Meeting Between the Swiss Development Agency and Members of the Localization of Humanitarian Action Initiative in Yemen

Representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) met today with members of the Localization of Humanitarian Action and Optimization of its Response Mechanisms initiative in Yemen to discuss the reality of the humanitarian response in Yemen and to hear the voice of civil society organizations.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Hussein Al Suhaily, Founder of Tamdeen Youth Foundation and Coordinator of the Localization Initiative, welcomed Lisa Magnollay Karlen, Head of MENA Section, SDC Bern, Sabina Läderach, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland in Oman, Nadine Andrea Jaeggi, Programme Officer Yemen, SDC Amman, and Abeer Al Absi, Liaison Coordinator.

“We are pleased with this meeting, which represents an important step to support the national organizations’ efforts to establish a more efficient and locally led humanitarian response model and to support the transition from humanitarian response to development.”

Al Suhaily explained that the Localization of Humanitarian Action Initiative in Yemen stemmed from the urgent local need and the relevant international conventions, such as the “Grand Bargain” and the “Charter for Change”, to assess and correct the humanitarian response and to reach fair, equitable and transparent partnerships with all.

“Local organizations have proven their competence in providing humanitarian response and their ability to implement programs, projects and activities throughout Yemen. They know and understand the local context to provide support better and are part of the community.” He added

However, progress in empowering local organizations since 2015 falls short of expectations. We therefore count on the Swiss Agency and the donor community to commit United Nations and international organizations to genuine localization, empowering local actors and promoting sustainability.

Lisa Magnollay Karlen, Head of MENA Section, SDC Bern, expressed her great pleasure in this meeting to understand the challenges facing the humanitarian response in Yemen, strengthen partnerships with Yemeni organizations, support the transition from humanitarian action to development, and build the capacity of local actors.

“The strategy of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Amman focuses on improving the provision of humanitarian aid in Yemen from an economic and local perspective, helping local organizations develop sustainable development projects, and supporting projects that create jobs and improve the citizens’ livelihoods.” She explained

Nadine Andrea Jaeggi, Programme Officer in Yemen, SDC Amman, confirmed the Swiss Agency’s commitment to working with local actors in Yemen towards sustainable development.

She noted the importance of strengthening the potential for recovery, planning and development services, so that people, with the support of their local organizations, can better rebuild their lives.

Subsequently, Ms. Aisha Thawab, Chairwoman of ABS Organization, presented a summary of the Triple Nexus which includes strengthening coordination and cooperation between humanitarian and development actors, peacebuilding to address the root causes of conflict and crisis, and building sustainable solutions for the future.

Thawab stressed the need to activate the Triple Nexus and invest in building the capacity of local authorities and civil society organizations to lead humanitarian and development efforts and promote inclusive and accountable governance.

At the meeting, Mr. Abdulqawi Hajeb, Manager of the Localization Program at Tamdeen Youth Foundation, gave a presentation on the achievements of the Localization Initiative Team in the areas of networking and coordination at the national and international levels, the development of tools for measuring the localization indicators and data collection, and the completion of the baseline report for the Localization Performance Indicators in Yemen, with technical support from the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), and the HAG Team, and the steps achieved in preparing Yemen’s National Humanitarian Response Strategy, with the support of the Danish Council (DRC), as well as the National Strategy for Advocacy and Strengthening the Role of Local Organizations.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the private sector and Yemeni banks, who presented their contribution to alleviating the humanitarian crisis and providing humanitarian and development services, including cash transfers, loans and financial services.

It included hearing the voices of local organizations members of the Localization Initiative who participated in the meeting “virtually” from Aden, Hadramaut and Marib.

It concluded with the importance of the donor community’s support to localize humanitarian action in Yemen, and adopt participatory planning and coordination between civil society, the private sector and government agencies in accordance with a more efficient and locally led humanitarian response model.

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