Local stakeholders, ranging from municipalities, other local authorities, national NGOs and CSOs to volunteer groups, have been at the forefront of the humanitarian response in Ukraine, following the invasion by the Russian Forces on February 24th, 2022. They provide immediate and invaluable life-saving support to conflict-affected people and hard-to-reach areas, reaching the most vulnerable people.
ACTED and PIN have scaled their existing programming in the Donbas region to expand to more than 18 offices between them and delivery of multi-sectoral assistance to all 24 oblasts of Ukraine, including through close cooperation with their network of 350+ local partners and actors. Despite their inherent capacity and reach, the majority of CSOs and volunteer groups are facing difficulties in accessing international funds, supply chain, equipment, and staff. The humanitarian system – with its heavy contractual, accountability and risk management procedures – is ill-equipped to harness these local capacities and operationally realize “localization”. A further complication for local actors is the humanitarian system’s commitment to principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, in a context where, for local actors, military, political, economic and humanitarian issues are inseparable. International humanitarian coordination mechanisms also struggle to adequately incorporate aid efforts of local authorities’ humanitarian efforts in planning and coordination. This panel discussion will explore how the humanitarian system can realize its “localization” commitment in Ukraine and distil learnings and practical recommendations on better resourcing of and coordination with local response actors, with the overarching goal of developing more equal partnerships that center around collaboration toward shared goals and responsibilities.
Organisers: ACTED and People in Need (PIN)