“We are learning a lot and changing because we have been impacted by many crises. Now, we are moving from donor-recipient to more horizontal partnerships. We are transitioning from a silo to more participatory action which is part of resilience-building. We are moving from vertical and centralized aid to localisation. We are moving from standalone interventions... to platforms, to coalitions. Localisation agenda is also an agenda of complementarities between those from the grassroots to the rest! We complement each other.”
UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator
The humanitarian sector has been discussing localisation for over 25 years. The World Humanitarian Summit, the Agenda for Humanity, and the launch of the Grand Bargain in 2016 were major initiatives to reform the humanitarian system to make it fit for the future. In the last five years there has been a push for more concrete implementation of localisation commitments at country level. This report presents key findings of the country level dialogue carried out in the Philip-pines between February and July 2021 and aims to serve as a localisation blueprint, a plan of action, with concrete recommendations to be taken forward by various stakeholders.
The multi-stakeholder dialogue process
The initiative to map the state of localisation through multi-stakeholder dialogue was seen to be the first step in raising awareness of the commitments, understanding country level progress, documenting the good practices already existing and mapping the way forward. The Philippines country level dialogue is part of a global effort to promote better understanding and implementation of the Grand Bargain localisation commitments. As part of its commitment as the 63rd signatory of the Grand Bargain,
the Alliance for Empowering Partnership (A4EP) committed to support such dialogues in country through a collaborative process. In the Philippines, the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (ECOWEB) took the lead in the process in collaboration with the UN OCHA Philippines, Oxfam Philip-pines and A4EP and with leadership support from the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. The dialogue process was organised in collaboration with various CSO networks in the country, including the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), Philippines Preparedness Partnership (PHILPREP) and Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP).
The objectives for the country dialogue process were to promote and institutionalise the implementation of Grand Bargain commitments on localisation and the participation revolution at the country level as well as to devise a localisation roadmap for the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team. The dialogue also assisted in creating a greater sense of momentum and providing the space to explore synergies and linkages with existing humanitarian coordination mechanism, donors and Philippine INGO networks, private sector, local and national CSOs and national authorities. Lastly, it sought to identify opportunities and challenges to localisation and to develop a county level plan of action and a tracking mechanism, which are crucial to the success of localisation in-country.
The dialogue process took place between February and June 2021 and consisted of focus group discussions (FGDs) with representatives of communities affected by crisis in six regions in the Philippines and with humanitarian responders. In total these consultations reached 504 participants – 268 from humanitarian agencies and 236 from the affected communities. The online survey for humanitarian responders that mapped the state of localisation of humanitarian actions in their respective agencies was completed by 63 respondents from the CSOs and 15 from the UN agencies and INGOs. The series of online intra-network dialogues had a total of 155 participants from national and local CSO networks, government agencies, INGOs and UN agencies, and private sector humanitarian groups operating in the Philippines. The process culminated in a multi-stakeholder dialogue on June 10, 2021, with close to 100 participants identifying key actions to move forward the localisation in the country. It also brought to the fore the insights and findings from the community FGDs, online survey and the series of online dialogues among humanitarian stakeholders. Annex 6 lists the organisations and agencies who have participated in the process.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and the major stakeholder groups involved in the process committed to take forward key action points identified in the dialogue. The Seven Dimensions Framework for localisation –(i.) Relationship Quality, (ii.) Participation of Affected Populations, (iii.) Quality of Relationship and Partnerships, (iv.) Quality of Funding and Financing, (v.) Capacity, (vi.) Visibility and Credit Sharing, and (vii.) Humanitarian Standards and Policy - was used as a framework for systematic analysis of localisation commitments.
Kimberly Go Tian from the Philippine government’s Disaster Response Management Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) noted during the multi-stakeholders’ dialogue that “the actions toward localisation are aligned with the upcoming implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia Ruling by 2022, which aims to enhance the service delivery of local government units through enhanced decentralization of basic services of the government.” She then emphasised the importance of developing the road map and the importance of coordination among various actors, in order to better provide effective and efficient programs in crisis-affected communities.
Below are key findings and recommended actions to move forward the localisation of humanitarian action in the Philippines.