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Since the majority of urban displaced live in informal settlements or in rental accommodation without formal lease agreements, tenure insecurity – the risk of forced eviction – is a defining feature of their lives (Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, 2015). Finding housing solutions in emergencies in large cities is extremely complex.
Urban areas are now home to over half the global population as well as two thirds of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Increasingly, cities and peri-urban areas have become the forefront of humanitarian response, diverting from the traditional paradigm of relief provision in rural and camp settings.
Area-based approaches (ABAs) have gained traction in recent years among humanitarian aid agencies seeking to provide better responses in urban areas following a naturally triggered disaster. This is in response to existing approaches that have struggled with the complexity of urban programming.
A rapidly urbanising world presents both challenges and opportunities for humanitarian aid approaches. Urban areas often have a greater density of people and diversity of affected populations, stronger civil society, and more developed and complex governance structures, service delivery systems, and market systems. These factors heighten the importance of coordination and collaboration.
Targeting is the process by which individuals or groups are identified and selected for humanitarian assistance programmes, based on their needs and vulnerability. It is a way to focus scarce resources on those within the population that would most benefit from support.
The Urban Response Analysis Framework (URAF) aims to support the identification of appropriate multi-sector responses for urban programmes. The URAF endorses, where appropriate, the use of multipurpose cash grants alongside complementary sector-specific responses, including advocacy and technical support. Therefore, the URAF recommends assistance that meets the basic needs of the displaced and host populations whilst addressing sector specific needs.
People forced to leave their homes are often displaced for many years, and most end up in urban areas. So how can host cities become more resilient while managing such crises? A meeting last week shared learning from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, reports Diane Archer.
Conversations around urban resilience often focus on making cities better able to withstand the impacts of climate change. But there are other shocks and stresses affecting cities, including mass influxes of people fleeing conflict, disaster or other threats.
Urbanising regions in drylands often face environmental problems – particularly water stress. When people in these areas are also responding to other crises, such as conflict or refugee flows, it becomes difficult for them to implement long-term solutions. IIED is looking at ways to strengthen resilience in crisis-hit dryland regions, focusing initially on environmental challenges in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and the arid lands of Kenya.
Humanitarian crises are increasingly taking place in urban contexts. Urban areas are highly dynamic and present complex challenges. But while local actors best understand the context, international actors continue to dominate the funding, strategic design and decision making. While this gap needs to be bridged, the policy and practice of how to do so lacks a systematic approach. This briefing presents the findings of a study assessing existing collaboration between local and international actors working in urban humanitarian response.
New research from the Urban Crises Learning Fund's Stronger Cities Initiative explores the tools available to humanitarians responding to urban crises, and asks whether they are fit for purpose.
Ten concise points respond to the current draft of Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda which is lengthy, dense and gives too little attention to the key roles of local government and civil society.
Habitat III will seek global political commitment to making urban centres more sustainable, inclusive and resilient. But the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda – to be agreed at the summit – is long, impenetrable and gives little attention to urban governance. Frustrated by this unwieldy document, we have developed an alternative version of the New Urban Agenda – in one page.
A growing number of refugees and displaced people are living in cities in East Africa and the Horn of Africa – but governments are slow to recognise and meet their needs.
The extent of the refugee crisis in the Middle East keeps Western media attention focused on arrivals in Europe and other well-resourced countries, making it easy to forget the large number of people moving within and between nations elsewhere.
West African countries have built over 150 large dams on the region's rivers, increasing water storage capacity and regulation of water courses to support the economic development of the countries of the region. Over the next 30 years, many more will be built, not least as a response to increasingly fluctuating rainfall.