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Comparative study of emergency cash coordination mechanisms

Based principally on three cases studies (Pakistan, Haiti, and the Horn of Africa), the objective of this comparative study is to draw on lessons learnt for better coordination of cash transfer programmes (CTP) in future emergencies.

This study has been commissioned by the CaLP and conducted by Groupe URD.

It comes to the following conclusions:

- The place of cash coordination within the aid architecture

For coordination to be effective, it is recommended that technical discussions (about how to deliver cash) are separate from strategic coordination (about the extent to which needs are being met). While technical discussions need a cash-specific group, and can depending on the context remain independent, the strategic discussions need to be better integrated into the existing sector-based coordination (such as the clusters).

The role cash coordination plays in linking longer-term social protection programmes to emergency response and vice-versa (to improve both “scaling-up” and “scaling-down”) should be reinforced.

- Strategic cash coordination

Cash is a way to meet needs rather than an end in itself, and this should be reflected in the way it is discussed within coordination. The principle of ‘coordinating by objective, not modality’ must underpin the integration into other coordination mechanisms.

Cash can be used multi-sectorally and therefore cash coordination should not be limited to food security and livelihoods, but should be integrated into a variety of sectoral discussions (also shelter, education, health, WASH, etc.), to improve the mapping of gaps and duplications of both cash and in-kind programming.

Cash coordination should also focus more on outcome rather than output, to measure not just the quantity of aid but also how needs are being met by all assistance (cash and in-kind). Integration of CTP at key moments in the decision-making process should be encouraged: assessment, response analysis, monitoring and impact evaluation.

- Technical cash coordination

The independence of technical working groups from the cluster coordination can create a more informal and inclusive atmosphere, which is conducive to sharing good (and bad) practice, amongst both larger and smaller organisations.

- Maximising resources for effective cash coordination

Sufficient resources are necessary in order to properly support cash coordination. This includes human resources and financial support to develop guidelines, conduct studies and evaluations, etc.
The number of forums should be kept to a minimum. Where forums overlap in terms of objectives and audiences, they should be merged.

The study proposes a decision-making model for formalizing the integration of cash coordination mechanisms within the wider humanitarian system, which requires further discussions with other key stakeholders, particularly donors, the IASC and OCHA.

Date: June 29th 2012

Author: Groupe URD / CaLP

Language: english