This guidance note has been developed to support efforts to strengthen the meaningful participation, representation, and leadership of local and national humanitarian actors (L/NAs)1 within IASC humanitarian coordination structures2. It draws on over 100 pieces of research and good practice to provide recommendations on how L/NAs can be an integral part of humanitarian coordination structures. It provides guidance for Humanitarian Coordinators, Humanitarian Country Teams, Cluster and Inter-Cluster Coordination Groups, and other related Task Forces and Working Groups.
The guidance contained in this note should be considered with due regard to existing national structures and contextual dynamics. International actors must be sensitive about the potential risks that representatives of local and national organizations might face in taking part in international coordination structures. International actors should seek to accompany and support national and local efforts, rather than impose structures. In line with the UN Guidance note on the Protection and Promotion of Civic Space, international actors should focus on the participation of L/NAs in IASC processes, the promotion of civic space and most importantly, the protection of civil society actors. Finally, international actors must be cognizant of existing contextual dynamics and the varied levels of engagement from L/NAs who may have different expectations and motives in joining coordination mechanisms. Equally, it must be made clear that participation in humanitarian coordination by all actors is contingent on respect for humanitarian principles.