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Adapting to an Urban World

Post date Tuesday, 10 March, 2015 - 15:18

Strengthening Urban Food Security Analysis in Humanitarian Crises

The word is urbanizing rapidly. By 2030 the urban population is predicted to exceed five billion people, and eighty percent of them will live in the developing world.

Millions of urban households are faced with problems and threats related to poverty: lack of secure tenure, precarious living conditions, no access to basic services, unemployment, violence, public health risks and poor sanitation, which are all underlying causes of food and nutrition insecurity. The frequency and scale of disasters associated with climate change and the current food, fuel and financial crisis further exacerbate the problems. 

Humanitarians working in urban settings are faced with a significant challenge

More and more, humanitarians are responding in urban situations which are largely unfamiliar. Identifying and targeting groups that are vulnerable to food insecurity in urban areas poses a significant challenge for organizations that have traditionally provided assistance to people living primarily in rural areas. The characteristics of vulnerability in urban settings are generally more complex and therefore require a different approach.

Adapting to an Urban World strengthens urban food security analysis in humanitarian crises

In line with the main objective of the gFSC Working Group on Food Security and Livelihoods in Urban Settings to build  tools and guidelines, a project called “Adapting to an Urban World” was initiated to develop food security vulnerability urban assessment tools by field testing them in six different urban food security contexts, including areas affected by conflict, natural hazards, migration, rising food prices and poverty.

The project aims to strengthen the food security analysis in support of humanitarian responses to food security crises in urban settings by developing guidance which will assist with;

a) Identifying  levels of vulnerability to food insecurity in urban areas;

b) Assessing different types of urban food insecurity and vulnerability;

c) Organise appropriate responses to urban food insecurity;

d) Establish an effective collaborative mechanism for responses to food insecurity in urban crises.

Please read more about the project here

Cooperation among gFSC Partners is significant criteria for success

The project provides an  example of cooperation between gFSC partners. It is co-managed by gFSC and WFP Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping Unit (VAM). A Steering Committee has been established to advise and monitor the planning and implementation of the project and members include UNHCR, Oxfam, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision International, IFRC, World Animal Protection and ALNAP.

First case study in Zimbabwe demonstrated the added value of building strong partnership  

The field work was coordinated by a global team of gFSC, WFP and IFRC representatives, with an effective participation at country-level from the Government and several partners including World Vision International, Oxfam, Red Cross Zimbabwe and Catholic Relief Services. Apart from the main objective of developing global tools for the humanitarian community, the Harare exercise and its findings have been useful not only to strengthen ongoing urban programmes of country partners but also to serve as a basis for a national urban assessment to be carried out by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2015.  Please read the report here