priority and an essential part of humanitarian response. 

Pg. 25 (Response approach): Putting national and local NGOs at the centre of humanitarian operations has been high on the agenda for a number of years. This will become the reality in COVID-19 operations for the next few months, out of necessity, and has the potential to provide the blueprint for humanitarian operations in the longer-term. UN agencies and international and national NGOs are utilizing the opportunity, even out of necessity, to refocus the relationship and partnerships with local responders to ensure that assistance can be delivered effectively; mobilize the significant national capacity that exists in humanitarian operations to reinforce operations; and establish partnership agreements that are based on a spirit of mutual respect and working together as equals, and not only as implementing partners. 

Pg. 39 (Financial requirements): In agreement with Grand Bargain commitments, both existing and new donor funding should maximize flexibility (across the board rather than project by project) to enable rapid adjustments of the response that will be necessary in such a fast-evolving crisis. Most of the funding to UN agencies will be implemented through NGO partnerships. Whenever they are best placed to respond, this funding should be allocated as directly as possible to local and national actors. (continued on Pg.40) In addition, a simplified and harmonized approach to reporting and minimized bureaucratic processes will enable humanitarian partners’ timely and appropriate response.