Rapid urbanisation is a key characteristic of the modern world, interacting with and reinforcing other global mega trends, including armed conflict, climate change, crime, environmental degradation, financial and economic instability, food shortages, underemployment, volatile commodity prices, and weak governance. Displaced people also are affected by and engaged in the process of urbanisation. Increasingly, refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are to be found not in camps or among host communities in rural areas, but in the towns and cities of developing and middle-income countries. The arrival and long-term settlement of displaced populations in urban areas needs to be better anticipated, understood, and planned for, with a particular emphasis on the establishment of new partnerships. Humanitarian actors can no longer liaise only with national governments; they must also develop urgently closer working relationships with mayors and municipal authorities, service providers, urban police forces, and, most importantly, the representatives of both displaced and resident communities. This requires linking up with those development actors that have established such partnerships already.
© 2012 The Author(s). Journal compilation © Overseas Development Institute, 2012.