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Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK)

Impact

Stakeholders are integrated into the research process helping shape questions, provide and collect data, offer interpretations of findings and act as champions for impact going forward. This anticipated close collaboration is only possible because of preceding work, with the same user groups or similar groups in other cities demonstrating an interest and willingness to collaborate. Four groups of beneficiaries can be distinguished: (1) local populations exposed to urban risk, (2) local government, urban planners and others responsible for urban development and risk management, (3) the international community including private sector, civil society actors and the UN system, (4) bilateral and multilateral development donors such as DFID or the World Bank.

Local populations will benefit from the voice academic research will give, this is particularly so for marginalised groups such as women and children and conflict migrants. For those involved in participatory video or mapping or visiting Urban Resource Hubs and other local workshop activities access to new information and critical thinking on development is hoped to improve scope for local collective and individual adaptation. Local populations will also benefit indirectly from the impacts of research on other actors when this contributes to improved urban development or disaster management performance. Local agencies responsible for urban planning, critical infrastructure planning, environmental and disaster risk management are likely to be the clearest potential beneficiaries. Research provides data and analysis of direct relevance to this group of actors to help inform planning decisions and decision-making practice. Historical work will highlight the ways in which in administrative processes and institutions of urban governance have shaped disaster risk opening scope for revision. International humanitarian NGOs are eager to expand rural conflict and disaster risk management activities into urban contexts where they perceive an unmet and growing demand. By partnering with two NGOs and one UN agency and through the activities of the Advisory Board this community will be able to shape research to inform policy development, and in turn provide a number of potential vehicles for post-programme legacy. UN-HABITATS CRPP programme, and Save the Children's Household Economy Assessment tool are examples. Urban places are increasingly being designed and built by international consultancy forms and the inclusion of ARUP in the consortium similarly allows access and influence through a champion in this sector.

Bilateral and multilateral development actors, and others who set the broad international policy discourse, including UNISDR and the World Bank will benefit from the strategic insights to be derived from Urban ARK. Consortium members are well connected in advisory boards amongst this community and are regularly active in drafting policy reports, for example in writing urban chapters for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or the ISDR Global Assessment Report. This provides a direct line of benefit from research to policy impact.

Two training sessions for early career professional staff in the final year of the programme provide an additional stream of beneficiaries, it is anticipated that UN-HABITAT will accredit this training module. Following from two years of intensive research participants may already have gained research experience through the programme and will be well placed to work in what looks set to become an increasingly high priority area of policy and practice. Through this relationship and influence outputs from Urban ARK will spread widely, well beyond the case study cities and partner institutions involved.

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