Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    International law applicable to urban conflict and disaster
    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of the international legal framework governing urban crises arising from conflict, “natural” and technological disasters. Design/methodology/approach: The paper deploys legal analysis to the most relevant bodies of international law pertaining to urban crises and systematically outlines the key legal issues arising. Findings: International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) provide important protections to vulnerable persons in both human-made and “natural” disaster settings. While the two bodies of law do not draw explicit distinctions between urban and rural settings, their various provisions, and indeed their silence on, crucial issues that would enhance legal protection in urban settings merit greater attention. Research limitations/implications: The paper provides an overview of the sources of international law of most relevance to urban crises. Further research is required into how the urban environment influences their application concretely in urban settings. Practical implications: In an era when international law is being challenged from many sources and attention is turning to the increasing potential for urban violence and vulnerability, this paper serves to sensitise the disaster management and humanitarian community to the relevance of international legal frameworks to its activities in urban settings. Originality/value: This paper considers the most salient international legal issues arising during crises and compares and contrasts how the different bodies of international law (IHL and IHRL) address each of the kinds of crises (conflict, “natural” or technological disaster), respectively.
  • Publication
    Does Tenure Security Reduce Disaster Risk? A Comparative Study of the Nairobi Settlements of Kibera and Kawangware
    While scholarship suggests that improving tenure security and housing significantly reduces disaster risk at the household level within urban settings, this assertion has not been adequately tested. Tenure security can be conceived as being composed of three interrelated and overlapping forms: tenure security as determined by legal systems; de facto tenure security; and tenure security as perceived by residents. This article traces the relationship between tenure security, the quality of housing, and disaster risk on the basis of a mixed methods comparative case study of the settlements of Kawangware and Kibera in Nairobi. Although the findings suggest that owner-occupancy is associated with the structural integrity of dwellings to a greater extent than tenantship, no association was found between the length of occupancy by households and the structural integrity of the dwelling. Moreover, tenantship is not found to be closely associated with fires and flooding affecting the dwelling as extant scholarship would suggest. Formal ownership is linked with greater investment and upgrading of property with significant implications for disaster risk. Our findings highlight the complex relationship between tenure security and disaster risk in urban informal settlements and provide impetus for further investigation.
      150Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Social capital undergirds coping strategies: evidence from two informal settlements in Nairobi
    Understanding the nature and scope of existing social capital is essential to building the resilience of people living in vulnerable urban settings. This paper explores the question of how aid organisations can better utilise social capital to build the resilience of communities in slums. It specifically examines the relationship between social capital and urban vulnerability. The study used a mixed-methods approach to understand the diverse perspectives of social capital and uncover relationships that exist between social capital, absorptive and adaptive coping strategies in Kibera and Kawangware slums in Nairobi, Kenya. The findings show that coping is not a community or a societal issue; people living in slums resort to either absorptive or adaptive coping strategies or a combination of both due to the precariousness of livelihoods in such contexts. Measures of bonding, bridging, and linking social capital in slums are significantly associated with adaptive coping strategies. Families that had more dependents, were taking care of ill members or that had no regular source of income were more likely to resort to withdrawing children from school, begging, selling assets, amongst others. Livelihood studies overlook critical aspects of social capital such as bridges and linkages, which are essential for building the transformative capacities of slum dwellers. Therefore, aid actors should focus on social capital if they are to build the capacities of people living in slums. More attention should be given to the role of local organisations and initiatives in establishing bridges and linkages so as not to undermine communities’ existing capacities and resource base.
  • Publication
    The Question is not “If to Localise?” but Rather “How to Localise?”: Perspectives from Irish Humanitarian INGOs
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-09-30) ;
    The localisation agenda has found a new impetus following the COVID 19 pandemic. International NGOs increasingly accept the inevitability of localisation and few would argue against its conceptual benefits. However, the challenge to operationalise localisation exposes fundamental differences in the INGO community. While all humanitarian INGOs share a common set of humanitarian principles, these principles sit alongside other principles and values that shape the fundamental strategic management processes of these organisations. This study of Irish humanitarian NGOs shows that organisations are at different stages in fully institutionalising localisation. Most of these organisations depend on a common resource pool that in turn has considerable influence over the speed of localisation. The big messages emanating from this study are that localisation is not without risk which needs to be shared by all stakeholders and many organisations will need to augment their strategic management processes to fully embrace localisation.
      172Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    Human rights and proactive displacement: determining the appropriate balance between the duty to protect and the right to remain
    The proactive displacement by public authorities of populations from areas perceived to be exposed to a high risk of disaster presents complex human rights challenges. Provided that no ulterior motive is at play, the use of compulsory evacuations and relocations as policy responses to such risk is mandated by the duty to protect the right to life. However, proactive displacement in the interest of saving lives can be problematic as such measures can lead to the limitation of other human rights, resulting in an intricate assessment of whether compulsory evacuation or permanent relocation is proportional in any given circumstance. Such an analysis demands critical attention by public authorities to the perception of the disaster risk in question and problematises claims to objectivity of official risk assessments. Furthermore, it poses the question as to whether measures designed to address the disaster risk in question that are less intrusive than relocation may be available to public authorities.
      567Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Beyond ethical approval: fostering ethical research practices within inter-sectoral research projects involving academic and NGO sector partners
    While research and innovation collaborations between NGOs and academic organisations can create considerable synergies with positive effects for the humanitarian sector, the inter-sectoral nature of such collaborations can generate challenges due to the varying mandates, objectives and ways of working of the organisations involved. By drawing on the experiences of a 4-year project involving a consortium of academic and NGO partners, this paper outlines three broad and inter-related ethical challenges that such projects can encounter and how they can be practically negotiated. Firstly, how are the knowledge-generation requirements of such projects addressed without engaging in the mere extraction of data from participants? Secondly, how are potential risks to participants arising from their participation balanced with the need to include their voices within the research project? Finally, how are the formal requirements laid down by institutional review committees, primarily within academic organisations, to be adhered to within field contexts in which there are well-established expectations and ways of working on the part of NGO partners and beneficiaries? While these dilemmas are merely illustrative of the potential ethical dilemmas that inter-sectoral collaboration might encounter, the paper highlights that ethical dilemmas ought to be addressed reflexively by all stakeholders in order to facilitate improved collaboration and, ultimately, better quality, more relevant and more ethically informed research.