Israel's attempt to dismantle UNRWA, and USAID's localization spending

Israel's attempt to dismantle UNRWA, and USAID's localization spending
11 apr 2024 · 36 min. 21 sec.

As the war in Gaza stretches past the six-month mark, this week we had an exclusive story on https://www.devex.com/news/exclusive-unrwa-restrictions-hamper-gaza-relief-by-broader-un-107419, the United Nations agency leading the humanitarian response for Palestinians. The...

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As the war in Gaza stretches past the six-month mark, this week we had an exclusive story on Israel’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle UNRWA, the United Nations agency leading the humanitarian response for Palestinians. The agency — caught in a political war — was forced to ground its fleet of trucks, cars, and security specialists used by other U.N. agencies delivering support to those affected by the conflict. 

We have also been closely following the conversations around localization. A few months ago, a rural Sierra Leone-based nonprofit leader was unable to get a visa to a conference in Denmark — which led to an open letter demanding change in how convening spaces on locally led development should be organized. Four months later, it appears that some foundations, international organizations, and networks have committed to listening, including the U.S. Agency for International Development. We explore how localization can be more effectively carried out, including the need to move the headquarters of institutions closer to the communities they aim to serve, as well as having greater representation from the developing world in academia. 


Also on the topic of localization, we dug into the analysis of how much of USAID’s money went to local grantees in 2023. We found that the agency allocated around $1.3 billion to local partners via grants and cooperative agreements in 2023, which is the same amount as the previous fiscal year. 


To discuss these stories, Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar sits down with Aude Darnal of the Stimson Center and Devex’s U.N. correspondent Colum Lynch for this week’s episode of the podcast series.


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