ICVA, together with the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has developed a briefing paper on the importance of localisation in humanitarian practice. The paper highlights the necessity for the increased localisation of aid, articulates some of the benefits (as well as some of the perceived concerns) and unpack the concept of localisation, acknowledging that ‘local’ is not a homogenous entity, but represents a diverse set of actors, working from varying and often distinct ideologies and at different levels. The paper posits that, whilst the localisation of aid must occur, all humanitarian action cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of local actors. However, how ‘the international’ engages must change, and look to ‘reinforce, not replace’ local systems, using the comparative advantages of an increasing range of diverse humanitarian actors. The paper discusses key factors blocking concrete steps towards the localisation of aid, notably the resistance of the established humanitarian system to cede power, control and resources.
This paper was developed by Sherine El Taraboulsi, James Schell and Raphael Gorgeu. The paper was completed in May 2016 and informed through feedback and guidance from a small group of ICVA members strongly engaged in practice and discussions around the localisation of aid.