Mainstreaming the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards for Improved Market-Based Programming
Drawing from the accumulated experience of the world’s leading humanitarian agencies and economic development practitioners, the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) represent an industry consensus on economic recovery for the humanitarian and development sector. With support from USAID’s USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the SEEP Network has led the development and revision processes of the MERS since 2007. Now available in the third edition, the standards are well-recognized as core guidance for market-oriented approaches in economic recovery programming. The MERS are designed to provide humanitarian and development practitioners with a clear understanding of what good economic recovery programming looks like, and the final results that implementers should be working towards.
In 2017-2019, with funding from the USAID/OFDA, the SEEP Network supported practitioners and institutions to integrate MERS into organizational practices through the “Mainstreaming MERS” program. The program supported institutions to overcome a common challenge of humanitarian standards – moving beyond awareness towards application and integration of standards into operational practices.
Marketlinks hosted a webinar on February 19th, 2020 to share a brief overview of the MERS and describe the activities and lessons learned to mainstream the Standards among organizations and networks of practitioners. Representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) highlighted how MERS was integrated into their economic inclusion strategy and how their global livelihoods teams are using MERS to assess and improve programming. The webinar also highlighted how the introduction of the MERS to humanitarian aid community in Southern Turkey has begun to influence local NGOs and humanitarian coordinating bodies to adopt market-oriented approaches. Drawing from these experiences, the webinar will offer practical guidance and tips for mainstreaming MERS at the donor, institutional and practitioner level.
Sonya Salanti leads the SEEP Network’s Resilient Markets thematic area.
Ellen Lee is part of UNHCR’s Division of Resilience and Solutions based in Geneva HQ, where her role entails providing technical support to country operations on their livelihoods and economic incl
Karri Byrne brings over 25 years of leadership and management experience to humanitarian and development settings, overseeing large, complex programs in some of the world’s most challenging environ
Saad has been working in the Humanitarian and Development Sector for five years as a partnership manager in Bonyan, a Syrian NGO based in Turkey, focusing on early recovery and livelihoods.
Laura Meissner is the Economic Recovery and Markets Advisor for USAID’s Office of U.S.