IHC participated in a workshop this week hosted by the Shelter Working Group at InterAction. The goal of the half day event was to discuss the potential of integrated programming in humanitarian response. Urban centers are increasingly being called on to respond to humanitarian crises and IHC was interested in new methods appropriate to urban settings that include active cooperation and planning between sectors.
Global humanitarian response is often divided into organized clusters, so that after a disaster those working to provide one type of service can coordinate and deploy more efficiently. However, support is growing for the idea of taking a spatial or "neighborhood" approach that views the needs of one group or neighborhood as a whole, encouraging joint planning and design across clusters. The workshop explored this approach, asking participants to discuss the challenges and opportunities it presents, as well as next steps to encourage greater integration.
Participants voiced strong support for greater integration and spatial consideration. However challenges remain:
skills to manage such a broadened vision and scope of a neighborhood approach are often lacking in both proposal and implementing teams, and urban settings are far more dependent on soft skills such as negotiations and communication with local and national leaders.
IHC was glad to hear urbanization and cities being recognized as unique settings with unique challenges to the humanitarian community. IHC has long advocated for multi-sector integrated program design in both humanitarian and development assistance, and is glad to see these issues being discussed broadly. The Working Group will be sharing outcomes and next steps from the workshop in the coming weeks.
Read more about the event