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Urban webinar #12: Market analysis for urban humanitarian response

Tuesday 15 December 2015

The audio of this webinar is also available below.

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This webinar focused on how market analysis can support effective urban humanitarian response. Alexandre Gachoud from Oxfam, Laura Phelps from NRC and independent consultant Emmeline Saint shared their experiences of doing market analysis and understanding in urban response.


A full transcript of the webinar is available in the links below. Here is a brief summary of some key points from the presentations and Q&A:

Alexandre Gachoud : importance of markets in urban contexts and evolution of market analysis approaches.

-Urban markets differ from rural markets and require a systemic approach, in particular to understand interplay between actors.
-Disrupting or ignoring markets during (or after) an emergency will potentially weaken people’s access to basic goods, services and income generating opportunities, and can destroy or delay the ability of people to return to their livelihoods.
-Between 2007 and 2010, Oxfam developed the use of EMMA (Emergency Market Mapping Analysis) toolkits to better analysis urban markets’ function and meet people’s needs.
-The PCMMA (Pre-Crisis Market Mapping Analysis) toolkit can be used to assess market function during a « pre-crisis period » in crisis-prone area.

Laura Phelps and Emmeline Saint : Using markets assessments to better understand local context and design an effective urban humanitarian response.

-Market assessment can be used to study non-commodity markets.
-Market analyses are effective ways to better understand the interrelationships between different markets and actors that are magnified in urban context. EMMA and PCMAA approaches rely on external context analysis and can help to plan multi-sectorial and integrated programming in humanitarian responses.

Example of market analysis in Irbid, Jordan, April 2015:
-PCMMA was used to look at the impact of the large population increase of Syrian refugees into the Greater Irbid areas. The team studied the entire system dynamics to focus on the education system and identified gaps in supply and demand related to access to education for Syrian children, then assessed the capacity of the market system to address these gaps.
-Market assessment allowed to link different markets’ functions (credit, transport, housing, and informal employment of children,) and to better understand their impacts on the education market.
-Mapping the education system highlighted where there is overlap, and where relationships between education systems, social cohesion and coping mechanisms are better addressed together


What are the key differences between urban and rural market analysis?
AG: Markets play a more important role in urban areas than in rural areas. Most of urban dwellers rely on urban markets for basic goods. Besides, urban markets are more connected to other markets so more exposed to disruption and things change faster. As a result, targeting is difficult in urban market assessments and the monitoring of indicators has to be more frequent than in rural areas.

Where are the overlaps and areas of collaboration between humanitarian and development work in urban markets?

LP: The EMMA was developed out of a development tool. It was adapted for more rapid humanitarian contexts. It’s really important, overlap with our development colleagues, and insight that they get from much deeper, much longer market analysis is really vital to ensure more resilient approaches in urban contexts.

To what degree can market analysis be used to understand urban system?

ES : Market analysis can be one of the basics to understand urban systems, by mapping these market systems, we started identifying linkages and correlations, interrelations between different market systems. When we started doing this market analysis for the education system in Jordan, of course we were wondering if EMMA or PCMMA was the right tool. We conducted this analysis with education program managers, they found that looking at the education system, with this angle of a market system, was very interesting in the way it makes them think about supply and demand gaps.

LP : To look at systems, people currently have the option of using stakeholder analysis, or a more socio-political context analysis. Using a markets based approach has not only laid out how the systems interrelate, but it also looks at possible response options. Our feeling is that it’s not a perfect tool, but it has been very useful, and a quite different and effective way of looking at non-commodity markets.




Alexandre Gachoud

Global Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor


Laura Phelps

Urban Displacement adviser

Norwegian Refugee Council

Emmeline Saint



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