Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner
Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner

F3 - Towards resilience in the face of urban displacement: Learning from Africa, Asia and the Middle East

Session Description

Facilitator: David Dodman, Group Director, Human Settlements Group, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK,; and
Diane Archer, Senior Researcher, Human Settlements Group, IIED, London, UK


  • Gerald Paragas, Urban and Environmental Planner, Pangasinan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Lingayen, The Philippines
  • Robert Hakiza, Executive Director, Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID), Kampala, Uganda
  • Asma Barkati, Architect and Focal Point for MC2CM Project, Greater Amman Municipality, Amman, Jordan
  • Maha Shihadeh, Public Relations Director, Ramallah Municipality, State of Palestine
  • Emily Wilkinson, Senior Research Fellow, Risk and Resilience Programme, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK

Organized by: International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED)

This roundtable discussion will bring together municipal and civil society representatives from cities experiencing inflows of forcibly displaced persons. Disasters and conflict are more frequently experienced directly in cities, while urban areas are affected by crises that take place far away. Sixty percent of refugees and most of the world’s internally displaced people are living in towns and cities rather than in camps, with implications both for these individuals and for the urban centres that they move to. Yet at the same time, responding to these shocks and stresses can create opportunities to build the resilience of cities and their populations, including both the displaced and host populations. In order to do this, there is a need for local governments, local civil society, and international humanitarian actors to work together more effectively. The discussion will centre on the question: how can cities and regions build resilience for themselves and their refugee populations?

By using two city case studies, one from East Africa and one from the Middle East, this session will examine approaches being applied by city officials and civil society in responding to an urban humanitarian crisis involving displaced populations. The question of service provision will be used to focus in on possibilities for meeting needs for refugee and host populations, and how this can be done in a way that builds resilience to future shocks and stresses, such as the impacts of climate change. Questions for discussion will include:

  • What opportunities are offered by an urban setting in a crisis response? What challenges arise?
  • How can responding to an urban crisis, in particular by providing services, be integrated into longer term urban development strategies?
  • What partnerships and collaborations are required for an effective and sustainable response to crisis?

This session will contribute to the understanding of the wider humanitarian community of practice represented in the Global Alliance for Urban Crises ( It will be informed by existing work and partnerships under IIED’s Urban Crises Learning Fund (