Post-Event Resources: Mainstreaming the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards for Improved Market-Based Programming

  • Date Posted: March 4, 2020
  • Authors: Marketlinks Team
  • Document Types: Tool, Other
  • Donor Type: U.S. Agency for International Development


Photo: Two women exchanging goods and money. Cover photo for the MERS Handbook.
Photo Credit: The SEEP Network

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 the 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.