The ICRC’s approach to urban services during protracted armed conflict: Q & A with Evaristo de Pinho Oliveira

The experience gained from addressing the challenge of maintaining public services (for example water, sanitation, electricity, and solid waste disposal) over time has taught us that the underlying causes of those challenges do not receive the attention they deserve. Even their symptoms are difficult to deal with through short-term emergency response. Addressing these challenges is all the more difficult when the complexity inherent in urban contexts is compounded by repeated cycles of armed conflict and international sanctions or other restrictions on importing goods. The ICRC's experience and research suggests that a new humanitarian era needs to be ushered in, where nothing less than a paradigm shift in our thinking is necessary, to design and implement interventions that are more effective for assisting affected people.

About the author

Evaristo de Pinho Oliveira
International Committee of the Red Cross

Evaristo de Pinho Oliveira is the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Water and Habitat Unit. He started working with the ICRC as a water and sanitation engineer in 1995. Over the next ten years he completed missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Angola, Iraq, Sudan and East Timor, and provided water and habitat support to the ICRC's regional delegations in Asia. He then was based at ICRC headquarters in Geneva, where he held several positions supporting field operations in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In 2016, he co-authored the ICRC's report on Urban services in protracted armed conflict: A call for a better approach to assisting affected people. Prior to working at the ICRC, he worked in Quebec as an engineer and as a teaching assistant at McGill University.

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