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IASC Strategy, Meeting Humanitarian Challenges in Urban Areas, 2010

Published Date

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti highlighted the need for the humanitarian community to prepare for urban responses, and to identify the expertise, tools, knowledge and partnerships required to be effective in urban settings. The strategy recommends actions which humanitarian actors can take to make their response to humanitarian crises in urban areas more effective and to accelerate early recovery. Poor urban planning and rapid urbanization has increased the exposure and vulnerability of urban residents to both natural disasters and complex emergencies. These catastrophes demonstrate the growing need for the international humanitarian community and governments to better adapt emergency response to the special requirements of urban areas. 

The strategy consists of four parts:

1) The first part introduces the aim of this strategy namely to recommend actions which humanitarian actors can take to make their responses to humanitarian crises in urban areas more effective and thereby save more lives and accelerate early recovery. 

2) The second part introduces urbanization and humanitarian challenges, why this should be a concern for humanitarian actors and how urban humanitarian challenges differs from rural humanitarian challenges. 

3) The third part presents six strategic objectives. In addition, the strategy proposes a number of actions that will enhance the humanitarian communities’ expertise and operational capacities in urban areas. The six strategic objectives are:

• Develop operational strategies early on to ensure multi-stakeholder partnerships for enhanced coordination, impact and effectiveness. 

• Strengthen technical surge capacity for emergency responses. 

• Develop or adapt humanitarian approaches and tools. 

• Promote protection of vulnerable urban populations against violence and exploitation. 

• Restore livelihoods and economic opportunities as a priority, starting in the emergency phase. 

• Build preparedness into humanitarian assistance. 

4) The fourth part presents the recommendations to be undertaken by IASC member agencies in the coming two years on a voluntary and self-monitored basis on the six strategic objectives.