What are the practices to identify and prioritize vulnerable populations affected by urban humanitarian emergencies?

Patel, R. B., Phelps, L., Sanderson, D., and King, J.
Publication language
Date published
01 Apr 2016
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Disasters, Urban
Oxfam, UK Aid

International organizations working in humanitarian crisis settings recognize the need to improve urban emergency response and preparedness, which necessitates improved methods for assessing vulnerability within urban populations. Currently, the Sphere Handbook of guidelines and best practices for humanitarian response is being adapted to include the urban context (The Sphere Project, 2015). The Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC’s) strategy report on meeting humanitarian challenges in urban areas explains the need for targeting and enumerating vulnerable individuals and communities to better direct services (IASC, 2010). Similarly, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) highlights the need for ‘specific efforts [to] be made to identify those groups who have particular need or high levels of need’ in urban emergencies (Sanderson and Knox-Clarke, 2012). More prominently and very timely, the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will review current practice and help inform future humanitarian challenges through global and expert consultations. Various working groups are an integral part of this process. They are charged with drafting the urban charter and recommendations for urban crisis response, such as the urban expert working group, to which the review team belongs and currently contributes. The Global Alliance for Urban Crises has also evolved out of these efforts. The alliance brings together a broad array of stakeholders to specifically recognize the growing and unique challenge of urban crises, promote this agenda at the WHS and beyond and work to improve operational practice in urban crises.