The Urban Amplifier: Humanitarian Action in Urban Crises

The European Commission’s Directorate General for European Civil Protection and
Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) has taken stock of its funded interventions
to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its humanitarian response in urban
environments. Based on an internal survey undertaken in 2017, this report
highlights the wealth of experiences and good practices, and provides the basis on
which to consolidate a leading role among actors engaged in urban settings.

Urban interventions address the full cycle from disaster risk reduction (DRR) and
preparedness to response and recovery; in a range of contexts, including conflict
and other situations of violence, displacement, epidemics and natural disasters; and
involve a wide range of actors. This report recognises that many humanitarian
partners have gained expertise and capacity to operate in urban settings (e.g.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organisation for Migration
(IOM), International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Food Programme (WFP), etc.).

However, there remains a lack of information, evidence and consideration of the
specificities of urban contexts in, and their impacts on, humanitarian operational
responses and strategies. There is a need for better tracking of actions, use of the
full scope of available tools, as well as developing a clear picture of existing
resources, partners’ institutional urban policies, tools and good practices.
Reinforcing our understanding of urban humanitarian needs, practices and policies
will also contribute to the broader European Union (EU) and global policy urban
landscapes, such as the EU Urban Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable

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