What they Said - NEAR's Media Coverage for the WHS
The recently concluded World Humanitarian Summit continued an important conversation on reshaping aid. Many are calling for the recognition of local response and an investment in strenghtening them to ensure that they do their work more effectively. For NEAR, the success of the summit will be measured by improving equity in decision-making, and financing and resource allocations to local and national actors and affected communities.
For now, here is what the press is saying about the summit and the launch of NEAR.
"The name NEAR was deliberately chosen by the new network to acknowledge the vital role played by its local members, who are closer to their communities and often first to respond in times of crisis."
"What we have is proximity and intimate understanding of our communities, along with local credibility and trust," - Degan Ali, Executive Director of Adeso and Chairperson of NEAR
3. The Guardian : New deal on humanitarian financing signed at summit in Istanbul
“At the moment we know very little about what happens to the money after it passes from donors to UN agencies and international NGOs. We know that it is often transferred on to other organisations before it reaches people in need, but lack of reporting prevents us from understanding those transaction chains better. Publishing to IATI on funding given and how it’s spent can begin to transform that.” - Charlotte Lattimer, of Global Humanitarian Assistance
4. Global Resilience Partnership: World Humanitarian Summit: GRP bolsters resilience portfolio - announcing its engagement with two new support network
"We need a critical mass of organisations working together to affect change. Both initiatives deliver a cohesive and strategic approach to humanitarian crises and are responsive and flexible enough to stay nimble to changing demands. Through doing so we can close the gap between the traditional aid system and the communities it aims to serve and bring about faster, more targeted change."
5. IRIN News: The Wrong Future
There's no disagreement within the humanitarian community that we need to embrace change if we want to be prepared for the future – but what if we're preparing for the wrong future?
6. The Independent: Global network to monitor use of humanitarian aid
“It will monitor localisation, how much is the aid transaction cost, and how much is going to local NGOs. NEAR will put emphasis on the demand side of localisation." - Rezaul Chowdhurry
7. The Morning Bell: New ‘Global network’ launches ahead of WHS
“In the past, south to south collaborations have had to go from south to north and then north to south.” - Manu Gupta, SEEDS, India.
“The people that give the funding want to know: ‘how many people, how old are they, where are they from, what are they doing?’” says Tuson.
These are impossible metrics for Small Projects Istanbul to give. Ages and numbers change dramatically as each new wave of refugees arrives. Others are moving on, to Germany, or want to try at least. “This is a mobile community. Some of them stay. Some of them move on. Some of them get the right to work. Some of them don’t. So you need to be able to support them in a flexible way.”
9. Thomson Reuters: Going local will help build disaster resilience
The arguments for a more direct way of working are not complicated. Local actors work at the heart of their communities and can respond to disasters immediately. They are also there for good, long after international aid workers have left.
"One of the recurring challenges facing the global humanitarian system is how to fund it. For too long, the vast majority of money has been spent among a small number of agencies, with less than 2% of available funds going to local NGOs. At the World Humanitarian Summit, leaders agreed to commit to increase the percentage of funds available to local NGOs from 2% to 25% by 2020."
11. IRIN News: The World Humanitarian Summit: winners and losers
"As expected, “localisation” came out a winner in the discussions, with a target agreed in the Grand Bargain to direct 25 percent of humanitarian funding “as directly as possible” to local and national agencies. The summit also saw the long-awaited launch of NEAR, a network aiming to “reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships”. Twenty-seven international NGOs also signed the new Charter4Change, committing to passing 20 percent of their funding to national NGOs by 2018 (and publishing that percentage transparently) as well as addressing the negative impact of recruiting local staff into international NGOs, thus draining local organisations of their capacity."
12. Cordaid: One grand bargain and two big elephants
"There is one outcome of Istanbul van den Berg is particularly pleased with. “Local humanitarian NGOs from crisis areas all over the world were very present during the summit. They took the initiative to set up a worldwide network, NEAR, to promote linking and learning.”
13. IRIN News: Twitter Highlights of the World Humanitarian Summit
A selection of the highs, lows, key moments and memorable quips of the summit
14. NGO Advisor: "The Summit is a golden opportunity": DRC talks WHS
"I don’t think anyone thinks that there won’t be humanitarian needs after Istanbul, or that we will develop a completely new framework for ensuring better protection and aid delivery overnight. But this is an important and needed step towards coming together, addressing the root causes for displacement, and looking into how we can be better at be humanitarians. And with this step being taken and finally being placed so high on the agenda, we believe that there is a momentum for actually changing this."
"A major takeaway from the subterranean caverns of the Istanbul Congress Centre was how the persistent knocking on the door by national NGOs was recognised in the announced ‘Grand Bargain’ on humanitarian funding. One of the provisions is that by 2020 one quarter of funds should be funnelled their way, making such organisations, as IRIN noted, ‘one of the winners’. It was welcomed by the ‘Near’ movement of national NGOs (see site here) which was launched the day before the Summit opened with the stated intention to ‘reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships’ . Even so, another major impression from this first ever humanitarian summit was how far the system as a whole seems to be away from being able to implement what is implied by so much talk about community approaches. "
16. CAFOD: CAFOD analysis of outcomes and next steps
"Much will now depend on next steps. As the World Humanitarian Summit Chair’s summary notes explain, there will be a vast, publicly accessible‘Commitments to Action Platform’ which is intended to hold stakeholders to account for commitments made. However, as yet there are no clear indications of how this will happen. There are likely to be proposals for moving the Summit commitments and the ‘Agenda for Humanity’ forward at the UN General Assembly in September through intergovernmental and inter-agency channels as well as via the platforms, partnerships and initiatives launched at the Summit."
17. Low Interpreter: Istanbul humanitarian summit aims for peaks,lands in foothills
'Localisation' was all the rage, with the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR) being launched by 20 southern INGOs. Driven by a sense of disempowerment and injustice arising from decades of lousy engagements with the 'system' of donors and northern INGOs, who purport to support but override and bypass Southern actors, the network claimed they were not getting mad but hoping to get even. 'Don't give us more capacity building in humanitarian response standards, give us 10 percent overheads to build our organisations in the same way as INGOs have grown fat over decades,' they demanded.
18. Alliance Magazine: Philanthropy's presence and potential
"Within the new grand bargain struck in Istanbul, there is a clear aim to increase efficiency and improve delivery of humanitarian aid. The door remains open for philanthropy to join this conversation, beyond our 0.013% of attendees in Istanbul."
19. Cash Learning: Tying the (humanitarian) knot:
"If you’ve ever organised your own wedding, or attended someone else’s, then you can understand what happened during the World Humanitarian Summit."
20. Lowy Interpreter: Istanbul humanitarian summit aims for peaks, lands in foothills
"The humanitarian system, created at the end of World War II and comprising five or so large donors, a cluster of UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and half a dozen international non-government organisations (INGOs), is sclerotic. Increasingly professional and rarefied, with principles that are being openly flouted by states, it is unable to meet demand and apparently unable to reform itself. What is to be done?"
21. Solidarity Now: The first UN World Humanitarian Summit: Results, omissions, and future goals
"The “localization” of aid was also an important agreement of the discussions, as the Grand Bargain affirmed it will direct 25 percent of humanitarian funding in a more direct and efficient manner to local and national agencies. The Summit also marked the launch of NEAR, a network aiming to “reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships”. Twenty-seven international NGOs also signed the new Charter4Change, committing to passing 20 percent of their funding to national NGOs by 2018."