Refugees fleeing conflict or natural disaster are now more likely to head towards urban areas than refugee camps.
More than half of the world’s refugees live in the slums of some of the world's biggest cities.
The IRC is leading the way in finding innovative ways to support urban refugees to rebuild their lives.
The IRC is providing legal assistance to refugees, helping them to understand their rights and to gain access to justice.
The IRC monitors refugee numbers and conditions in some of the world’s biggest cities and slums.
The IRC is helping to increase the involvement of refugees in civil society.
The humanitarian landscape is changing. The world is urbanising rapidly and natural disasters and displacement crises will increasingly occur in urban settings – in towns and cities across the globe. For most people, the word ‘refugee’ conjures images of endless rows of white tents spread out over a dusty plain. But this does not give an accurate picture of what life is like for millions of refugees in the 21st century. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, today more than sixty per cent of world’s refugees are displaced in cities and towns across the globe.
The IRC is leading the way in finding innovative ways to support the displaced and impacted communities in urban areas rebuild their lives. We are dedicated to responding to not only meet the immediate needs of affected populations, but also to foster recovery and sustainable development in the aftermath of a crisis so that both people and their cities are safe, healthy, educated, economically empowered and able to cope with future shocks and stresses
The IRC has been working in cities and towns impacted by humanitarian crises for decades. Our experience shows that urban settings require different approaches to delivering assistance and supporting populations compared to approaches we use in remote, rural areas or in refugee camps. For organisations like the IRC, this means we must adapt to this new reality in order to meet the needs of impacted populations and to support the city and its systems. We are invested in improving our own responses to urban crises and to taking this experience and evidence to the wider humanitarian community.
The IRC is increasingly recognised as a global thought leader on the issue urban displacement and the impact of humanitarian crises in urban settings – we advocate and generate policy advice; generate learning and evidence about what works on the ground; and we are developing new programming models and tools to meet the specific challenges and opportunities of working in cities. In particular, we are working in partnership with the Department for International Development (DfID) to ensure that donors, policy makers and other practitioners understand and respond effectively when faced with working in urban settings.
Advocacy and Policy Change: The IRC works to ensure policy makers at national and global levels understand the dynamics of working in cities and towns and have the right policy and operational commitments in place to do this effectively.
Learning: The IRC is generating evidence around best practice in responding to urban crises. This will inform IRC’s own programming and that of the wider community.
Tools and Approaches The IRC is developing urban specific tools to improve the way all stakeholders work in cities.
Urban Programming Models: The IRC is developing appropriate programming models for urban settings.
The Urban Crises Programme is funded by DfID and delivered in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) , through research, advocacy and learning, is focused on ensuring that a diverse range of actors have knowledge, skills and understanding to respond effectively to urban humanitarian crisis, and are operating in an enabling policy environment which recognises the specificity of urban crises.
This programme addresses gaps in knowledge, skills and confidence amongst donors, governments, humanitarian actors and development agencies on preparing for and responding to humanitarian crises in urban areas. It supports the generation of evidence, and the development of innovative programming approaches, and also seeks to establish a more enabling policy environment which recognises the specificity of urban crises, and draws on the experience and knowledge of a broader range of actors, including urban development specialists and local governments.
The IRC-led Learning and Advocacy Partnership is focused on generating and disseminating learning on how urban contexts are affected by crisis and how humanitarian actors can adapt their policies and operational activities to ensure a more effective response to urban crises. The findings from research on IRC’s programming in urban areas, and that produced by IIED and its grantees, will form the evidence base for advocacy, and for recommendations directed at global policy makers. IRC will produce advocacy papers and organize workshops and side events in the run-up to two conferences in 2016 – the World Humanitarian Summit and Habitat III. It will also run regional practitioner workshops, in collaboration with IIED, to share learning on operating in the urban context with other humanitarian agencies and municipal actors