Turning the Humanitarian System on its Head: Saving lives and livelihoods by strengthening local capacity and shifting leadership to local actors | Aids | Non Governmental Organization

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The global humanitarian system is overstretched
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  OXFAM RESEARCH REPORTS JULY 2015 Oxfam Research Reports  are written to share research results, to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy and practice. They do not necessarily reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Oxfam.  www.oxfam.org TURNING THE HUMANITARIAN SYSTEM ON ITS HEAD Saving lives and livelihoods by strengthening local capacity and shifting leadership to local actors TARA R. GINGERICH MARC J. COHEN OXFAM AMERICA The global humanitarian system is overstretched, investing inadequately in risk reduction and prevention, and providing assistance that is often insufficient, inappropriate, and late. Humanitarian action led by governments in crisis-affected countries, assisted and held accountable by civil society, is usually faster and more appropriate, saving more lives and alleviating the suffering of many more men, women, and children. Yet, during 2007  – 2013, less than 2 percent of annual humanitarian assistance went directly to local actors. This system must change, with locally led humanitarian action whenever possible; adequate funding to state and non-state actors in affected countries; and stronger partnerships between international and local actors, focusing on strengthening local capacity.  2 Turning the Humanitarian System on Its Head CONTENTS Executive summary .......................................................................................... 5  W hat‘s wrong? ................................................................................................ 5   Who‘s  wrong? ................................................................................................. 6   What wrong to right? ....................................................................................... 7   1 Introduction ................................................................................................... 8  W hat is ―local‖, and other definitions  ................................................................ 9   Methodology ................................................................................................. 10   Organization of the report ............................................................................. 10   2   W hat’s wrong? An opaque and overstretched global humanitarian system ............................................................................................................. 11  Demand outstripping supply .......................................................................... 11    Assistance arrives too late ............................................................................ 13   Lack of investment in local capacity .............................................................. 14   W hat‘s right? Importance of country ownership ........................................... 18   3   W ho’s wrong? No incentives or institutional accountability  ................... 23  Major international actors .............................................................................. 23   National governments in crisis-affected countries ......................................... 32   4   What is the critical wrong to right? ........................................................... 36  Inadequate, unbalanced global humanitarian financing ................................ 36   5   New pathways in righting the wrong ......................................................... 38  More locally led humanitarian action, with clear role for international actors . 38    Adequate funding to local actors ................................................................... 40   Better partnerships and capacity-strengthening ............................................ 41   O xfam‘s approach to partnerships and capacity -strengthening .................... 43   Conclusion .................................................................................................... 44   Notes ............................................................................................................... 45    Turning the Humanitarian System on Its Head 3  ACRONYMS  AHA Centre ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance  ALNAP Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action  ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations  AU African Union CAFOD Catholic Agency for Overseas Development CAR Central African Republic CBHA Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies CEPREDENAC Central American Integration System‘s Coordination Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America CERF Central Emergency Response Fund CHF common humanitarian fund CRGR Concertación Regional de Gestión de Riesgos CRS Catholic Relief Services DAC Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development DAC CRS DAC Credit Reporting System DFID UK Department for International Development DI Development Initiatives DRC Democratic Republic of Congo DRR Disaster risk reduction ECHO European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States ERF emergency response fund EU European Union FTS OCHA Financial Tracking Service HFA Hyogo Framework for Action INGO international non-governmental organization ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross IDP internally displaced person IFRC International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies LNGO local non-governmental organization L/NNGO local or national NGO MSF Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) NGO non-governmental organization NNGO national non-governmental organization NRC Norwegian Refugee Council  4 Turning the Humanitarian System on Its Head OCHA UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ODA official development assistance OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development UN United Nations UNHCR UN Refugee Agency UNICEF UN Children‘s Fund  USAID US Agency for International Development WFP UN World Food Programme
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