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Webinar: 'Understanding the city better as the key to disaster response and reconstruction - UN Habitat's experiences' - Recording now available

Posted on 13 March 2013

Understanding the city better as the key to disaster response and reconstruction – UN Habitat’s experiences


Recently the humanitarian community has been confronted with increasing urbanisation of humanitarian interventions suggesting a need for adapting humanitarian approaches to urban disasters. To respond to an urban crisis, we need to start by reading and understanding ‘urban’. Different readings lead to different approaches and menu of options. Urban disaster responses cannot be limited to address the immediate effects of destruction. Recent urban disasters and complex emergencies illustrate a need for different set of policies and approaches, as seen in Haiti, Phillipines, Cuba, Kenya and with the current situation in Syria where the humanitarian community is gearing up to face a major challenge of response in cities and towns.

Humanitarian response needs to take into consideration and address underlying causes in order to build a basis for longer term recovery and reconstruction. An understanding of urban systems (their strengths and weaknesses) needs to be considered. The Haiti earthquake response shows that a greater understanding of a city itself, including its functions, housing, urban and market systems, urban stakeholders, settlement patterns, urban planning and land system is key when considering response options. Disasters have formidable and unique transformative effects. Together humanitarian, reconstruction and development actors, building on respective comparative advantages, can transform drawbacks in significant positive changes in the life of urban population.

This webinar was presented by Jean-Christophe Adrian, ex Director UN-Habitat Haiti and currently Director of the Liaison Office for European Institutions at UN-Habitat. Ansa Masaud, Human Settlements Officer, Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation Branch/UN-Habitat, commented on UN-Habitat's inter-agency urban response strategy.


Listen to webinar recording here

You can listen to the recording of the previous webinar Responding to urban disasters: Learning from previous relief and recovery operations here.

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