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Grand Bargain annual independent report 2020

Research reports

Written by Victoria Metcalfe-Hough, Wendy Fenton, Barnaby Willitts-King, Alexandra Spencer

Hero image description: cover_web.png Image credit:Hannah Bass Image license:© HPG

In May 2016, representatives of 18 donor countries and 16 international aid organisations from the UN, international NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement agreed a ‘Grand Bargain’. This outlined 51 commitments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of international humanitarian aid.

This fourth annual independent report assesses the collective progress made by signatories against the commitments under the Grand Bargain during 2019. 

Four years into the process, this report finds that the Grand Bargain is having a wider impact in terms of a more cohesive, collaborative approach across the international humanitarian aid sector – crucial to help drive forward reforms of the whole humanitarian system.

However, this report also finds a continuing failure to address the long-standing challenges that have inhibited positive change. As the Grand Bargain enters its final year, the report recommends four key areas of action that will be vital for lasting change:

  • Institute a global agreement on coordination of cash programming.
  • Increase funding for strengthening local actors’ institutional capacities.
  • Roll out the harmonised narrative reporting template to all downstream partners globally.
  • Increase the quality of funding by combining predictability and flexibility.

The review process for 2019 was undertaken in early 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded across the world. International aid responses to the pandemic in crisis contexts are accelerating progress in cash assistance, localisation and quality funding, and could push forward further gains in these and other areas. But there are key risks and challenges ahead – locking in progress made once the urgency of the pandemic has passed and the expected global economic recession starts to bite will be key.

The potential implications of Covid-19 are explored in the accompanying briefing note, The future of the Grand Bargain: a new ambition?

Victoria Metcalfe-Hough, Wendy Fenton, Barnaby Willitts-King and Alexandra Spencer

The report was first published on 18 June 2020 and was updated on 17 December 2020 to correct an error in the data.