European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Service tools

Aid efficiency

/echo/file/aid-efficiency_enAid efficiency

While humanitarian needs are increasing all over the world, international humanitarian funding is not growing fast enough to keep up with rising demands. The way humanitarian aid is delivered must become more effective and efficient in order to tackle these new challenges.

This is why, during the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the world's major donors and aid organisations signed the Grand Bargain – a deal aiming to improve the way we deliver humanitarian assistance.

The Grand Bargain covers topics that reflect long-standing demands in the humanitarian landscape and takes on board challenges faced by both donors and humanitarian organisations, including: gearing up cash programmes; harmonising reporting to reduce bureaucracy; carrying out better needs assessments; and increasing coordination with local actors.

Over the course of the past year, the 52 signatories to the Grand Bargain (including international humanitarian donors such as the European Commission, UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, non-governmental organisations, and local partners) have been working together on their shared commitments to deliver protection and assistance to people in need.
As a major global humanitarian donor, the European Commission is at the forefront of the discussion and implementation of the Grand Bargain commitments.

Key takeaways from the Grand Bargain goals:

1. Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors.

/echo/file/enhancing-engagement-between-humanitarian-and-development-actors_enEnhancing engagement between humanitarian and development actors

Humanitarian aid is crucial in the aftermath of an emergency and provides vital relief assistance ranging from water and sanitation to medicine, shelter and food. Development cooperation offers long-term solutions to structural problems affecting developing countries—such as: reducing poverty, ensuring sustainable socio-economic and environmental development, and promoting democracy and good governance. By working closer together, the two approaches can improve the living conditions of the world's most vulnerable people, increase their resilience and thus shrink humanitarian needs over the long term.

2. Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming

/echo/file/increasing-use-and-coordination-cash-based-programming_enIncreasing the use and coordination of cash-based programming

In situations of emergencies, humanitarian assistance delivered through cash transfers offers an alternative to more traditional forms of aid. Not only does cash provide more flexibility to address beneficiaries' needs, it also reduces delivery costs and fuels the local economy. The signatories of the Grand Bargain commit to increase the use of cash.

3. More support and funding tools to local and national responders

/echo/file/more-resources-local-and-national-responders_enMore resources for local and national responders

Local and national NGOs are valuable partners in crisis-affected contexts: they are often the first to respond when a disaster strikes; they are a part of the local communities and they are more perceptive of the local cultural and political dynamics in which they operate.  The aim is to increase financial support to local partners to 25% of global humanitarian funding by 2020 – it currently stands at 2%.  Increasing financial support to local partners and developing their competencies for better preparedness, faster response and resilience-building will improve the way we deliver humanitarian aid.

4. Digitalisation and humanitarian response

/echo/file/using-technology-improve-humanitarian-response_enUsing technology to improve humanitarian response

Throughout the past decade, access to digital tools and services has increased worldwide, offering new opportunities for more efficient, transparent, and accountable humanitarian aid The European Commission already promotes the use of digital tools and solutions in humanitarian operations, for example through the Enhanced Response Capacity (ERC) funds. Digitalisation is also enabling a faster, more accurate collection and analysis of data, and its use in all aspects of the humanitarian operations. The exponential growth of social media and messaging apps is also changing how people prepare for, respond to, and recover from different types of crises.  

Targeted support through funding mechanisms like the ERC can progressively establish new - and lasting - instruments and practices to allow humanitarians to be more effective.

5. A participation revolution: include aid recipients in decision-making which affects their lives

In the face of crisis, feedback from affected people is crucial. Strong participation and inclusion of the beneficiaries in the decision-making process ensures that the humanitarian response is relevant, timely and effective.

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