The Grand Bargain, a package of 51 non-legally binding commitments organised around ten thematic work streams, was signed in May 2016 between 18 donor countries and 16 aid organisations to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian aid. As signatories to the Grand Bargain agreed to undertake annual independent reviews of progress made against these commitments, in June 2017, the first independent report was released by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI), with the involvement of the CHS Alliance.

A year later, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on behalf of the Facilitation Group to produce the second report. The analysis was primarily based on the interviews with, and the 46 self-reports submitted by signatories, as well as a review of other available documentation and consultations with external stakeholders.

Overall, ODI found that important progress has been made in terms of cash programming, participation revolution, and multi-year planning and financing, and some progress with regard to integrating gender as a cross-cutting issue. Remaining key challenges include uneven progress against the commitments; lack of clarity on the collective end goal; the sheer breadth and scope of the 51 commitments; differing views on how the Grand Bargain should relate to country-level operations; and a lack of visible leadership and engagement at the political level.

The report mentions the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) along with the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) and the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) as existing mechanisms that have driven progress for Workstreams 3 (cash programming), 6 (participation revolution) and 7 (multi-year planning and financing).

Reporting against commitment 6.3, which is about strengthening local dialogue and harnessing technologies to support more agile, transparent but appropriately secure feedback, many organisations highlighted their implementation of commitments 4 and 5 of the CHS. In addition, ZOA noted that the CHS self-assessment process encouraged fresh learning on beneficiary accountability and participation, and the development of new practices, including setting up complaints mechanisms. For commitment 6.6. focusing on funding of community engagement and participation, SIDA has reported on funding a CHS Alliance/Ground Truth Solutions project on ‘strengthening accountability to affected populations and applying the Core Humanitarian Standards’ in Chad.

Read the full report here.