Settlements Approach Guidance Note

Publication language
Date published
02 Dec 2020
Community-led, Engaging with affected populations, Host Communities, humanitarian action, Humanitarian Principles, Shelter and housing, Shelter
InterAction, IMPACT Initiatives, IMPACT Initiatives, Global Shelter Cluster, USAID, USAID, CRS

The Settlements Approach Guidance Note is a tool for changing humanitarian circumstances.

The humanitarian landscape is transforming quickly. Uncontrolled urbanisation, environmental pressure, and protracted armed conflicts present new challenges. They affect the built and natural environments, protection systems, essential services, governance capacities, markets, and livelihoods in unprecedented intersecting ways. Indeed, such stressing factors often occur simultaneously. That in itself increases the need for humanitarian response, especially in vulnerable territories. This growing complexity demands localised, multisectoral, collaborative and inclusive approaches to address multi-faceted vulnerabilities. It also demands aid organizations prioritise interventions in the most affected territories.

In the face of these challenges, the humanitarian community has made some important commit- ments in recent years. Initiatives such as the Grand Bargain, the Localization Agenda, and the Nexus have prompted us all to reconsider how we deliver humanitarian assistance. They call for a more integrated approach to human- itarian response, more tangible links between emergency and development interventions, and to empower local stakeholders to play a more prominent role in crisis responses. Place-based, community-based and multisector undertakings are hence quickly regaining traction in humanitarian action. Such efforts come with a pressing demand for dedicated technical guidance.

The Settlements Approach Guidance Note consolidates current practices and experience, drawing on more than 30 case studies. It was collaboratively written and peer reviewed by subject-matter experts, under the auspices of the Global Shelter Cluster, with financial support from USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, and in consultation with and contribution from other cluster partners, NGOs and donors. We hope it is a base for further discussion and operationalisation in appropriate contexts, including better collaboration between sectoral actors, national and international stake-holders, and humanitarian and development agencies.