Laura Ronkainen
JIPS Field Support Manager
Duty Station: Geneva, Switzerland

Working together with Katie Lo, I am addressing the challenge of how to ensure effective vulnerability targeting for cash-based interventions in IDP contexts through a coherent approach with area-based urban analysis and using existing data systems such as protection assessment information.

Cash-based, targeted interventions are one form of assistance used by UNHCR to enable internally displaced persons to meet their needs with autonomy and dignity, while also supporting local markets and host communities. Improving data collection and analysis methodologies is crucial to improve cash distribution and other assistance programs in urban contexts.

In urban contexts, area-based population profiling methods are an emerging solution to addressing urban displacement with great potential for producing more sustainable solutions. However, area-based approaches are not always compatible with the data needed to effectively target assistance to populations with specific needs and vulnerabilities. As UNHCR improves and expands household-level protection assessments, there is more opportunity to develop sound urban context analysis using these two types of information to effectively identify and target the most vulnerable people, and then tailor cash assistance or other support to have the most sustainable impact. We will combine our experiences with area-based profiling methods, protection assessments, and cash assistance to develop solutions to better analyse urban internal displacement situations to promote effective and actionable information for vulnerability targeting. We will start by looking at the situation of IDPs in Iraq, and perhaps expand to other IDP operations in the Middle East region.

I want to find a solution to this challenge because humanitarian response and work towards durable solutions for displaced persons are increasingly taking place in urban areas, with a clear need for local authorities, urban planners and humanitarian and development actors to work more seamlessly together.

Better area-based analysis and compatible information on specific population groups is necessary for improved and more sustainable responses in urban contexts. A solution to this challenge is of acute operational interest to UNHCR and more broadly among the humanitarian and development community responding to urban displacement crises.