Rethinking Capacity and Complementarity for a more Local Humanitarian Action

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Nov 11, 2019 | Overseas Development Institute, Varonique Barbelet,

A new division of labour between local and international humanitarian actors is being called for, so as to understand local dynamics better; to bring about greater complementarity of actions, and greater acceptance by and accountability to affected people, thus leading to better outcomes. To make humanitarian action as local as possible and as international as necessary, the Overseas Development Institute launched a two-year research project on capacity and complementarity in 2017. In this paper, Veronique Barbelet explores the project’s two central questions:

  • How can capacity be better understood and applied to support more complementary and collaborative humanitarian responses; and
  • what are the opportunities for, and obstacles to, harnessing the capacity of, and forging more effective complementarity among, local, national, regional and international parties responding to humanitarian crises?


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