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Urban humanitarian response: why local and international collaboration matters

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. Recommendations include empowering local agencies by funding them directly, and taking a holistic approach by designing programmes in line with local humanitarian or developmental agendas.

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Urban areas are increasingly the sites of humanitarian crises, from natural disasters to conflict and displacement. Through a programme of research, documenting and learning from experience and development of tools and approaches, IIED is working to build the knowledge and capacity to respond of humanitarian actors working in urban areas, and of urban actors facing humanitarian crises.

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Urban Crises Learning Fund