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The Grand Bargain in 2021: an independent review

Research report

Written by Victoria Metcalfe-Hough, Wendy Fenton, Patrick Saez, Alexandra Spencer

The Grand Bargain was first agreed in May 2016, bringing together representatives of 19 donor countries and 16 international aid organisations from the United Nations, international non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with a goal of realising more efficient and effective humanitarian action. Five years later, 2021 brought a strategic shift as the Grand Bargain and its signatories adopted a narrower set of objectives and related adjustments to structures and ways of working.

This transition was driven both by what had been achieved to date in the various thematic areas of the original Grand Bargain framework from 2016, and by lessons identified from the previous five years on how to maximise the outcomes of this multi-stakeholder forum. The transition process – both its conceptualisation and its implementation – also took place against the backdrop of massive pressures on the international aid system, including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in the last quarter of the year.

This year's annual independent review analyses the progress achieved and challenges faced by signatories towards the commitments during 2021. These are summarised in the infographic below.

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