Heba Aly, CEO of The New Humanitarian, said that a locally-led approached must be used in order for the world to keep up with the rising humanitarian needs due to climate change, conflict and rising government debt.
“There will never be enough money for the rising needs, especially in light of the trends that we’re seeing that will drive continued exponential increase in humanitarian needs. Aid work is reaching its limits financially, operationally, structurally and ethically,” Aly said.
Aly added that the current humanitarian response model is no longer possible when “the whole world is in a crisis”.
“We saw that in Covid-19, but we’re going to see it even more during climate change, as the impacts become more and more widespread. As one aid worker told me, there isn’t an operation big enough for all of these crises. Second, the man-made solution that humanitarian aid is, by definition, makes sense when crises are temporary. But when they last six to eight years on average, sometimes decades, it’s just not operationally efficient to give people short term aid year after year.”
Aly said that locally-led aid can be realised by merging with INGOs, subcontracting to local organisations and challenging the make-up of the Security Council.
“Localisation becomes not just shifting the center of power in humanitarian aid, but shifting the international architecture that makes humanitarian aid necessary in the first place.”
“It might not seem realistic … but think of the things that once seemed impossible. The women’s right to vote, the end of Apartheid. Someone dared to try.”
“Knowing that the current approach to humanitarian response is incapable of meeting future needs causes the moral imperative to change. Localisation isn’t about improving the way you operate, it’s about ensuring that you can continue to meet your mission.”