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Local and international collaboration in urban humanitarian responses: Perspectives from the Philippines, Colombia and South Sudan

Tilly Alcayna, Furat Al-​Murani

Working paper, 35 pages

Traditionally, the humanitarian sector has responded to emergencies in rural contexts; however an increasing number of urban crises has necessitated a re-evaluation of standard procedures. The urban setting poses unique challenges, which are best met through close collaboration with local actors who understand the context. However, policy and practice of how to bridge local and international actors lack a systematic approach. This study explores the urban-specific challenges to local and international collaboration. Recommendations to improve partnerships include giving directly to local agencies, rather than subcontracting them, and advocating a holistic approach, in line with local humanitarian or developmental agendas. These recommendations have emerged from case studies involving interviews with local stakeholders carried out in three distinct urban contexts, each with a different type of disaster experience: Tacloban, Ormoc and Palo in the Philippines, following natural disasters, in particular Typhoon Haiyan; Medellín in Colombia, following ongoing conflict and displacement; and Juba in South Sudan, following conflict, violence and civil war. A companion piece analyses each of these case studies in more detail.

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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.

More at www.iied.org:
Urban Crises Learning Fund

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