Adapting Global Crisis Response to an Urban World

In the run-up to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), a number of committed organizations have started to define a Global Alliance for Urban Crises with UCLG as the representative of local governments.

The Global Alliance for Urban Crises will be a platform that aims to establish effective and efficient partnerships to prevent, prepare for and better respond to urban crises. The alliance builds on the long-standing work of the membership in this field and in particular the work of the UCLG Working Group on Local Government Disaster Response.

Although the official launch of the Global Alliance will be at the WHS in Istanbul, some of the organizations interested in joining this initiative met in Barcelona from 6-7 March 2016 in order to further define commitments, agree on a common work plan and adopt a governance model. They also began to set out a roadmap for 2016 during which two major international events for the urban and disaster response communities will take place: the WHS and the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

UCLG, as the representative of local governments, opened the first session on 6 March along with UN Habitat. Both organizations welcomed the creation of this alliance, an initiative representing a crossroads of different themes for UCLG, many of which are included in the high level agenda of the organization such as Migration, Climate Change and the follow up to the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Leave no one behind

The WHS will be a chance for the global community and to express its commitment to “leaving no one behind” and will be underlined by the commitment of the Alliance to do this. The Alliance is about people and it was agreed that it should advocate at the international level but also be brought down to the regional and local level with a more operational perspective and impact on the ground.

One of the specific tasks for UCLG will be to bring more mayors and local leaders into the Global Alliance and there was a strong feeling regarding local governance and the role of mayors in disaster risk response, that the affected populations must be at the center but local governments will play an important role in coordinating, concerted action and decision making.

The Next steps: The World Humanitarian Summit and Habitat III

The WHS on 23-24 May 2016, where the official launch of the alliance will take place, is a global call to action by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set an agenda for change to make humanitarian action fit for the great challenges we face now and in the future. The Summit will be a key moment to advocate for the role played by local governments in raising awareness and consciousness among their populations in order to reduce the risk of disaster.

Then from 17-20 October 2016, Habitat III will be an important opportunity to bring attention to the Global Alliance and to advocate for the Urban Crisis Agenda, with a call for its partial or full integration into the New Urban Agenda.