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RTPI joins new 'global alliance' to rethink disaster response in cities

24 May 2016

GAlliance Logo

The RTPI has become one of the 60 founder members of the new Global Alliance for Urban Crises, launched yesterday at the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul. The importance of the event was underlined by opening addresses from United Nations (UN) General secretary Ban Ki Moon, German Chancellor, Angela Merkl (pictured below at the launch) and Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Merkel PicThe Institute will provide the Global Alliance with access to professional built environment planning expertise, along with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Institution of Structural Engineers  (ISE) who will provide access to professional architectural and engineering expertise. The initiative from the UN recognises that complex urban crises demand multi-scale, multi-faceted, cross-sector based approaches well beyond traditional humanitarian and development boundaries.

PeterGPeter Geraghty, Chair of the International Committee of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), said:

“I am delighted that the Institute has joined the Global Alliance for Urban Crises. Increasing urbanisation means that pressure on essential and natural resources is intensifying and towns and cities are going to become the focus of this intensification. It is crucially important therefore, that urban settlements are resilient. One of the aspects being explored at the World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul is how emergency responses can be better adapted to the nature, scale and complexity of towns and cities. The training, experience and expertise of urban planners makes them perfectly placed to advise and support such initiatives.  As chair of the International Committee I am greatly encouraged that Royal Town Planning Institute as a respected institution world-wide is playing a leading role in this area by joining the Global Alliance.” 

Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said:

Through initiatives like this one, we can harness the potential that towns and cities have to be disaster-resilient hubs, and safe havens for those who have fled conflicts and disasters. There is no doubt that people in urban settings must be and are a key part of this solution. Towns and cities provide new opportunities for gainful employment and access to services, rapid unplanned urbanization combined with natural hazards, pandemics and aerial bombardments are placing more people at risk.

"As humanitarian crises are increasingly taking place in urban areas, the consultations of the World Humanitarian Summit called for displacement, conflict and disasters in urban settings to be comprehensively addressed. Municipal authorities, urban professionals and humanitarian and development actors have answered the call for concrete commitments to leave no one behind, and mobilized to form a new Global Alliance for Urban Crises.”

RTPI At GallianceThe Global Alliance agreed to develop the following key initiatives:

  • An Urban Crisis Charter:

A global mobilisation of members committing to work together to enable urban societies, in particular those most at risk, to prepare for, cope with and recover more quickly from the effects of humanitarian crises, recognising that urban societies have specific characteristics which require effective, context-specific approaches to addressing vulnerability and risk reduction, preparedness and humanitarian response.

An Action Agenda:

Structured around a set of concrete initiatives with a three-five year time horizon including: developing innovative area-based approaches to address the nature and complexity of urban crisis management and response; the development of more predictable surge capacity of local government and urban expertise to empower municipal governments’ response capabilities; modalities for managing urban displacement effectively; and recommendations for sustainable financing instruments.

About the Alliance

The Global Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative made up of a broad membership of humanitarian agencies and actors not traditionally considered humanitarian responders: development actors, urban professionals such as planners, architects and engineers, and local authority networks.

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, preparedness, recovery, development and resilience building efforts.

The Alliance is an initiative that arose out of consultations for the World Humanitarian Summit, during which a number of committed organisations led an urban expert group and developed a series of Urban Recommendations which are reflected in the Synthesis Report for the Summit. The Alliance is the vehicle through which these recommendations will be put into action. It is guided by a series of principles as laid out in the Urban Crises Charter

Further information

Read the Global Alliance for Urban Crisis charter.

Read the Guardian coverage of the launch.

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