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Cities in Crisis or Crisis in Cities?
Quito, 26October 2016 – UN-Habitat organised a side event at Habitat III together with the Global Alliance for Urban Crises to discuss how the New Urban Agenda can advance the nexus of humanitarian, development and recovery work in an effort to adapt humanitarian action to an increasingly urban world.
Dr. Aisa Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, emphasised that we need a city wide approach to crises in cities and the response has to be people centred. She further underlined that “in the middle of crisis we need to avoid to come in as quick fixers, killing local resilience. We need to build on local resources, on local expertise and local knowledge – and bring this together with international expertise.” UN-Habitat has tools to deal with crises in cities and can also connect mayors and local authorities with other cities that have gone through similar experiences.
Mr. Yves Daccord, Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), talked about the crises in cities due to war as well as crises in cities due to chronic violence and lack of access to urban basis services for everyone. He asked: “What constitutes a resilient city? A city that is able to provide urban basic services in times of crises.” Sometimes this means going back to previously existing systems, for example reviving boreholes for water supply in Aleppo.
“The New Urban Agenda is the end of a long journey. We have an ambitious development agenda, but it will be undermined by natural hazards and man-made crises. We need resilient development” said Mr. Amir Abdullah, Deputy Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP). He also stressed the importance of working with and expanding the capacity of local and national authorities in times of crises. Mr. Abdullah concluded that “for every man-made disaster there is a women-made solution.”
The Global Alliance for Urban Crises is a multi-stakeholder initiative with a broad membership of development actors, urban professionals such as planners, architects and engineers, and local authority networks in addition to humanitarian actors. The Alliance will provide knowledge, build capacities and develop data-informed and evidence-based approaches in order to more effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to humanitarian crises in urban settings; ultimately contributing to longer term, recovery, development and resilience building efforts. Leaving no city behind, and leaving no one behind.