7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

The Grand Bargain: implementing a humanitarian deal to leave no one behind

The Grand Bargain: implementing a humanitarian deal to leave no one behind

Key humanitarian actors discuss best practices, challenges and ways forward to make the Grand Bargain a reality

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 15:15 to 16:30

Key points

  • The Grand Bargain is a timely response to the significant increase in demand for humanitarian aid and the subsequent financing gap.
  • At the same time, the Grand Bargain attempts to reform humanitarian and development efforts in terms of transparency, inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency.
  • The role of local responders needs to be taken more seriously and be better recognised.
  • Consensus on Grand Bargain principles is welcome, but practicalities and continued implementation have still to validate the outcome.  


When the Grand Bargain was struck a year ago at the Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul by more than 30 of the world’s biggest donors, it could not have come too soon. Although worldwide deaths from famine had fallen dramatically until very recently – despite the devastating 2011 famine in Somalia – no less than four famine crises have emerged this year, with about 20 million people at risk of starvation in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, according to the UN. At the same time, man-made crises in Africa and the Middle East are far from subsiding.

With its 10 work streams, or series of tasks for reform, from ‘greater transparency’ to ‘enhanced engagement between humanitarian and development actors’, and its 51 commitments, the Grand Bargain aims to deliver an extra US$1 billion over five years for humanitarian aid, as well as greatly enhanced development efforts. The big donors have formed teams of two for groups of three work streams. The Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO) has funded an independent report assessing the Grand Bargain’s first year, to be published on 20 June 2017.

Germany’s priorities are increased use and coordination of cash-based programmes, harmonisation and simplification of reporting requirements, and more support and funding for local responders. All three priorities play important roles in humanitarian fieldwork. Germany has started pilot projects in Iraq, Somalia and Myanmar to implement envisaged reforms.

In Myanmar, it is clear that the principles and commitments of the Grand Bargain are a welcome change, but there is still some way to go until they become reality on the ground. Stringent and complex reporting requirements prevent an average of two-thirds of local responders to show they qualify for the direct funding promised by the Grand Bargain. More flexibility and simplified reporting will have to be introduced before this can be improved.

 At the moment, only 0. 4% of all humanitarian aid goes directly to local and national NGOs. The Grand Bargain promises to raise this to 25 % by 2020.   


The Grand Bargain needs to open up to more than just the big players that it currently includes to implement the reforms it promises.

Organised by

    François Goemans
    International Director, Donor Relations
    Action Contre La Faim
    Kathrin Schick
    Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies
    Alexander Sultan-Khan
    Desk Officer
    Federal Foreign Office of Germany
    Julian Srodecki
    Director of Innovative Financing - Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs
    Win Tun Kyi
    National Director
    Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) – Caritas Myanmar
    Androulla Kaminara
    Director of Directorate C, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific
    European Commission - DG for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
Photo gallery

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