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Humanitarian aid in urban settings: Current practice, future challenges

Research reports

​Following the earthquake which affected Haiti on the 12th of January 2010, when the difficulties of humanitarian aid in urban settings became obvious (Grunewald & Binder, 2010), the European Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid, DG ECHO, called for an evaluation to be carried out of its operations in urban contexts. 

The following document, "Humanitarian aid in urban settings: overview and challenges" is a preliminary compendium of existing knowledge on humanitarian aid in cities.

It is based on: - A literature review of past experience, in order to establish a historical perspective of the issue and to take stock of the existing lessons learned on the subject; - Initial discussions at the European Commission level, especially with DG ECHO staff, but also with other Commission services;

- Broad consultation of stakeholders, including UN agencies (UNDAC, UNHABITAT, OCHA, FAO, WFP, UNHCR), NGOs (MSF, Solidarités International, NRC, DRC, OXFAM, ACF, CONCERN, etc.), Donors (DFID, USAID/OFDA, French 'Centre de Crise'), Red Cross and Red Crescent institutions (ICRC, IFRC) and specialized agencies (CDC Atlanta, UNDAC, FEMA, UNOSAT) 

- Participation in a series of events (UNDAC review retreats, HOPEFOR Conference in Qatar and DANIDA/ODI/DRC sponsored seminar on urban displacements in November 2011, the conference on humanitarian aid in urban settings organized in Geneva by the University, the OCHA strategic policy conference in New York and the seminar on urban crises organized by MSF in December 2011), which helped to share findings and ideas with peers and subsequently to refine them.

Grünewald, F., Boyer, B., Kauffmann, D and Patinet, J.