InterAction would like thank Sigrid Kaag for her strong leadership as Eminent Person and to welcome Jan Egeland to the role. As a Grand Bargain signatory since 2016, and former representative on the Facilitation Group (2017- 2019), InterAction is looking forward to seeing Mr. Egeland build on the legacy that has already been established and take the Grand Bargain process forward in a dynamic direction.
Over the course of the previous five years, we have been encouraged by the collaborative, calibrated efforts and investments of Grand Bargain signatories under its first iteration and have deeply valued the Grand Bargain process for bringing together major actors in the humanitarian system to explore ways to more efficiently and effectively serve people in need of humanitarian assistance. However, given that much work remains to direct the focus of humanitarian efforts where they can achieve the greatest impact, InterAction therefore supports the continuation of the Grand Bargain in future years.
InterAction remains committed to encouraging NGOs and the broader humanitarian community to use the Grand Bargain commitments as a catalytic framework for meaningful change. We agree with the two Enabling Priorities under the Grand Bargain 2.0 framework, as increasing the flow of quality funding to frontline actors and ensuring local organizations lead and are funded directly are critical areas for progress in the humanitarian field. However, we urge that robust efforts be made to further define the barriers to achieving these goals and to focus on addressing the areas most critical to unlocking them. Advancement on these two essential priorities is heavily contingent on addressing underlying issues that have limited progress to date.
Specificity to Ensure Accountability in the Grand Bargain 2.0
InterAction agrees with narrowing the focus of the original Grand Bargain commitments into two critical Enabling Priorities, guided by lessons learned by the humanitarian community over the past five years of Grand Bargain discussion and implementation. We also strongly support the Outcome Pillars as a useful organizing framework to clarify pathways to achieving them.
However, we are concerned with the lack of specificity and designated targets in the remainder of the proposed framework, specifically with regards to the outputs and activities. We also note that linkages between the 2.0 proposal and the initial Grand Bargain commitments are limited, with little clarity as to how specific components of the first iteration, such as the Workstreams, will fit into this second stage. Clearly defined targets, metrics, and standards are essential to orienting signatories around common goals and ensuring adequate progress is made and measured. Furthermore, the “quid pro quo” element that was so critical to the spirit of the Grand Bargain does not feature clearly in the 2.0 framework. This has been essential to bringing different constituents in the humanitarian system around the table, recognizing that they all had to embrace institutional change to arrive at better humanitarian outcomes and use of limited resources. Without a clear and equally compelling quid pro quo agenda going forward, we remain concerned that key actors in the system will not feel committed to engaging and that the initial spirit of the 2016 agreement may be lost. InterAction would therefore advocate that more effort be invested after the Annual Meeting to refine the 2.0 proposal to identify the root causes of the barriers to progress on the Enabling Priorities, identify specific areas of focus, targets, and activities to address them, and ensure the “quid pro quo” approach is reflected in the framework. Without doing so, progress will be uneven, and commitments open to interpretation by each signatory.