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Humanitarian challenges of urbanization

30-06-2010 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 878, by Raimond Duijsens

The plight of more than one billion people nowadays living in informal settlements, characterized by vulnerability and poverty, should be the concern of humanitarian organizations. Applying the ‘human security’ framework and ‘livelihoods’ approach can enable them to take a proactive role.

 

Raimond Duijsens works as senior policy officer with the Netherlands Red Cross. In the past he has also, in various positions, worked on strategic and policy issues with the International Federation in Geneva and New York. He is currently a PhD candidate, focusing on vulnerability in informal settlements in the global south and the opportunities for and limitations of National Red Cross Societies to address these. The PhD research is sponsored by the Netherlands Red Cross and carried out with Disaster Studies,Wageningen University. 
 
Abstract 
More than one billion people nowadays live as slum-dwellers in informal settlements characterized by vulnerability and poverty. The ‘normal’ situation in slums can, in several ways, be classified as a ‘crisis’, and violence levels often contribute to situations akin to ‘armed conflict’. The plight of these people should be the concern of humanitarian organizations, which should consequently widen their spectrum and address vulnerability to disasters and to violence as mutually reinforcing. Applying the   ‘human security’ framework and ‘livelihoods’ approach can enable them to take a proactive role. However, particularly for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent   Movement, a greater involvement also poses several challenges.  


 
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