RCRC Urban Newsfeed Compilation

This is a compilation of the newsfeeds that was shared with the Red Cross/Red Crescent (RCRC) Urban Collaboration Platform (UCP) members since 17 June 2017.

You can find brief information about the UCP here.

You can also check out the resports of the workshops organized by the UCP in Copenhagen and in Oslo.


Newsfeed #10 on 21 December 2017

# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:
  • World Urban Forum 9 – as important follow up:
  1. IFRC Strategy of Engagement is hereby attached and a call for interest set up mid-January (details will be shared closer to the date).
  2. Deadline for registration has been moved forward to 15th Jan.2018 – so you’re still on time! http://wuf9.org/registration/
  3. A joint Movement Booth has been agreed and we will reach out to you for materials to showcase closer to the date. We are waiting to hear back on our Movement side event (Urban Recovery).
  4. The NS leaderships have been made aware of the WUF through formal communication by their respective IFRC Regional Directors. Please ask your management for details!
  5. Not all of you had seen a short video we produced last year on The power of youth and volunteers in building urban communities. For the Habitat 3 conference, so enjoy this one.
  • The launch of Making Lives: Refugee Self-Reliance and Humanitarian Action in Cities, the final publication of a year-long research project carried out by Save the Children’s Humanitarian Affairs Team, the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (University College London), and Jindal School of International Affairs (O. P. Jindal Global University).
The project has explored the socio-economic practices of refugees and host communities, the challenges faced by refugees in gaining access to labour markets, and the ways in which humanitarian actors, often in collaboration with city authorities, seek to promote refugee livelihoods. While humanitarian organisations have placed particular emphasis on the economic dimensions of refugee self-reliance, this project has explored other aspects of refugee well-being too. Understanding the barriers and limits to refugee self-reliance, as well as the potential shortcomings of self-reliance as a conceptual and programmatic framework, is key to improving the support that is available to refugees in urban settings.
Making Lives brings together field studies on Halba (Lebanon), Thessaloniki (Greece), and Delhi (India), and an analytical overview on refugee self-reliance.
Making Lives can be downloaded at <http://refugeesinthecity.org>. The PDFs of each individual study and other publications linked to the project are also available on the project’s website. Please let me now if you would like to get hold of a hard copy of the book.
  • Stand up for public space: inspiring talk by Luisa Bravo
# READ ! Publications and news articles:
  • Here are the outputs of the research on urban planning after humanitarian crises, undertaken by IIED started around 18 months ago!
You might also be interested in our previous literature review on area-based approaches:http://pubs.iied.org/10742IIED/
  • # PARTICIPATE ! reviews and calls for proposals:
  • Global Disaster Preparedness Centre (GDPC): Call for Proposals: Consultancy for Design Solutions For City Resilience – deadline for submission is 21.12.2017!
  • Title: Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities
Topics: Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquake, Flood, Resilience, Risk Assessment, Urban Risk Reduction
Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities is a tool for disaster resilience planning.
Disaster resilience, and indeed this Scorecard, covers the ability of a city to understand the disaster risks it may face, to mitigate those risks, and to respond to disasters that may occur so that immediate and longer term loss of life or damage to livelihoods, property, infrastructure, economic activity and the environment is minimized.
View the entire resource:


Newsfeed #9 on 1 December 2017

As anticipated last week, we have now submitted the World Urban Forum side event application on behalf of the RCRC Movement and in consultation with all of you to identify the topic (survey was circulated in October – thanks for your inputs!):
Title: “New frontiers for Humanitarians in Cities: Inclusive and sustainable urban recovery and reconstruction” (attached full application)
Abstract: A panel discussion among diverse stakeholders with their unique experience ranging from integrated settlement approach, urban ecosystems protection after disasters and innovative approaches to land, housing, markets and infrastructure for sustainable recovery and reconstruction. Best practices will be provided, applied both to urban sudden onset disasters and conflict situations. Urban IDPs are a particular concern of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), as armed conflict and violence are causing very high levels of forced displacement into towns from rural areas, or moving within cities in an urgent search of safety and services. Addressing such needs builds on safer living conditions and contributes to the NUA.
Note: We will get back to you on event acceptance, and thereafter look for panel speakers and interesting projects to showcase during this event. A WUF strategic engagement paper will be circulated separately.
Action: please note the WUF dates in your own agendas (9-13th of February 18 in Kuala Lampur) and start planning your attendance, along with your ability to invite other colleagues from National Societies who you work with on urban programmes.
# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:
As you may have some time over the holiday season, a couple of TED Talks worth watching and books worth reading:
  • During the ICRC cycle on War in the Cities – towards a holistic response, the architect and author of the book ‘The battle for Home’ was invited to share views on the recovery of Homs, Syria.  In this TED video, Al-Sabouni argues “that while architecture is not the axis around which all of human life rotates… it has the power to… direct human activity” She believes that the Old Islamic cities of Syria were once harmonious urban entities which advocated for co-habitation and tolerance through their intertwining.
  • TED Talk on : The biggest risks facing Cities – and some solutions. Robert Muggah creates tools to understand cycles of violence in urban environments and opens dialogues on ways to confront them globally.
# READ ! Publications and news articles:
Direct cash grants to refugees: the EU experience in Turkey one year on:
In November 2016, under the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) launched the Emergency Social Safety Net Programme (ESSN), which provides monthly cash assistance to vulnerable people under Temporary and International Protection through the delivery of a debit card. Although direct cash grants programmes for refugees have been implemented by other agencies in other countries for a number of years, the ESSN is today one of the largest and most innovative schemes, benefitting over one million people


