Urban Crises Learning Partnerships

Two learning partnerships are helping IIED to address gaps in knowledge, skills and understanding among national and international humanitarian actors and local and national governments, in order to provide a better basis on which to prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises in urban areas.

Project
November 2015 - November 2017
Contact: 

Diane Archer, Senior researcher

The April 2105 Nepal earthquake destroyed more than 500,000 buildings in Kathmandu. There was a huge international aid effort, but reconstruction has been slow. (Photo: SIM Central and South East Asia, Creative Commons via Flickr)

The two partnerships, the Stronger Cities Initiative and the Urban Crises Learning Partnership (UCLP), are running in parallel from November 2015 to November 2017, and were initiated as part of the broader Urban Crises Learning Fund initiative. This initiative seeks to build knowledge and capacity of local and international humanitarian actors to implement more effective urban humanitarian response.

The Stronger Cities Initiative

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and World Vision are working together to develop practical guidance notes and tools to be able to put urban response principles into practice, from understanding urban contexts and the diversity of needs of displaced people to the application of area-based and integrated approaches for programming.

1. Context analysis and stakeholder coordination tools 

The project will conduct a review of existing context analysis tools and their applicability to urban areas; develop and test an urban-adapted context analysis toolkit in a number of country contexts; and develop guidance on how to undertake the context analysis. The project will also develop guidance on how to put the context analysis findings into practice through stakeholder engagement and coordination. 

2. Multi-sectoral needs assessments, response analysis, and targeting guidance tools

The project will conduct a review of existing practices and their applicability to urban areas and develop and test guidance for an urban-adapted multi-sectoral vulnerability assessments. The tool will profile the needs of the displaced, host and resident population and include key elements such as social capital and protection that are often overlooked to generate a response analysis. The project will also produce and test guidance on urban targeting and response analysis.

3. Integrated programme models

To improve the adoption of holistic responses, the project will conduct a review of area-based and integrated programming and produce programmatic guidance notes on the following topics: 

  • Urban area-based approaches in post-disaster contexts 
  • Tenure security for urban areas in humanitarian programmes  
  • Integrated livelihoods and protection programs in urban areas, and
  • Cash transfer programming in Lebanon: good practice in urban cash for work programmes (rapid employment initiatives) 

The Urban Crises Learning Partnership

Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, University College London (UCL) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) are working together to improve the way stakeholders in urban crises engage with each other to form new partnerships and make better decisions. The partnership is also working to improve disaster preparedness and response in urban areas by developing, testing, and disseminating new approaches to the formation of these relationships and systems.

The themes that the project is examining are: urban systems, accountability to affected populations, formality and informality (examining the relationships and potential relationships between those who are part of the formal response system and those who may respond but are not part of that system), and disaster preparedness planning (with a particular emphasis on stakeholder engagement). 

Country-based activities

The UCLP is carrying out primary research in Haiti and Bangladesh. Habitat for Humanity Haiti is speaking to humanitarian organisations, public officials, and affected communities in order to understand existing mechanisms for ensuring that vulnerable people are involved in decision making processes in urban areas, and how these would function in the event of another major urban crisis. 

In Bangladesh, Habitat for Humanity and Oxfam are carrying out a review of the existing disaster preparedness architecture and policy environment, attempting to assess gaps related to the specific challenges of urban disasters.

The two organisations are also carrying out detailed stakeholder analyses in two locations in Dhaka, and are planning a simulation exercise to learn about the potential for better stakeholder involvement and coordination in the event of a major urban disaster, such as a powerful earthquake. 

In both countries, the UCLP aims to better understand the organisational cultures and incentives that either facilitate or obstruct the delivery of proper accountability mechanisms. 

Outputs

Planned outputs include reports on each of the thematic areas; synthesis reviews of disaster preparedness plans; an audio-visual record of the simulation exercise in Bangladesh; a special issue of Humanitarian Exchange Magazine with good practice guidelines for practitioners; reports on learning events in Haiti, Bangladesh, and the UK; and a series of blogs and webinars on the consortium website www.urbancrisis.org.

Publications

A review of context analysis tools for urban humanitarian response, Andrew Meaux, Wale Osofisan (2016), IIED Working Paper

A review of needs assessment tools, response analysis frameworks, and targeting guidance for urban humanitarian response,
Lili Mohiddin, Gabrielle Smith (2016), IIED Working Paper

Donors

Department for International Development (DFID)

Components of the Stronger Cities Initiative also receive co-funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) as part of the Improving Humanitarian Actor's Capacity to Response to Urban Crises project (2015-17).

Partners

The Stronger Cities Initiative

International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and World Vision

The Urban Crises Learning Partnership

Habitat for Humanity GB, Oxfam GB, University College London and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Contact

Diane Archer (diane.archer@iied.org), senior researcher, IIED's Human Settlements research group

Andrew Meaux (Andrew.Meaux@rescue.org), urban projects coordinator, International Rescue Committee 

Alan Brouder (ABrouder@habitatforhumanity.org.uk), urban crises learning manager, Habitat for Humanity

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