The Grand Bargain Bimonthly Updates - May 2020

Published Date

Dear Grand Bargain Signatories,

As the COVID-19 response demonstrated that the Grand Bargain commitments are more relevant than ever, we have been including the COVID-19 lens in all our discussions in preparation of the Annual Meeting 2020. We addressed this in several meetings with the workstream Co-convenors (further information below in the newsletter), and the constituency-level consultations last week were another opportunity to further concretise how to accelerate progress during this time to make aid more efficient and effective. These discussions will culminate in our Annual Meeting, which will take place on 25 June 2020 as scheduled. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will take place online (and not in Geneva as planned) only in the afternoon from 14.00 onwards (Geneva time), to accommodate the time difference. Please note that the Annual Meeting will be structured in several thematic sessions, and some modules will likely be spread out (either on Wednesday or Friday, 24 and 26 June 2020, also in the afternoon).  We will communicate further details shortly. 

Your self-reports have demonstrated progress in several areas, including in cash, quality funding,  localisation, and needs assessments. The findings have been shared with the Signatories for review in a draft Annual Independent Report, which will be finalised and published in June 2020. In the meantime, you can read the self-reports here. ODI will also develop a short think-piece, separate from the report, looking into expected results in 2021, the impact of COVID-19, and what could the future post-2021 look like.

Finally, we are very pleased to share with you two stories of the Grand Bargain in Practice - one on how UNFPA's humanitarian action thematic fund is reducing transaction cost, and one on how IFRC is improving humanitarian responses through community feedback data. You will find more details in the newsletter below. 

Happy reading and best regards,
The Grand Bargain Secretariat 

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, the humanitarian community has been responding to the rapidly evolving needs. As a result, donors, UN agencies, Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and NGOs have been adapting their response to make it more effective and efficient. We can only address crises such as COVID-19 by accelerating the Grand Bargain commitments in the spirit of quid pro quo.

Click here to see the visual and the examples of adaptation

Latest from the workstreams

For further information or to reach out to the workstream Co-convenors, please contact the Grand Bargain Secretariat at

Workstream 1 (Greater Transparency)

New IATI Humanitarian Data Portal launched

Grand Bargain transparency workstream Co-convenors, the World Bank Group and the Government of the Netherlands launched the new IATI Humanitarian Data Portal to support greater transparency of humanitarian assistance. The portal enables users to explore the humanitarian assistance provided by some of the world’s largest donors and humanitarian organisations.

Workstream 3 (Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming)

Strengthening cash assistance in response to COVID-19

The Grand Bargain workstream on increasing the use and coordination of cash-based programming has pivoted quickly and flexibly to support the global response to COVID-19, and developed two papers to reflect what is being done:

Workstream 7 & 8 (Enhanced Quality Funding) 

Friends of Gender

Guidance notes on how to promote gender equality through the Grand Bargain commitments

The Grand Bargain Friends of Gender Group published new guidance notes on how to promote gender equality through localisation, participation, cash and voucher assistance and humanitarian needs assessments. The technical guidance notes have been developed by UN Women, with inputs from bilateral donors, UN agencies and INGOs, who are members of the Grand Bargain Friends of Gender Group, as well as local women’s organizations. The Technical Guidance Notes are how-to guides, with checklists and additional resources listed. >> Click here to see the guidance notes

Latest from the Facilitation Group

Coming up

Our priorities for the next few months include:

  • Following up on the meetings in May 2020 (including the meeting with the Eminent Person Ms Kaag on 19 May 2020, and the meeting with the Co-convenors on 12 May 2020)
  • ODI's independent think-piece to inform our discussions at the Annual Meeting (separate from the Annual Independent Report), looking into expected results in 2021, the impact of COVID-19, and what could the future post-2021 look like
  • Annual Meeting on 25 June 2020, with sessions also foreseen on 24 or 26 June 2020, which will bring all the Signatories together online - the Secretariat will share more information in the following days 
  • Ensuring a follow-up to the recommendations of the Annual Independent Report 2020, forthcoming in June 2020, together with the finalisation of our workplan in the last few months of our tenure

Recap of recent activities

In the last two months, we focused our efforts on contingency planning to make sure that we were able to move forward with the scheduled meetings (annual workshop with the Co-convenors, meeting with the Eminent Person, Annual Meeting) that bring an important momentum to the Grand Bargain as they allow us to take stock of the progress and chart our actions for the year to come. We are pleased that ODI have done such a great job yet again to deliver us a quality report on time (despite the COVID-19 circumstances) that gives us an important indication of what we need to do before 2021 to achieve further gains in efficiency and effectiveness. Some of the areas the ODI provides recommendations to further push progress include cash coordination, predictable multi-year funding, localisation (especially strategic partnerships) and uptake of the harmonised reporting template (8+3). The Co-convenors already discussed this in four different thematic Working Groups and at a plenary meeting at Sherpa level. The outcomes will importantly inform our Annual Meeting.
Should you have any questions or suggestions in relation to the work of FG, don’t hesitate to contact the Secretariat.

Latest from the Signatories

Self-reports 2020 available 

This year, a record 95% Signatories reported by the deadline for 2019 (59 out of 62 Signatories), which importantly demonstrates your commitment and engagement. The analysis of the findings from the self-reports will be published in the Annual Independent Report. In the meantime, please find the links to the self-reports here

The Grand Bargain in Practice

UNFPA’s pooled fund reducing the costs of humanitarian response

UNFPA’s Humanitarian Action Thematic Fund (HTF) shows that flexible, predictable and multi-year funding reduces transaction costs, and enables a comprehensive response to people in humanitarian settings. >> Click here to read the full story  

IFRC improving responses through community feedback data

As part of its Grand Bargain commitment and approach to ensure people and communities affected by crises influence humanitarian responses, IFRC has been championing its real-time community feedback mechanism during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They gathered more than half a million individual insights (ranging from feedback, rumours, concerns and misconceptions) from affected people in less than two years – and acted upon them. >> Click here to read the full story