Newsfeed #8 on 17 November 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,
This newsfeed comes with a heavy heart and very sad news to share. Many of you knew our colleague Graham Saunders, formerly Head of IFRC’s Shelter unit and Team leader with the Disaster and Crisis department, who suddenly passed away last week. We lost apioneer of  the IFRC urban engagement, a visionary leader, a hugely respected architect and humanitarian worker, an ally who promoted partnerships to reach common goals he believed in. Graham started participating at the World Urban Forumback in 2006: we will keep the momentum while we prepare for the upcoming event (more news will be shared separately next Monday on the WUF in Kuala Lampur, February 2018).
# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:
  • The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) would like to share a ‘one-stop-shop’ website that has been developed to support timely andeffective disaster recovery processes.
The Recovery Hub website consists of a set of guidance notes and quick references for key sectors and themes aimed at providing clear, short, and actionable guidance mainly to government officials and key decision makers involved in the recovery process following major disasters. Some of the sectors covered include health, housing, education, social protection, energy, and transport, plus cross-cutting themes of environment, gender, and building back better. Most of these notes are in development but we have completed guidance and references for health, housing, and building back better.
# READ ! Publications and news articles:
  • Cityscope news:
The Foro Urbano Nacional, or National Urban Forum was held in Mendoza, Argentina. At dozens of tables packed into an event hall, groups of mayors, urbanists, economists, sociologists, academics, municipal finance experts, geographers, architects, lawyers and accountants sat in groups of ten or so.
Together, they hashed out their common challenges — problems faced by large and small cities alike in a country where more than 90 percent of people live in urban areas. http://citiscope.org/story/2017/sparking-national-conversation-about-cities?utm_source=Citiscope&utm_campaign=a4717b74d5-Mailchimp_2017_10_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ce992dbfef-a4717b74d5-118143869
  • Self-recovery from disasters: an interdisciplinary perspective
The report presents the findings from a pilot research project that investigated how disaster-affected households in low- and middle-income countries rebuild their homes in situations where little or no support is available from humanitarian agencies. The project was an interdisciplinary collaboration involving social scientists, geoscientists, structural engineers and humanitarian practitioners.
# PARTICIPATE! Upcoming events:
  • Feasible precautions in urban warfare: From law to practiceOn 15 November 2017, the ICRC held an expert panel at the Humanitarium to discuss the need to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) during military operations in urban settings. More specifically, the panellists will discuss the obligation to take all feasible precautions and its role in avoiding harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. What operational challenges do State and non-State armed groups face in fulfilling this obligation? The conference is part of the ICRC’s Conference Cycle on War in cities.


Newsfeed #7 on 20 October 2017

# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:
// Survey by IMPACT/CRS on behalf of Global Shelter Cluster Working Group: At the recent GSC meeting in Geneva, we saw a strong interest from many organisations interested in promoting and piloting area based approaches.  To continue shaping these priorities and build momentum within the WG, we have created a short survey to identify where and how organisations could contribute.
The survey is accessible via this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RNXFD9D
The survey will remain open until Friday November 3rd. Many thanks for taking the time to reply.
# READ ! Publications and news articles:
  • Cities of Refuge – Bringing an urban lens to the forced displacement challenges,
World Bank and Karen Jacobsen
  • “East Asia and Pacific cities: expanding opportunities for the urban poor” – “This study aims to understand urban poverty issues in EAP and the extent to which the urban poor can participate in the opportunities that cities bring.”  (World Bank) – attached.
  • Cityscope: Jakarta solving problems with new Tech tools and people’s power:
  • Rules for reconstruction in Syria (article by Brookings university)
  • New ICRC/IFRC Guide on social media use during a crisis
# PARTICIPATE! Upcoming events:
// Consultancy opportunity by Integrational Rescue Committee: IRC Greece, in partnership with the Municipality of Athens, is seeking a short-term consultant to support the City’s efforts to develop a Emergency Preparedness Plan for preparing for and responding to future urban displacement and rapid growth. Experience in DRR and preparedness and knowledge of Greece and the Greek language is hugely encouraged.
Contact : Samer Saliba, MUP | Urban Technical Specialist // Samer.Saliba@rescue.org
// MOOC Public Health Engineering in Humanitarian Contexts
ICRC decided to partner with the EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG-SANDEC) to launch an introductory course on Public Health Engineering in Humanitarian contexts. This course aims to develop and strengthen participants’ basic knowledge and skills for planning, designing and implementing public health engineering projects for people affected by humanitarian crises. The course is available online for free and open to everyone. You can use this course as a pre-course for the training sessions you give in your contexts or as an introductory course for newly hired staff. The course is in English with subtitles in French and Spanish for the time being.
The course is automatically launched every four weeks and the registration for the first session on November 6 is open (registration here! https://www.coursera.org/learn/engineering-humanitarian ).


