28 June 2018 18:30 - 20:00

Going Local, Going Safely: the localization agenda and security risk management

On June 28th 2018, the ICRC will host an event at the Humanitarium discussing the security challenges posed by the global push towards the “localization” of humanitarian action.

About the event

Equateur province, Saba Saba. Cassava plantation planted with the help of the ICRC, and managed by volunteers of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and local associations. ©J. Torgovnik / ICRC

On June 28th 2018, the ICRC will host an event at the Humanitarium to discuss the security challenges posed by the global push towards the "localization" of humanitarian action. In some contexts, local organizations are already leading the humanitarian response, while in others they are increasingly called upon to assume a greater role, often through partnerships, in regions that may be high-risk and where international aid actors' access is hampered. Greater localization can impact the security risks faced by local and international humanitarian actors with implications for how these actors should work together to manage and mitigate security risks. This event brings together panelists from both international and local humanitarian organizations. It is jointly organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF), and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).


Several global initiatives, including the Grand Bargain localization work stream, aim to increase funding to local actors, improve their access, and strengthen their capacity. However, there are several security risk management (SRM) challenges that arise when looking at the localization agenda. Localization efforts may, firstly, change the perceived neutrality, independence and impartiality of international and local organizations, which could affect the security risks they may face.
Furthermore, statistics show that local staff members are more likely to be involved in serious incidents than their international counterparts. Why this is the case is debated by experts but nonetheless evidences local actors' vulnerability to security threats. Are local actors fully equipped to manage the security risks they may face? Currently, there is little SRM support specifically for local actors, and when there is, it is often in the form of trainings by international partners that do not necessarily translate into a sustainable security approach designed by local actors that is adapted to the context.

To better understand these challenges and how to overcome them, the event will aim to answer some key questions:

• What are the main security risk management challenges that local actors face when trying to gain and maintain humanitarian access in insecure areas?
• How are international actors currently dealing with the issue of security risk management when working with local actors?
• What would local actors like to see in order to improve their security risk management?
• What good practice examples exist of efforts to improve local security risk management?
• What impact will the localization of aid have on the perception - and consequent security - of humanitarian actors?

Introduction and Moderator

• Eva Svoboda: Deputy Director of International Law and Policy, ICRC

Setting the Scene

• Lisa Reilly: Executive Director, European Interagency Security Forum


• Jacob Aleer: Senior Support and Liasion Officer, Lutheran World Federation (South Sudan)
• Jawad Sahibzada: Founder and CEO, Saibaan Development Organization (Pakistan)
• Oscar Alfonso Zuluaga Abdala: National Director for Cooperation, Innovation, Projects Management and Resources Mobilization, Colombia Red Cross Society (Colombia)




Date & Time

28 June 2018 18:30 - 20:00

Venue address

17 avenue de la paix, 1202 Geneva