Key Projects

Urban Competency Framework

Over half the world’s population now live in urban areas, of which a third are living in informal settlements. According to the IRC's 2017 'Violence in the City' report, 80% of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) now live outside rural camps and increasingly in urban areas.

With the increasing growth and vulnerability of cities to natural and manmade disasters, there is a growing need to adapt humanitarian expertise to urban crises. One key factor that has challenged effective humanitarian response in urban contexts has been the lack of sufficient personnel with the appropriate knowledge and skill sets for working in urban settings.

The newly developed Urban Competency Framework will address this need by providing the minimum standards of competency required for an effective humanitarian urban response. This includes both guidelines to soliciting the support of non-humanitarian professionals, as well as competency standards required of humanitarian actors deployed to urban crises settings.

The Urban Competency Framework is funded by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as part of an EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funded project for the Global Alliance for Urban Crises (GAUC), in support of the Action entitled ‘Developing the skills to meet the needs of urban populations in crises through the alliance of urban responders’.

The Urban Competency Framework

The competency framework will draw from other successful competency frameworks, such as the Core Humanitarian Competencies Framework, to avoid duplicative messaging and ensure uptake, clarity, and ease of use.

By building consensus around the competency framework through consultation, the aim is to create a robust document that is useful to non-humanitarian and humanitarian actors and includes relevant expertise from a variety of sectors that do not typically collaborate on such resources. The consultation and development of the framework will help to identify where there are skills gaps, and how these could be addressed by recruitment based upon specific competencies and/or further refinement of existing training and capacity building.

Project Timeline

  • January – May 2018 Review phase Review of existing competency frameworks and relevant urban materials


  • June – December 2018 Consultation phase -  Development of the UCF alongside consultation with sector experts


  • January – March 2019 Publication phase - Publication of the UCF for sector usage, and running of a workshop to support humanitarians to effectively implement the framework in their organisations

Our partners

Global Alliance for Urban Crises was established to bring together the different actors who can help to improve crisis preparedness and response in our increasingly urban world

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future

ECHO is the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, providing assistance for affected countries and populations whenever there is a disaster or humanitarian emergency