ICHA RESEARCH THEMES

Emergency humanitarian response

Humanitarian actors are well known for their response to emergencies during disasters. However, they face multiple problems and bottlenecks in responding to disasters. Thus efforts should be given to research on key aspects of the response phase including:

What happens on the ground;operational objectives;decision constraints and opportunities. To maximize humanitarian response planning, capability, coordination and efficiency, our research will focus on the real needs facing humanitarian organization. In line with this:

  • We invest in research of on-going and past response in order to provide in-depth knowledge on how to effectively plan, prepare and respond to disaster, thus improving the humanitarian response.
  • We support research that analyzes operational problems at different response phases so as to develop pragmatic solutions.

Environment and humanitarian action

Environmental issues are often underlying and contributing factors to humanitarian crises. Furthermore, humanitarian crises can have negative effects on the environment and exacerbate risk and vulnerability if managed inadequately or addressed too late. While the immediate priorities for humanitarian actors include saving lives, reducing human suffering, and jump-starting recovery, there is increasing understanding and awareness amongst the humanitarian community on the need to integrate environment into programmes and operations. In line with this:

  • We support research to understand the operational approach for humanitarian response in order to mainstream environmental concerns.
  • We strengthen the evidence base to inform the manner in which humanitarian action is financed to include multi-annual commitment and support for mitigating activities

Resilience livelihoods in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

The importance of understanding the vulnerability of people’s livelihoods, the risks they face and their adaptive strategies in key since livelihoods are often caught in the dynamics of natural and man-made disasters. Our focus will be on developing further understanding and analysis of livelihood vulnerability and resilience in the context of protracted and repeated crises and disaster reduction. In line with this:

  • We support research to better understand the root causes of vulnerability and transformation challenges in both development and disaster contexts to ensure appropriate range of interventions are considered and applied
  • We invest in research of ongoing and past interventions to better understand what works most effectively to prevent and protect people from further hardship and what is most effective to build their resilience to withstand further setbacks and disasters.

Health in emergencies

Research on the effectiveness of health interventions in humanitarian crises has significantly increased during the last decade. However, considering the diversity of humanitarian crises, contexts and health care needs, the volume of evidence available remains too limited. The need for a stronger empirical evidence base for responses to humanitarian crises has been identified by various humanitarian actors. In line with this:

  • We support research that will generate more evidence needed to enhance response and improve human health outcome
  • We support research that generate evidence on how to deliver quality healthcare in urban population
  • We support research to understand the effectiveness of interventions (mainly in Gender-Based Violence and mental health and psychosocial support); and also to understand the most effective way of delivering the health interventions (focus on injury and rehabilitation, WASH and NCD).

Urban Risk

Understanding the nature and scale of urban risks especially in low and middle income countries and its implication for humanitarian preparedness, planning and response is very critical considering the changing nature of these crises. It has become clear that both the normative and the operational levels responses are poorly adapted to the interrelated challenges that urbanization pose for humanitarian action. In line with this:

  • We review the challenges of responding to urban disasters, which is becoming an increasing part of the humanitarian ‘caseload”.
  • We build knowledge and evidence to inform more appropriate approaches to humanitarian response in urban settings
  • We support research that will provide in-depth knowledge of the links between cities’ characteristic features, related systems and disaster, since this is indispensable in addressing root causes as well as mainstreaming risk reduction into urban work

Climate Science and climate change and humanitarian action

A changing climate means more work for humanitarian organization, mostly because vulnerable people are likely to experience new patterns of disaster. Science-based information about likely threats can be used to reduce risk and improve resource allocation. In line with this:

  • We strengthen evidence of impacts of climate change on humanitarian work related to disaster management, food security, livelihoods, health, water, sanitation and support in times of social instability.
  • We support research to better understand and support the use of predictions/forecasts at different timescales to anticipate impacts more precisely disaster risk reduction.
  • We build evidence on the importance of climate science to informing timely funding of early action.

Capacity building in humanitarian action

Disasters are increasing in frequency, severity and complexity hence stretching the response capacities of the global humanitarian systems. Thus there is need to continuous conduct research to identify ways of improving and developing new capacities of humanitarian actors in response to emerging humanitarian needs. In line with this:

  • We support research to better understand the capacity needs of humanitarian actors in response to the changing nature of humanitarian crises
  • We generate knowledge that support the provision of appropriate skills considering the changing nature of emerging crises.

Social protection and Essential Services

Access to essential services is a fundamental human right and key to tackling the multiple and reinforcing dimensions of poverty and vulnerability. Here:

  • We support research to better understand how social protection programmes can be strengthened to further reduce vulnerability and build resilience of the poorest and most marginalized.
  • We strengthen research to better understand how the poorest citizens and communities can effectively access and benefit from health, education and social protection services.

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