Development for Peacebuilding: Four Years of Crisis and Conflict Response

After the explosion in the port of Beirut, emergency and long-term relief efforts are being organized. Credit: Ammar Abd Rabbo / AFD

The Minka Peace and Resilience Fund is France’s official development assistance tool dedicated to crisis situations, armed conflicts and the weakening of states and societies, with one objective: to contribute to the construction of a sustainable peace. Led by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group, it currently covers, via four Initiatives, the priority crisis areas for France’s foreign policy: the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Middle East. Four years after its launch in 2017, it is time for us to look back at its 2020 results.

MINKA, A FUND FOR THE FUTURE AND A CATALYST FOR CHANGE

A change in mentality and timeframe. The Minka Fund marks a real internal revolution at AFD, with substantial financial resources (nearly 200 million euros per year) and increasingly well-trained teams.  The Agency can now remain operational in crisis and conflict zones and is even launching new projects there. The time seems long gone when AFD had to suspend its operations when a zone was in the red and had no dedicated resources. With the constant ambition of responding to the essential needs of populations, AFD wanted to have a more rapid response capacity, with rapidly visible results. The Minka Fund therefore aims to “achieve initial results in the field within three to six months of allocation”.  In 2020, nearly three quarters of the projects financed by Minka meet this objective.

Under the Minka CAR Initiative, the SAMBBA project is an illustration of this new operating mode. Implemented in three months, it has made it possible to support access to food for marginalised populations and peri-urban market gardening in Berbérati and Bambari. 70% of households in the Bambari area have seen their access to food improve [1] and 79,653 animals have been vaccinated in order to strengthen the resilience of livestock owners with family farms in the region. In Mali and Burkina Faso, the mobilisation of appropriate instruments, such as the crisis intervention tools (OICC), supports this rapid approach with an average appraisal time of two months.

New topics. In this vein, AFD has taken on new issues such as prolonged forced displacement and psychosocial care. For example, in Lebanon, the PNSM project provides technical assistance to the national mental health program, a dedicated university degree and the strengthening of community mental health services. Implemented with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Médecins du Monde (MDM) and the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), today 1,888 people have been able to access this care.

The same entrance. Minka projects are always identified as close to the field as possible via AFD’s field agencies and Regional Directorates (RDs). In order to benefit from the Fund, the project must be in line with the intervention logic of the Initiative in the crisis basin concerned. In the Sahel, it will contribute to preventing and curbing violent conflicts by strengthening the social link between communities and confidence between populations and their institutions; in the Lake Chad Basin, to curbing violence and strengthening social cohesion by mitigating the vulnerability factors linked to the Boko Haram crisis; in CAR, to accompany the exit from the crisis and support peace-building; and finally, in the Middle East, to mitigate the vulnerabilities generated by the displacement of populations and strengthen the resilience of host countries (to find out more about this initiative, discover its online photo exhibition).

A new way. Beyond these geographies, Minka is a tool for the future. Although the resource is protected for four defined basins, it has made it possible to export methods and procedures to other areas. AFD has developed financing through calls for “crisis and post-crisis” projects (APCC) applicable to any location that has suffered their consequences over the past 12 months. These modalities specifically target support to civil society organizations or non-profit entities.  Within this framework, a call for projects was won by CARE France for Colombia and Ecuador. These tools provide flexibility that was previously inconceivable for AFD – and which remains so for other donors: the possibility of modifying the budget on the basis of a simple no-objection notice from the Agency, or a “miscellaneous and unforeseen” line that is slightly larger than that of classic AFD projects. This approach aims to go beyond the funder/CSO relationship and move towards a partnership model where project co-instruction is the rule.

Projects, all evaluated, in an adapted manner. The Minka Fund places monitoring-evaluation and accountability at the heart of its identity, thanks to the systematic implementation of monitoring-evaluation mechanisms adapted to fragile or conflict-sensitive contexts. With the help of its partners, these systems allow AFD to adapt the frequency of data collection and analysis. They respond to the challenges of volatility: logical frameworks that are more sensitive to the context and dynamics of conflict and increased accountability to the final beneficiaries of projects. In 2020, the estimate is significant: 6 million additional people have seen their living conditions improve thanks to Minka funding.  Initiative-by-initiative accountability mechanisms are also strengthened. For example, in the Middle East, a platform has been developed to monitor the progress of projects with very precise indicators.

