human development, social justice and sustainable social systems


The signatories of the Grand Bargain, among which many European governments as well as the European Commission, commit to provide more support and funding tools for local and national responders. This goal is commonly referred to as ’localisation’.

Caritas’ partnership principle is closely related to localisation, giving us the chance to reflect and expand on this fundamental aspect to deliver efficient humanitarian action.

The Grand Bargain
The Grand Bargain is the outcome of the first World Humanitarian Summit, which was held in Istanbul in 2016. It brought together thousands of representatives of the humanitarian community, including local and international NGOs, UN agencies, governments and private sector representatives. The Grand Bargain aims to provide faster and better assistance to the people in need, increasingly as directly as possible through their own means.

The Grand Bargain is made out of ten work streams. Through a survey carried out by Caritas Internationalis, national Caritas organisations confirmed their direct engagement in some of them. Support to local partners, multi-year planning and financing, cash assistance, participation revolution and the humanitarian-development nexus are among the work streams Caritas is working on.

Local organisations are essential humanitarian actors
When a disaster strikes, local organisations and local communities are usually the first emergency responders at the front. Religious institutions are often the first place where victims can find refuge and shelter. As an organisation linked to the Catholic Church, Caritas is present in local communities and almost always at the heart of an emergency, well placed to offer the best support possible for the people in need. At the same time, first responders may themselves also be directly affected and very often experience significant financial limitations. Yet, they continue to provide vital support, responding in a variety of important and undervalued ways, such as by addressing spiritual, psychosocial, physical and material needs, supporting the response of other humanitarian actors by negotiating and securing access to the disaster zone, conducting needs assessments, facilitating distributions and often taking the role of the main local interlocutor. Local actors know the best solutions for the affected communities; they are well informed about the available resources and can take into consideration local customs and culture.

Caritas stands for localisation
Caritas Europa, as one of the seven regions of Caritas Internationalis, fully supports the localisation effort pledged in the Grand Bargain and encourages its member to do so too. We also advocate the European Institutions to respect the commitments they undertook on this specific topic.

In 2018, the Caritas confederation carried out a survey on localisation, receiving feedback from members in 80 countries on 6 continents. Caritas is built on principles of subsidiarity, solidarity, autonomy and strong partnership for a principled and effective humanitarian assistance. As a confederation, we subscribe to the following commitments:

  • We recognise the role of national and local partners as first responders;
  • We commit to include capacity building for the responding agency in all emergency responses;
  • We support national responders in accessing direct funding from international donors and advocate for making this possible;
  • We acknowledge the importance of full cost recovery for project operations and contributions to indirect costs in humanitarian response;
  • We support and promote the expertise and influence of national members in humanitarian coordination mechanisms.

Read more in Caritas Internationalis’ position paper on localisation and partnership in humanitarian action.