Localisation during Overlapping Responses: COVID-19
Pandemic & Tropical Cyclone Harold
- Executive Summary
There were nine named tropical cyclones during this 2019/ 2020 tropical season. TC Harold was the first Category 5 cyclone since TC Gita (in February 2018), and was stronger than TC Gita.
The 2019/ 2020 cyclone season had a number of additional disasters with both the measles outbreak in Samoa and the COVID pandemic across the Pacific region presenting concurrent emergencies.
The global COVID pandemic led Vanuatu authorities to declare a state of emergency on 26th March. This placed restrictions on a typical international response from humanitarian INGOs, and the TC Harold response became a situation of 'forced localisation'.
INGOs understand at an intellectual and ethical level the imperative of localisation, particularly as operational necessity during a public-health emergency, such as COVID.
While CID members have been able to effectively provide support through local partners during the TC Harold response, this does not necessarily constitute or address the concerns of localisation as identified by Pacific partners. Further work may be needed to clarify what an INGO localisation processes might actually involve operationally.
The barriers that New Zealand INGOs experience in being able to implement a more effective localisation relationship can be catagorised into four categories: vision and clarity of definition, funding, power relations and global/ local perceptions.
The experience of the overlapping crisis of COVID and TC Harold present five opportunities by which humanitarian INGOs can better support response activities that will progress a localisation agenda:
- The strengthening of partnerships and the improvement of complementarity,
- Support funding that allows national actors to directly support locally led responses,
- Support human resourcing solutions locally, particularly recruitment and local surge, 2
- Adapt systems, policies and processes to accommodate new ways of working, and 5. Support national coordination processes and mechanisms