A dedicated team. Reporting to the Director of Operations, the Fragility, Crisis and Conflict Division (CCC) supports the technical, geographical and agency units in monitoring projects, using a multi-sectoral approach. As co-leader of the Minka Peace and Resilience Fund, its mission is to assist teams in appropriating methods specific to crisis zones and to encourage partnerships with actors specialising in these areas. But its mandate does not stop there. Crises, disasters, conflicts… all dimensions of fragility are dealt with by CCC and all geographies can call on it.

SAMBBA project// Credit : Pierre Terdjman /AFD

MINKA, FROM PREVENTION TO THE HUMANITARIAN-DEVELOPMENT NEXUS 

In 2020, 460 million people will be living in extreme poverty in fragile countries, i.e. almost 80% of the world total.[2] AFD’s historical presence in many regions (more than 70 years in CAR, 60 years in Mali and Niger, 40 years in Haiti, 22 years in the Central African Republic and the Caribbean) means that it has had to adapt to act before, during and after crises and conflicts.

Prevent, mitigate and rebuild. The Minka Fund fits into this timeframe with one objective: to consolidate peace. Preventing a new outbreak of crises or its spread based on warning signs (such as the expansion of abuses by armed groups), mitigating the effects of conflict on vulnerable populations (such as the situation of protracted mass displacement) and rebuilding in a more sustainable and secure manner (after conflict-related destruction, for example). In Iraq, the PERMA project (’10 million), with Mercy Corps, Triangle Génération Humanitaire and Public Aid Organization, is helping to revive the rural and agricultural economy in the Nineveh Governorate. Today, 15,800 animals have been treated in mobile veterinary clinics and nearly 2,000 farmers will eventually be supported. The Minka projects therefore address both the determinants and the direct consequences of the crisis.

With humanitarian actors, of course. In four years, AFD has made the humanitarian-development nexus a major focus of its efforts. It is now central to Minka projects in volatile contexts and often with strong security issues. 43% of the Minka Fund’s commitments go to French, international and local civil society organisations (CSOs). [3] Humanitarian actors are unique partners in understanding and accessing these territories. This cooperation also allows humanitarian organisations to benefit from multi-year funding (three to four years), to go beyond the direct provision of goods and services, to be part of a long-term dynamic and to strengthen the capacities of local actors.

*Distribution of commitments by project owner over the period 2017-2020

  • French, international and locals OSC : 43%
  • Governments : 32% 
  • French and international operators : 11%
  • International Organisations and other funders : 6% 
  • Others : 4%
  • Private Sector : 2%

MINKA, A PARTNERSHIP APPROACH ALSO IN THE EMERGENCY AND STABILISATION PHASES

Continuous learning. AFD has learned a great deal from emergency actors, which has inspired the implementation of adapted procedures to allow for a more rapid appraisal. AFD and its Fragilities, Crises and Conflicts team evaluate these measures on an annual basis with a view to continuous improvement. The explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020 is a perfect example of AFD’s reactive response capacity while at the same time being part of a development logic where, in the framework of the Minka Middle East Initiative, AFD mobilized an additional 13 million euros in a few weeks to help the city recover. Moreover, in line with the Humanitarian Emergency Fund’s actions, AFD’s first activities started four months after the disaster.[4] Beyond this major event, in Lebanon, AFD has for example taken over the post-flood emergency action of the Crisis and Support Center (CDCS) by financing a long-term component of a risk prevention project.

AFD platform. In the framework of Minka projects, AFD works in a Group format – alongside Expertise France and Proparco – and as a French team, hand in hand with diplomatic, defense, research, humanitarian and stabilization actors. The CDCS is a key partner: where AFD will have medium- to long-term tools to deal with the protracted consequences of crises and their underlying causes (feelings of marginalisation of certain socio-economic groups, exclusion of youth in a society in transition, etc.), the CDSC will be the actor best able to carry out emergency and stabilisation actions. The final beneficiaries and the funded actors may be similar, but the means and logics of intervention will be different, as they are complementary. Exchanges are regular, from the field to Paris, with the establishment of links between their projects. For example, in Irbid, Jordan, the CDCS financed the first phase of a drinking water programme and the AFD the second.

MINKA, CHALLENGES TO BE MET SO THAT NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND

A capacity to adapt to any situation – even the COVID-19. Minka projects leave no one behind and systematically support actions that benefit the most vulnerable – marginalized groups, refugees, displaced persons and host populations. Strong attention is also paid to the specific needs of women in conflict contexts – 78% of Minka projects have a gender equality objective, making AFD one of the main contributors to the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda. The inclusion of youth is also central. For example, the MediaSahel project (nine million euros) in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with the French Media Development Agency (CFI), has enabled 169 partner radio stations to broadcast 3 962 programmes in 10 languages to inform and encourage citizen debate. In response to Covid-19, 392 videos and programmes were also broadcast to combat the spread of the virus. The pandemic and the difficulties of accessing the field make inter-actor coordination even more important. Minka projects have taken this into consideration and have adapted. For example, the ADELAC project (10 million euros) in Chad, with the International Rescue Committee (IRC-UK[5]), raised awareness among 27,613 people about prevention measures in the face of the epidemic, in addition to gender-based violence, 79% of whom were women and children.