Newsfeed #6 on 26 September 2017

# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:
See UR Incubator programme in the video/campaign:
  • October 2nd , in occasion of World Habitat day:  Urban Breakfast on Making Our Cities Work.  @ Palais de Nations, Geneva
Organisation: ALNAP, CRS, UN Habitat, Impact Initiatives and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap.
Date: 19 October 2017
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm BST
Within a city, how can humanitarians decide which specific area they will work in? And how can the boundaries of that area be defined?
Discussions about ‘area-based’, ‘neighbourhood’, ‘settlements’ or ‘integrated’ approaches are now a standard part of the discussion on how to improve urban humanitarian response.* Due to the nature and scale of an urban crisis, humanitarians are likely to need to find a way to focus their analysis, assessments and/or response – and often, that way is geographically. This represents a challenge because urban communities are often non-geographic, interconnected with the rest of the urban context, and their needs do not necessarily fit into one defined area. Whichever approach an organisation decides to take, at one point or another they are likely to focus their analysis or programming on a specific area within the wider urban environment.
# READ ! Publications and news articles:
Flood Resilience Projects in Zuia Mafuriko/Ramani Huria, Tanzania’ — https://preparecenter.org/resources/case-study-zuia-mafurikoramani-huria-flood-resilience-project-tanzania
Verificado 19S: After Mexico City’s earthquake, this site is crowdsourcing to map emergency resources.
# PARTICIPATE! Upcoming events:
October 6th  :
Annual Shelter Centre meeting topic : Self-recovery and the settlements approach
Location: Online or in-person in Geneva at Club Suisse de la Presse, Route de Ferney 106Host:Club Suisse de la Presse
9-10 October:
Cités Unies France www.cites-unies-france.org, Paris.
Event “L’internationalisation des collectivités territoriales”. This will be an occasion for the Alliance to discuss its objectives and focus, for Global Alliance for Urban Crisis (GAUC) Working group to discuss their specific objectives and workplan, and also synergies/streamlining between various working groups. GAUC Members are also invited to attend the UCLG/CUF meetings on the 10th of October, including an Alliance-led Side Event.
17 October:
Urban Humanitarian response in an urban world: Symposium on Applying area-based approaches to urban crises and displacement. Co-hosted by IRC and IMPACT Washington DC Eventbrite link
15-16 November
register your interest for IIED’s and IRC’s upcoming Urban Crises event, ‘From cities in crisis to crises in cities: towards a collaborative urban humanitarian response’. This will take place in London on 15-16 November 2017. The event is part of the Urban Crises Programme, which was established in response to a growing recognition by humanitarian and development actors of the need to improve knowledge and practice in responding to crises in urban settings.
Please see further details and register your interest here. The deadline for registrations is 22ndSeptember 2017, after which we will be in touch to confirm your place.
We are also inviting abstracts for presentations for our parallel sessions. Presentations are welcome from researchers and practitioners as sessions will feature a mix of stakeholders. Please send abstract proposals to diane.archer@iied.org with the following information:
The deadline for submission of abstracts is 22nd September.
9-13th February 2017
World Urban Forum 9, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Registration opens today (September  25th)!


Newsfeed #5 on 1 September 2017

# ENGAGE! Campaigns, videos and reports on urban issues:

Focus on urban mapping and new technologies (ICT) used in urban settings:

  • Messaging Apps as Untapped Humanitarian resource (report and video)

New research, led by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), suggests messaging apps could play a vital role in humanitarian work in the future. The research carried out by the ICRC, The Engine Room and Block Party, says messaging apps have become so widespread that they deserve to be considered ‘strategically’, for use in humanitarian operations.


  • Missing maps initiative (see attached presentation @ IFRC), supported by American, British and Netherlands RC among other INGOs increasingly joining the mapping efforts.
  • Using ICT to facilitate access to information and accountability to affected populations in urban areas

The report outlines findings from an assessment that was carried out between September 2016 and April 2017 of the ServiceInfo platform and Refugee.Info platforms active in Lebanon and Europe respectively. The report finds that ICTs can enable humanitarian actors to facilitate two-way communications between dispersed crisis-affected people and humanitarian service providers, while providing crisis-affected people with the information they need to make informed decisions about how to meet their needs through access to services.

# READ ! Publications:

  • Understanding the full spectrum of risk of urban areas

Small disasters and every-day hazards that often receive less attention than disasters actually pose greater risks, especially among low-income groups and those living in informal settlements. City-specific studies in this issue explore the nature and measurement of local risks, in Karonga, Malawi; Niamey, Niger; Bandung, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; and Nairobi, Kenya. The issue also includes papers that interrogate the concept of risk resilience, calling for greater attention to rights, justice, and concrete community-led action.


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