Linking Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development (LRRD)

The study group adopted a donor perspective on LRRD, asking: to what extent can the EC and the US, as the most important donors of humanitarian and development aid, promote LRRD outcomes at the field-level? The underlying premise was that adopting a LRRD focus, spanning policy formulation, as well as response planning and funding decisions in times of crises, can increase the effectiveness of donor assistance strategies. Increased effectiveness in that sense may mean that:  livelihoods of affected populations are more effectively protected; dependency on relief assistance decreases at an earlier point in time; coping strategies of affected populations are more comprehensively enhanced; and affected populations are made more resilient to future shocks. 

So far most policy research and evaluations concerning LRRD, including those commissioned by donors themselves, have focused on the ‘LRRD quality’ of aid projects by implementing aid agencies. Studies have mostly focused on LRRD by sector (e.g. food security, shelter, water and sanitation), by project region or a combination thereof. Given the often high numbers of relief agencies on the ground and the corresponding challenge of proper coordination, this focus on implementing agencies is understandable. At the same time, the extent to which donors, as one important actor group in humanitarian action, may be able to promote LRRD objectives – particularly through their funding mechanisms and decisions – remains understudied.

The study group therefore seeked to assess the enabling or prohibitive impact concrete donor assistance strategies and decisions may have on reaching LRRD outcomes in a specific crisis context. To this end, it compared EC and US headquarter policies and strategies as well as field-level activities, identifying what may be best donor practices with regard to promoting LRRD. It is assumed that best practices for promoting LRRD are context-specific, i.e. what may be an appropriate LRRD strategy in ‘pure’ natural disaster settings will differ from the kind of LRRD strategy required for conflict-related emergencies. The study group thus specifically looked at the way different contexts of emergencies are reflected in donor HQ strategies and are responded to by donors through funding and other assistance schemes. 

In general, identifying best donor practices for promoting LRRD in specific crisis contexts was expected to contribute to institutional learning by both the EC and the US, particularly as regards the importance of coordination between the two actors at HQ and field level.

LRRD Case Studies

Case studies provided field-level insights to the guiding question as to whether donors are well-prepared to support the efforts of aid agencies and governments towards LRRD in a specific crisis context. Case studies identified best practices of and obstacles to donors promoting LRRD. In particular, the level of coordination within and between donor departments was assessed. In order to achieve comparability and allow for triangulation, two case studies each will be conducted in a natural disaster and in (post) conflict-related emergency setting. Case study findings will be incorporated into the LRRD policy paper, developed throughout the project.

Outputs of the Study Group

The study group produced five outputs: four case studies (see above) and one framework study on donor support to LRRD. The LRRD framework study placed case study findings into a broader analysis of the enabling or prohibitive impact EC and US assistance strategies have on reaching LRRD outcomes in specific crisis context. In particular, the LRRD framework study:

  • Identified the strategic and institutional approaches to LRRD by the EC and US, as well as the corresponding enabling or prohibitive ‘LRRD potential’ of these approaches 
  • Documented best practices by the EC and US in promoting LRRD at the operational level, aggregated per crisis context
  • Analysed the extent and potential of EC/US cooperation and coordination in the promotion of LRRD both at the strategic and operational level.

Based on such analysis, concrete policy proposals as to how the EC and the US can (better) promote LRRD, including through mutual learning and cooperation, were made.

To download the concept paper for this study group, please click here.

For more information on this study group, please contact Kai Koddenbrock.