MediaSahel Project // Credit: Studio Tamani / Hirondelle Fundation

The HDP nexus. Studying ways to implement the humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) nexus in the field, under the best conditions for each stakeholder, is also one of AFD’s challenges with the Minka Fund. In the framework of its actions to prevent conflicts, increase conflict sensitivity and strengthen social cohesion, far from positioning itself as a tool for defence, Minka projects ensure respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) and the constraints of its partners. The definition of this nexus does not always meet with consensus. AFD’s approach is more in line with a humanitarian-development nexus “enhanced” by a dimension of conflict sensitivity. Many examples of its Minka projects are part of this vision: WASH Menaka with the International Rescue Committee, DIZA with Concern & Caritas or RESILAC with Action Contre la Faim and CARE.

MINKA, CLEAR PERSPECTIVES

“In the absence of rapid, significant and solid measures, the combination of the VCT-19 pandemic and the weight of conflict and climate change will put the achievement of the MDGs and the end of poverty by 2030(1) out of reach.”

Geographically. As the main operator for implementing France’s development policy, AFD has a central role to play in preventing and limiting the consequences of crises and conflicts. The Pathways to Peace report[6]  and many other studies since then have shown how development actors must contribute to this. However, not at any cost: by learning from their partners who have been present in these areas for many years. 653 million allocated since its launch in 2017

Is this enough to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? The question remains for MDG16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, ensure access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Without coordination, it is certain that we will not.  This is the meaning of AFD’s investment in the Sahel Alliance, its coordination as a French team, with other European and international donors. Minka is a significant means of creating leverage effects. In Lebanon, in addition to the 59 million euros from the Fund, nearly 100 million euros have been mobilized from the European Union.

In line with the CICID commitments, most of the Minka Fund goes to the Minka Sahel Initiative (almost half of its commitments over the 2017-2020 period, and African initiatives account for around two-thirds of commitments). While 2019 was an exceptional year, 2020 saw a decrease in funding, but on the Minka Sahel Initiative, it has been safeguarded. Continued support to continue development actions in this area where the number of internally displaced people has quadrupled since 2019, from 490,000 to more than 2 million, 80% of whom are women and children[7] ; where 8.9 million people have suffered from acute food insecurity; where access to essential social services has decreased: 3,891 schools and 150 health centres were closed[8], or non-functional, in the Liptako-Gourma region alone.

The last third of commitments is for the Minka Middle East Initiative in support of the Syrian and Iraqi crises where, in line with the position of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, AFD does not operate directly in Syria. The political conditions do not allow for effective development or recovery aid in line with the “do no harm” principle.

At the thematic level. Because the health situation catalyses the consequences of existing crises, particularly on the most vulnerable populations, in 2021 Minka will continue to support health and socio-economic inclusion projects for young people. Because actions in support of the protection of women, the consideration of their specific needs and their participation in peacebuilding projects must remain central, in 2021 Minka will continue to spearhead the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda.

Because 2021 is a key year for living together and for peace, the promotion of human rights and justice, and the achievement of the MDGs, the French Development Agency will be there with the Minka Peace and Resilience Fund, alongside its partners.

Jean-Bertrand Mothes, Head of the Fragility, Crisis and Conflict Division (CCC) of the French Development Agency

 


[1] Percentage calculated on the basis of their Food Consumption Score (FCS)

[2] OECD (2020), Fragile States

[3] These figures total AFD’s consortia lead partners. The share of funds channelled through French, and especially local, NGOs is underestimated.

[4] Main financial instrument of the CDCS

[5] IRC-UK is leading a consortium of NGOs formed with COOPI, I&D and PADIESE.

[6] 2018 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank1818 H Street NW Washington, DC 20433

[7] UNHCR (2021)

[8] OCHA (2020)

Globl Humanitarian Assistance Report 2020 – Key figures

Development Initiatives has published the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report for 20 years now. It provides a detailed picture of the funding of international humanitarian assistance through a wealth of accurate data.

You will find here a summary of the 4 chapters of this report.

Enjoy reading it!

Resources

You will find here the PDF of the complete Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2020.

