The Money Where it Counts protocol was presented at an event in Brussels on 25 September 2019 by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Humentum, with the support of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies (VOICE) Network. The event was attended by 65 participants representing six governmental donor agencies, three United Nations agencies, 40 NGOs, as well as the Red Cross and the Grand Bargain Secretariat. The event was also live streamed through an open link (no participants’ information was collected); two additional UN agencies and an NGO are confirmed to have joined the event online.
The protocol presented at the event is the result of four years of work by NRC, initially in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group and subsequently in partnership with Humentum. The design of the protocol was led by Humentum acting as an independent broker of an agreement among nine NGOs (NRC, ACF Spain, CARE, DRC, Humanity and Inclusion, Oxfam GB, Save the Children International and UK, Welthungerhilfe). Over the course of several months since the last quarter of 2018, Humentum analysed each participating NGO’s cost structure and cost charging methodology to design an intensely practical solution for harmonisation, which required compromises for every participating NGO and is applicable well beyond the initial group.
"The Money Where It Counts Protocol sets out a new, harmonised and simplified approach to cost classification, cost charging and financial reporting for international funding of not-for-profit agencies. It is a collaborative initiative between not-for-profit agencies working internationally, which have come together to make these proposals. The complexity and cost of the current approach to cost classification, cost charging and financial reporting is unsustainable given the growing humanitarian financing gap. By signing up to this Protocol donors and not-for-profit agencies will make the delivery of humanitarian aid and development more efficient and fit for purpose."
At the time of the event, six of the nine NGOs involved already endorsed the protocol, with the remainder (ACF Spain, DRC, Oxfam GB) currently assessing the changes necessary before making a decision.
In line with the next steps outlined during the presentation, NRC and Humentum will focus on mobilizing resources through bilateral advocacy efforts to initiate a pilot project. Meanwhile, interactions with potential endorsers of the protocol will continue and intensify in preparation of the need to identify a core group of donors and implementing agencies to participate in the pilot project. Donors, UN Agencies, and NGOs interested in resourcing, endorsing, or participating in a pilot project were invited to get in touch with the NRC focal point Luca Peciarolo or NRC Geneva Poliyc team.
Please find below the full summary, including the main highlights, list of participants, the agenda, and the recording of the event.
Organised by the World Bank Group and the Netherlands as the Co-conveners of the transparency workstream together with Development Initiatives (DI), the second Grand Bargain transparency workshop was held on 14 May 2019 at the Centre for Humanitarian Data in the Hague. Over 50 participants attended the workshop, representing government donors, multi-lateral agencies, aid organisations and academic institutes. The meeting built on the outcomes of the 2018 Transparency workshop which identified three key priorities for the workstream and four criteria for determining success, based on the transparency commitments.
The workshop in the Hague brought together colleagues working on transparency, information sharing and data at both technical and policy levels within Grand Bargain Signatory organisations as well as the broader humanitarian and open-data communities in order to:
Review overall progress in implementing the Grand Bargain transparency commitments and discuss the workstream’s planned activities and next steps;
Share learning and good practice on how data might be or is being used, including data responsibility in humanitarian action; and
Begin developing a sustainable vision for humanitarian transparency beyond the Grand Bargain.
The workshop was preceded by a technical pre-meeting on 13 May 2019 that captured learning from the FTS-IATI pilot, which is supporting several Grand Bargain signatory organisations in reporting their funding to OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS) using IATI data and explored what organisations can do to publish better data.
Please find the key takeaways, outcomes, and next steps below.
One of the commitments under the “Reduce duplication and management costs” Grand Bargain workstream is to “reduce duplication of managements and other costs through maximising efficiencies in procurement and logistics for commonly required goods and services”. UNHCR, co-convener of the workstream is working with WFP to deliver on this commitment. When the UN family spends annually USD 18 billion in procurement of goods and services, the savings it generates could amount to hundreds of millions. UNHCR and WFP are leveraging this UN reform opportunity to deliver on the Bussiness Innovation Group (BIG) targets.
In the fall of 2018, the BIG established a dedicated inter-agency Project Team made up of staff from UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP and WFP to design and pilot methodologies to deliver the Secretary-General’s targets set by his December 2017 report (A/72/684). The BIG targets and enablers interconnect and provide the framework and performance requirements that involved partners attempt to achieve in advancing common business operations.
In particular, the enablers aim at providing the foundation to create a field of transparency and accountability for service providers and recipients, the building blocks for enhanced programme delivery under the SDGs.
Please find below an update on the progress to achieve the BIG targets.
Following the conclusion of the pilot phase of the harmonized reporting template, the 8+3 template has been finalized. The feedback from pilot participants was reviewed and some of the elements of the template were adjusted slightly to improve the usability of the template and the clarity of language.
The findings of the final review confirmed that most users view the 8+3 template as a significant improvement compared to existing individual donor templates. The review process underlined that the 8+3 template represents a useful tool to reduce the reporting burden for partners, while providing the necessary information for donors.
At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Bargain, the 8+3 harmonized narrative template was highlighted by the Eminent Person as a success of the Grand Bargain that can now be scaled up. Adopting the finalized template represents a crucial opportunity for Signatories to implement their own individual GB commitments to harmonize and simplify reporting requirements, but also offers an opportunity to achieve collective progress regarding system-wide harmonization. The more donors adopt the 8+3 template as a standard, the greater the benefit of harmonization of the 8+3 template, reducing the reporting burden across the humanitarian system. Some donors and UN agencies have committed to do so already, but more Signatories need to adopt the template in order to achieve the collective progress that the Grand Bargain intends to achieve.
The Co-Conveners of Workstream 9, Germany and ICVA, as well as GPPi remain available to give guidance to Signatories interested in adopting the template.
NRC and Humentum are pleased to invite you to the launch event of:
Money Where it Counts
A protocol for harmonised cost classification and financial budgeting and reporting
The event takes place in Brussels on 25 September hosted by ECHO and supported by VOICE.
The purpose of the Money Where It Counts protocol is to introduce sector-wide improvements and harmonisation in cost classification and charging, as well as financial budgeting and reporting. The event is the culmination of a four-year project, and its purpose is not only to present the protocol, but to seek endorsement, buy-in, and support for the next phase of the initiative, for which we envision the creation of a pilot project.
More details can be found in the invitation enclosed. Documents relating to the initiative, as well as the protocol itself, will be shared with registered participants ahead of the event.
RSVP for the event can be done at this LINK by 6 September.
This review report details the results of the ‘Harmonizing Reporting Pilot’ and the experience of donors and partners with the harmonized reporting template, also called ‘8+3 template’. Piloting the harmonized reporting template for the last two years showed that most users view the new template as a significant improvement over existing donor templates, because it simplifies and standardizes the narrative reporting process considerably. As such, the new harmonized reporting template is an important building block in achieving the Grand Bargain commitment to “simplify and harmonize reporting requirements.“
Please find below the final review of the pilot, the latest version of the 8+3 template and the guidance on using the new harmonized template.