Esteemed Partners and Colleagues,
We appeal to you as citizens working in the Humanitarian and Development sectors in Jordan, and as representatives of local organizations registered in accordance with Jordanian law to carry out their duties in public affairs, relief and development based on our decades of professional and technical expertise in addition to our special understanding of the history of the Middle East and its social, political, cultural, and religious work dynamics, which after the repercussions of the work in this sector, especially in light of the Syrian crisis, prompted us to establish a National Alliance – Jordan National Forum (JONAF) to address humanitarian crises, in 2018. JONAF started to play a role in the follow-up of several important agendas, specifically the “Humanitarian Action Localization” agenda. This agenda is the result of the 2016 World Summit on Humanitarian Action in Istanbul, which called for the universal human order to be committed to the inclusion of local and national representatives in the planning and implementation of humanitarian action to ensure that humanitarian needs are met quickly and effectively and in accordance with the principles of humanitarian action. Local actors play an important role in meeting the needs of people affected by crises as they ensure the sustainability of interventions so as to prevent futures crises, they serve as a way to localize knowledge and institutionalize the partnership between the government and civil society organizations, they help to overcome weaknesses and divisions between organizations working in the same region, and assist in resolving problems regarding funding dependencies so as to encourage a sustainable development approach. Many experts and specialists have deliberated on the idea of local humanitarian action, or “local response”, and the role of community participation and effective work with communities affected by crises and conflicts, in important documents such as: Localizing Humanitarianism, Missed Opportunities Series, the 2015 IFRC World Disasters Report and the document of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies: The New Way of Working Examined, Localizing the Response. Jabal Amman, Third Circle, Zuhare Malhas ST, bldg# 8, 2nd Floor, Tel: +962 (6) 4617277 Fax: +962 (6) 4617278, P.O. Box 930560 Amman 11193 Jordan www.ardd-jo.org Page 2 of 3
UN resolution no. 61/134 encouraged member States to provide an enabling environment for building the capacity of local authorities and local and national NGOs. This has been confirmed by many of the documents ratified by Jordan, such as the Charter of Change and the Grand Bargain, to transform these efforts to institutionalized action within specific agendas, procedures and timelines by local and international NGOs aiming to implement changes in the way the humanitarian system works collectively and within a locally targeted response.
However, the support for this approach did not go to action. Through our experiences on the ground and the monitored suffering of many local actors in coping with the acute shortage of funding without losing important capacities that they have built in previous years, we appeal to decision makers and primary stakeholders to give due consideration to the following recommendations with the utmost urgency:
Promotion and Facilitation of:
I. Equal Partnerships between INGOs and LNGOs in emergency and development response
A. Decentralize relief planning in favor of local partnerships for context-driven, multi-stage, long term sustainable interventions.
B. Oversight/Accountability Mechanism: Flexibility in national policy/legislative structures that guide, empower, and facilitate operations as per INGO capacity and LNGO needs.
II. Fair distribution of resources to local NGOs
A. Eliminate/minimize current multi-layered funds appropriations and establish direct line of funding engagement with LNGO to better assess needs, to ensure maximized/efficient allocation and use of resources and long term “ROI”.
B. Simplify and offer varied funding modalities as per LNGO intervention needs.
The current responses to and strategies for addressing humanitarian crises in Jordan are foreign-led and foreign-managed in the absence of an effective role for LNGOs. Although we affirm our belief that humanitarian interventions are essential to save lives and to mitigate the disastrous effects of conflict in the short term, they must however better engage and involve local organizations in pursuit of local context-driven perspectives to ensure better management of these issues.
Currently, only a fraction of funding from the international aid community goes directly to local actors, meaning that foreign organizations, which often lack direct regional and local understanding, are also the organizations that set responses and programming. This hierarchical process disconnects aid sources from its beneficiaries and situation on the ground. Historically, it has led to unrealistic and unfeasible strategies for addressing local needs. The INGOs must endeavor to change this approach or risk wasting increasingly scarce resources and further the impact of the crises. Jabal Amman, Third Circle, Zuhare Malhas ST, bldg# 8, 2nd Floor, Tel: +962 (6) 4617277 Fax: +962 (6) 4617278, P.O. Box 930560 Amman 11193 Jordan www.ardd-jo.org Page 3 of 3
We reaffirm that local actors are the closest and most capable of communication with beneficiaries targeted by response plans, they are cost efficient, hold deep understanding of context and most importantly will remain in country after the immediate emergency response, ensuring sustainability of assistance and service to vulnerable groups. While there has been an increase in rhetoric towards supporting local actors, the lack of genuine engagement with local NGOs reflects a disingenuous attempt to empower them.
We hope to support the Jordanian civil society organizations locally and nationally and advocate for its effort on a global level to achieve its commitments from the international community and implement the before mentioned decisions. The upcoming conferences to be held in both London and Brussels are considered an important strategic platform to ensure this support and commitment.
Since their inception, Jordanian civil society organizations have been working on a participatory approach to the implementation and development of relief and development programs, recognizing that this approach is the cornerstone for achieving more effective and sustainable results for societies.
JONAF therefore recommends that the international community adopt this approach, especially if we are to meet humanitarian needs in accordance with humanitarian principles, quickly and effectively and at a lower material cost, ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals in Jordan, led by Jordanian civil society organizations at different phases and on different humanitarian action levels, contributing to dialogue, mediation, conflict resolution and the realizations of human dignity. We hope that action will be taken to realize the objective of this movement in support of the spirit of unity and cooperation and urge key decision-makers to implement the recommendations mentioned in this statement and to find effective solutions to the crises in the region.
We thank you for your unprecedented efforts in maintaining stability and security for development and humanitarian work, and in strengthening the role of local actors in Jordanian civil society.
CEO of Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)
General Coordinator of the Jordan National Forum (JONAF)