You should watch the animated summary of the GHAR 2020.

Chapter 1: People and Crisis

This first chapter draws a global image of the spread of poverty around the world. It connects this phenomenon with countries experiencing protracted crisis.

It focuses on gender, stating that “women are often disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises”, while they are also “disadvantaged by gender inequalities and vulnerabilities”. The difficulty to access gender-disaggregated data in aid spending hinders our capacity to evaluate the extent to which “women and girls are affected in humanitarian crises”. According to existing figures, “ODA1 relevant to gender-based violence (GBV) has increased gradually since 2016”. It represents, however, only 0.7% of total ODA.

Data from the report enables to create a map of people affected by crisis, and in need of humanitarian assistance. The authors estimate that 215.6 million people living in 69 countries are in need of humanitarian assistance. 57% of them live in 10 countries. Of these 10 countries, only 4 are among “the 10 countries receiving the largest volumes of funding through UN appeals”.

Chapter 2: International Humanitarian Assistance

International Humanitarian Assistance falls for the first time since 2015

“In 2019, total international humanitarian assistance from governments and EU institutions and estimated contributions from private donors decreased by US$1.6 billion to US$29.6 billion.” This is a 5% fall, which follows 4 years of growth. This sharp decrease is mainly due to “a fall in funding from governments and EU institutions, which decreased by 8%”.

On the opposite, UN appeals increased by 5%, and requirements met increased, from 60% to 64% in 2019.

The volume of international assistance provided by the 20 largest donors reduced in 2019. Indeed the trend of slower growth lasts since 2014. It was interrupted in 2018 by the exceptional contributions from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They increased their contribution by 1.8 billion USD in 2018, and reduced it by 1.5 billion USD the next year. As a result, regional contributions from the Middle East and North of Sahara fell by 44% in 2019.

On a regional scale, only Europe increased slightly its contributions by 1.9%. This is driven primarily by “a large rise in international humanitarian assistance from the UK, rising by 24%”. 

Finally, the authors note the significant role of private donors, which contributions “have consistently made up just over a fifth of total international humanitarian assistance”.

The largest recipients, a stable group, experiencing protracted crisis

This very clear figure shows the 10 largest recipient of international humanitarian assistance in 2018.

To keep in mind :

  • Syria did not receive the largest amount of assistance for the first time in seven years.
  • The increase in assistance to Yemen is due to Middle Eastern donors: “In 2017, 29% of total funding to Yemen came from these two donors [UAE and Saudi Arabia]. By 2018, this proportion had grown to 69%”.
  • The largest recipient are a relatively stable group, because most of them experience protracted crisis.
  • Outside the 10 largest recipient, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and Niger saw major increase in funding received.

Finally, this chapter focuses on ODA targeting disaster risk reduction. International humanitarian assistance for Disaster Risk Reduction gains importance as “climate change is likely to have (…) profound and long-lasting impacts on people’s lives”. It appears that this specific ODA is well targeted to countries at “very high” or “high” risk or natural catastrophe. ODA with primary focus on Disaster Risk Reduction represents, however, only a small proportion of total ODA, varying between 0.5% and 1.7%.

Chapter 3: Funding for effectiveness and efficiency

The total international humanitarian response in 2018 was of 31.2 billion USD. Channels of delivery of this assistance have not changed much since 2017. Governments mostly give to multilateral agencies (62%), while private donors continue to donate in majority to NGOs (89%, which represents 56% of the total funding to NGOs). When we take into account both governments and private donors, “funding to NGOs (…) as a proportion of total international humanitarian assistance decreased from 35% in 2017 to 30% in 2018”.

Sharp fall of direct funding to local and national actors

Data on the beneficiaries of funds allocated to international humanitarian aid are not easily accessible. Indeed, “beyond funding to first-level recipients, there continues to be a lack of data on subsequent transactions,” making it difficult to analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of aid spending.

Data analyzed by Development Initiatives, including OCHA FTS2 , show that direct funding to local and national actors has been significantly reduced in 2019 . Thus, in the diagram above, we can see a decrease, both in proportion and volume, in direct funding to local and national actors.

UN pooled funds, which provide a flexible, country-led funding option under the Country-based pooled fund (CBPF), increased by 25% in 2019. However, this increase is mainly due to a 55 percent increase in funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and not from the CBPFs.

