This report seeks to stimulate a much-needed discussion on developing a better approach to assisting people in urban areas that have been affected by protracted armed conflict. Currently, some fifty million people worldwide are affected by armed conflict in urban areas, with knock-on effects that go far beyond the visible signs of destruction. Experience suggests that most of these people are more dependent on essential services than their rural compatriots, making them more vulnerable to service disruptions. At its most general level, this report seeks to increase awareness of the extent and nature of the impact of the deprivation of urban services during times of armed conflict, sometimes for decades in succession. More specifically, it calls for a move from traditional assistance paradigms to one that takes account of the longer-term realities and needs in urban areas affected by ongoing armed conflict.
Some of the report’s main messages include:
1. The relief-rehabilitation-development paradigm is counterproductive in contexts of protracted conflict in urban areas
2. Urban services are based on interdependent people, hardware and consumables.
3. “Urban” extends beyond the city.
4. Urban services are interconnected.
5. If not dealt with in time, “vicious cycles” may render the restoration of a service unfeasible.
Report authors include Jean-Philippe Dross, Mark Zeitoun, Javier Cordoba, Evaristo de Pinho Oliveira and Michael Talhami. The full report can be downloaded here.