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Advancing the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus in African cities impacted by rapid urban population growth and displacement

This press release first appeared on UN Habitats website. MMC engages in content partnerships with several organizations, and cross-posting does not indicate an endorsement or agreement.

June 2021. As part of the ICLEI Rise Africa Action Festival Session, UN-Habitat and the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) hosted a session addressing the importance of the humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) nexus for advancing solutions to rapid urbanization and displacement with a focus on Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Over the last decade, humanitarian crises have become more protracted and increasingly urban, as many displaced people seek refuge in urban areas. With its emphasis on integrated responses and synergies between humanitarian, development, and peace actors, the HDP nexus offers a window to holistically address complex urban displacement and rapid urbanization challenges.

UN-Habitat promotes the need to advance the HDP nexus in urban displacement settings. In the session’s keynote, Angelica Broman, Senior Advisor on the HDP nexus at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), stressed the importance of the nexus for advancing the SDGs and the Agenda for Humanity through its focus on reducing risks and vulnerabilities and introduced the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee recommendation on the HDP nexus which IOM and UN-Habitat adhered to.

“For implementing the nexus in urban settings, we need jointly designed and integrated projects – not sectoral thinking,” said Ms Broman.

Samer Saliba, Head of Practice at the Mayors Migration Council underlined that municipal financing by the international community is essential for advancing the nexus. He introduced the MMC’s Global Cities Fund which provides financial and technical support to cities as they address the needs of displaced populations.

“Local authorities need to be included in analysis, programming as well as implementation. There is a need for new and direct financing mechanisms for local level action,” he said.

Shettima Babakura, Urban Disaster Risk Reduction Deputy Project Manager from ACTED Nigeria, introduced ACTED’s ‘Response to Resilience’ project which is advancing the nexus in Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Borno state. He noted how the nexus can provide long and short-term solutions to urban displacement in Nigeria, while also addressing the challenges to such an approach.

Falmata Omar Lawan, Director for the Women’s Department at the State Ministry Women Affairs and Social Development (MWASD), in Borno, added additional information on the local context and government actions to address the challenges saying:  “…the coordination and collaboration between the government and nongovernmental organisations serves as the key factors in yielding positive sustainability development goals in every conflict affected region. This means, there is need to strengthen the synergy between individual parties involved in any project implementation as a pathway to achieve the desired objectives.”

Introducing the country context in Burkina Faso, Mr Yombi Ouedraogo, Programme Manager for UN-Habitat Burkina Faso, shared insights on the displacement situation in the country, where currently more than 1.2 million people are internally displaced, many within cities where they face limited access to housing, water, sanitation and basic services.

He introduced UN-Habitat’s project on “Increased resilience for cities impacted by massive internal displacement and COVID-19” and underlined the importance of service provision for rebuilding trust in government authorities. With its conflicts due to different root causes and in different regions of the country, Cameroon was at the centre of a third country presentation and Jahal de Meritens, UN Humanitarian Development Peace Coordinator in Cameroon, showcased the UN’s coordinated response to the Cameroonian urban displacement context. He underlined that through the HDP nexus approach, the UN’s work as humanitarian, development, and peace actors can amplified by the synergies generated from working towards collective outcomes.

“Coordinated partnerships between humanitarian, development and peace actors contribute to developing context tailored, durable solutions to urban displacement,” he said.

UN-Habitat’s and partners’ projects in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso or the Latin American countries impacted by the Venezuela refugee crisis are benefitting from agency’s experience in development contexts for advancing sustainable solutions in crisis, conflict or early post conflict settings. UN-Habitat is also implementing a flagship on “ Inclusive cities: Enhancing the positive impact of urban migration” and further information on projects and approaches can be found here.

The recording and a session summary are available on


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