“NGOs receive more than two thirds of the funding allocated from CBPFs”, however 65% of CBPF funding allocated to NGOs aimed at international NGOs, while 35% targeted local and national NGOs. CBPFs are an important source of funding for local and national actors, but they “remain a small part of total humanitarian assistance, representing just 4% of total public donor contributions in 2019”. There are also wide differences between country-based pooled funds: for instance, “the Iraq Humanitarian Fund allocated 0.9% of its funding to local and national NGOs, while the occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund allocated 36.9%”.

“Quality funding”, an option favored during the Grand Bargain, but still little used

The last part of this chapter focuses on “quality funding”, which encompasses unearmarked and multi-year funding. While multi-year funding have largely increased, “unearmarked funding as a proportion of total funding has decreased steadily since 2015”, and its volume dropped in 2019 below 2015 levels. A great increase was seen, however, regarding the use of cash and voucher assistance (CVA), which volume has grown steadily since 2015.

In 2016, at the World Humanitarian Summit, the five largest donors and the six largest UN agencies signed a document of 51 decisions to make aid more effective. This is called the “Grand Bargain“, which today has 61 signatories (24 states, 11 UN agencies, 5 intergovernmental and Red Cross organizations and 21 NGOs). Improving traceability and the flexibility of the funds allocated were major points of this report. However, the authors, here and later in the report, clearly show the difficulty of access to reliable and comparable data, as well as the lack of flexibility in the funds released. It is difficult, after reading this report, to conclude that good progress has been made by States and international donors on the points raised during the Grand Bargain.

Read more on the Grand Bargain, here, on Défis Humanitaires.

Chapter 4: Crisis financing to the Covid-19 pandemic response

Covid-19, a pandemic with multiple consequences, has a negative impact on international humanitarian aid

This last chapter analyzes crisis financing to the Covid-19 pandemic response. While requirements and needs have largely increased due to the pandemic, resources, including ODA, have reduced. Indeed, “total UN humanitarian appeal funding requirements for 2020 have already reached 37.7 billion USD, 25% higher than in June 2019”. Simultaneously, resources, such as foreign direct investment, tourism, remittances etc., fall because of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Development Initatives calculated that “total ODA may fall from 2019 levels of 153billion USD to, at best, 143 billion USD in 2020 (…) At worst, total ODA may fall to 139 billion in 2020 before falling further to 134 billion USD (a 12% reduction) in 2021”. These projections are likely to severely affect countries, as “ODA represents more than a quarter of all government expenditure for a third of countries within the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP)”.

In June 2020, 20% of the 37.7 billion USD of UN humanitarian appeal funding requirements had been met, “with the same proportion, on average, of requirements fulfilled for the Covid-19 appeal and for other humanitarian appeals” – donors did not prioritize Covid-19 response to other crises. Although it is a bit lower than the 23% of requirements met June last year (2019), it is higher in volume by 578 million USD.

The delivery of aid varied from usual, as a lower proportion was allocated directly to countries, with “a sixth of total allocations going to global support services”.

Repartition of total appeal funding related/non related to Covid-19

2020 – not Covid-19 related 2020 – Covid-19 related
Directly to countries’ plans 83% 74%
Support services 17%
Regional Response plans 17% 8%

Who gives and to whom? The main donors of the response to Covid-19 are the same as those providing the largest volume of humanitarian aid in 2019

As of donors, they mostly are the same as usual: “the three donors providing the largest volumes of international humanitarian assistance in 2019 are the largest donors to the Covid-19 response”. Namely the US, Germany and the UK, who provided 44% of total grants from public donors to the Covid-19 pandemic response.

The international humanitarian assistance to fight Covid-19 mostly channeled through UN agencies: “As of 24 June 2020, almost three quarters of the total international humanitarian assistance to the Covid-19 response was channeled through multilateral organizations”.

92% of this went to four UN agencies, namely:

  • The World Health Organization (38% of funding to UN agencies and other multilateral organizations)
  • The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (24%)
  • The World Food Programme (17%)
  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (13%).

In comparison, NGOs received less than usual, with “just 5.1% of the total international humanitarian assistance for Covid-19 – compared to an average of 19% directed to NGOs and CSOs by governments between 2014 and 2018”.

Covid-19, what to learn from the financing of this crisis?

Let’s end this article on a positive note. There is one benefic aspect to this health crisis, that is the greater flexibility in funding it imposed on donors. UN agencies issued new flexibility guidelines, promoting re-programming of existing funding, lighter process for negotiation and disbursement, and simplification of processes such as due diligence and reporting. These aspects are in line with Grand Bargain decision to increase flexible funding. The question remains whether it will last beyond the pandemic or not?

 

Madeleine Trentesaux

[1] ODA – Official Development Aid

[2] UN OCHA- FTS – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid- Financial Tracking Service