Self-reliance is, by definition, about individualised responsibility for social wellbeing and economic security. This idea drives urban refugee livelihood programmes, in India and beyond, as aid organisations seek to ensure refugees do not depend on assistance long term. However, ideologically-rooted self-enterprise approaches take little account of insecure labour markets, nor refugees’ actual capabilities to transform humanitarian assistance and livelihood opportunities into something sustainable and meaningful for them.
Deborah Cummins and Sarah Moharram
Cash transfers are increasingly used in urban humanitarian crises. They can stimulate markets and let people choose the help they actually need. But they can also influence gender equality and women’s economic empowerment — for good or, potentially, for bad.
La résilience urbaine est un produit de la capacité des ménages à absorber le stress, à s’adapter et à transformer la marge d’action en gestion du risque. Cette note politique décrit dans ses grandes lignes une nouvelle méthodologie mise au point pour explorer divers aspects de la résilience dans des contextes urbains très pauvres où les biens économiques sont connus limités. La méthode a été développée en réponse à des demandes de Save the Children pour explorer les possibilités d’adaptation d’un outil de suivi de la sécurité alimentaire en zones rurales.
Elizabeth Parker, Victoria Maynard, David Garcia, Rahayu Yoseph-Paulus
Book/Report, 44 pages
Catherine Müller, Jean-Pierre Tranchant
Briefing, 4 pages
Lina Lotayef, Nourhan Abdel Aziz
Briefing, 4 pages
Small towns are an essential but often-neglected element of rural landscapes and food systems. They perform a number of essential functions, from market nodes to providers of services and goods and non-farm employment to their own population as well as that of the wider surrounding region. In demographic terms, they represent about half of the world’s urban population, and are projected to absorb much of its growth in the next decades.
With the Syrian conflict now in its seventh year, 13.5 million Syrians need humanitarian aid. But aid in northern Syria focuses inflexibly on food kits that are expensive to administer, designed to satisfy short-term needs. Many people sell their food aid to pay for other urgent needs. This undermines local producers and distorts local markets, especially since over half the food comes from outside Syria. Yet, city economies are shifting towards small and micro businesses that trade locally and help people cope with the risks of prolonged conflict.
Across the Middle East and North Africa region, water utilities are increasingly struggling to maintain services during protracted conflicts. To become more resilient, they need to tackle long-standing vulnerabilities that let the impacts of conflicts accumulate. However, many have increased their dependency on external help, particularly on humanitarian and development aid. In many cases, international agencies have had to continue playing a substitution role over long periods, while their supporting activities have remained limited.
Humanitarian crises in cities require responses that reflect the urban context, address urban challenges, and provide urbanised solutions. This paper focuses on providing guidance on good practice in cash for work (CfW) programmes. Focusing on Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis, the paper provides nine principles for better programming outcomes.
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.
Rapid urban development and a rising population have led to significant changes in Freetown over the last decades. Although the city’s status as the nation’s economic heartbeat has been bolstered, the growth and sprawl of informal settlements and the continuous lure of rural-urban migration have led to a range of risks, both episodic and ‘everyday’. These risks are more concentrated in the pockets of informal settlements and are becoming progressively embedded in the way of life of its residents, with adverse effects.
Guest post by Vincent Mutie Nzau
How can innovative approaches to disaster risk finance help communities manage climate uncertainty? Vincent Mutie Nzau, from the National Treasury of Kenya, explains.
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.