Donor perspectives on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus: Follow-up questions

On 11 September, ICVA and PHAP organized the fifth and final session in the learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. After having explored how the three main types of actors in this nexus view the current processes and discussions, it was discussed on how donors are approaching the issue.

This fifth and final session of the learning stream on the "nexus," featured Barbara Lecq from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Hugh Macleman from the OECD, and Barnaby Willits-King from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). While many of the questions from participants were answered during the event (listen to these in the event recording), there were more questions than there was time for, and the guest experts have answered follow-up questions in writing, which you can now read on this page.

Oftentimes, the divisions between humanitarian and development work are a direct result of divisions of donor funding streams (ECHO v. DEVCO; OFDA vs. USAID, etc.) - so how are donors aligning funding allocations to tackle HDPN initiatives?
 - Regional Emergency and Post Crisis Officer, Thailand

 Barbara Lecq

UK funding to DFID country offices is allocated based on the development and humanitarian needs in those countries. Funding to country offices does not distinguish between humanitarian and development financing. Instead, the share of resources that goes to humanitarian and development programming is informed through a shared analysis of the challenges at country level and coordinated planning. We therefore try to ensure that these processes can also be used to help identify the most effective approaches to addressing short-term needs and longer-term risks and vulnerabilities.


You’ve reminded us that most aid goes through bilateral channels. My question is two-fold: what space do donor governments have to shape their bilateral aid in a way that it addresses the most vulnerable? But on the other hand, is it fair to recipient governments, that the bilateral aid they receive be focused on vulnerability, creating a possible imbalance with investments in other types of development priorities? In other words, is bilateral aid effectively off limits for the nexus and should it be that way?
 - Policy Advisor, Switzerland

 Barbara Lecq

The UK priority is to tackle extreme poverty, and help build more inclusive, stable and resilient societies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and Leave No One Behind. At country level we therefore weigh what combination of actions is more likely to help deliver this vision most effectively in the long-run, whilst addressing people’s short-term needs most effectively.UK bilateral aid is therefore allocated in country based on careful consideration of policy priorities of the host government, needs, risks and vulnerabilities on the ground, and opportunities for transformative investments.


You seem to focus on contributions from humanitarian action to the nexus. But the nexus is about much more than that, right? It would seem at least as important to discuss how much development resources are applied towards the nexus (including humanitarian priorities).
 - Policy Expert Forced Displacement and Development, Denmark

 Barbara Lecq

For the UK, the humanitarian-development-peace nexus requires humanitarian, development and peace stakeholders and programmes to work together, based on their comparative advantage, to help address the interconnected challenge of fragility, recurrent and protracted crises, to help end extreme poverty and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

In Jordan and Lebanon, the UK has been supporting a new approach to refugee crises through refugee compacts. Under these compacts, we are supporting for instance formal and informal education through development financing, to enable education systems to better cater for the needs of refugees, and make sure that refugees and local communities have access to quality education. This approach complements our humanitarian programmes in those countries, which promote in particular the use of multi-purpose cash.


How will we safeguard humanitarian principles throughout the approach?
 - Social Protection and Humanitarian Advisor, Germany

How will we maintain and preserve humanitarian principles while we add the peace component to the humanitarian-development nexus, as per the Grand Bargain commitment?
 - Policy and Communications Officer, Belgium

 Barbara Lecq

For the UK, building coherence between humanitarian, development and peace approaches means we should strive to improve collaboration across our teams and the international system, to deliver more effective solutions to address needs and reduce vulnerabilities and risks over time. This should be done through a joint analysis of risk, needs and vulnerabilities and the identification of an overarching collective vision (or ‘collective outcomes’) that will contribute to the long-term delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Collaboration should take place based on the comparative advantage of humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors, with due respect for principled humanitarian action.

Strengthening collaboration across humanitarian, development and peace stakeholders should in no way mean that humanitarian planning becomes subservient to a political agenda. Further to protect principled humanitarian action and affected populations we should:

  • Avoid or minimize adverse effects of aid on populations through sensitivity to conflict dynamics.
  • Ensure that development and peace programmes and policies have no unintended negative impact on the humanitarian space and on the provision of humanitarian assistance, on the protection of humanitarian actors and on their access to populations.
  • Consider at programme design stage how programmes may impact resilience, local systems, markets and institutions, and crisis risks and humanitarian needs, and develop risk mitigation approaches to minimise those risks.
  • Consider how peacebuilding and mediation initiatives between parties to a conflict might help progress humanitarian negotiations or strengthen humanitarian access, and contribute to reinforcing respect for International Humanitarian law (in consultation with the humanitarian community).


What are the expectations of donors for measuring impact in this NEXUS space given that many of the activities will be innovative/experimental and will require a high degree of flexible/adaptive programming which doesn't match well with the current reliance on logframes and pre-agreed indicators?
 - Resilience and Fragility Advisor, UK

 Barbara Lecq

In fragile and conflict-affected states and in protracted and recurrent crises, implementing more effective development, peace and humanitarian approaches calls for more flexible and adaptive programming. DFID policies promote more flexible and adaptive programming, and investments in learning and evidence to support innovative programming.

DFID supports the Global Learning for Adaptive Management (GLAM) initiative together with USAID, implemented through a consortium led by the Overseas Development Institute. GLAM aims to help the international community with their uptake of adaptive management principles and practices. It also seeks to generate quality evidence about effective monitoring, evaluation and learning for adaptive management, and to act as a catalyst to change thinking and practice.


You can access the rest of the Q&A as well as further resources on the event page