Emma’s internship at UN-HABITAT / Part II

Emma-Liisa Hannula is completing her four months internship at the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi, Kenya. She will tell about her experiences in SGT blog during the spring term! This is her second letter from Kenya!

Two months of my internship has already passed. It has been an intensive and interesting time. I have learned a lot of crisis related planning and crisis response in general. I am working on two publications that are to be finished before I end my internship: Quick guide on post-crisis urban planning for leaders and Quick guide on post-crisis urban planning for practitioners. During February month I mostly read about the subject and gathered as much information as I could, according to planning in crisis contexts. I organized also an e-discussion amongst HABITAT professionals for gaining knowledge on the subject. During March I put together the information I had gathered and prepared drafts of outlines for the both quick guides.

Picture: Emma-Liisa Hannula / Hell’s Gate National Park

During April I have prepared a four page brochure on UN-HABITAT´s settlement planning in crisis context. The brochure includes introduction to the subject, issues and UN-HABITAT approaches, value added, cross cutting issues and an operational timeline. I have also prepared global indicators with which the different planning related outcomes, outputs and impacts of UN-HABITAT responses can be measured around the world.  I have circulated the material I have produced amongst UN-HABITAT professionals and gotten feedback on the direction I should go to from now on.

Last week during the Pre-governing council my office organized a four-day workshop for people working on crisis response within the different regional and country offices of UN-HABITAT around the world. The week was very intensive but extremely informative and nice. I learned a lot and had a possibility to show my work, get feedback and get to know UN-HABITAT professionals from all over the world as well as meet the executive director of UN-HABITAT.  Discussions with the field people were extremely interesting. This week UN-HABITAT is organizing the Governing council 2011 where invited ministers and decision makers from all over the world gather here in Nairobi to discuss and make decisions according to urban issues in the world. It has been very interesting to join the meetings and see how the global decisions are made.

A general concern of many people working with crisis related matters is that most of the professional planners do not have any education in crisis planning and this is why it often falls on others with ´do no harm´ approach. Crisis planning is much organizing and making strategic decisions that are implementable as soon as possible. The starting point, context and time pressure are very different to the normal planning context. At the same time crises present large opportunities in changing past experiences, enhancing hazards resilience and building back better and thus professional planners should be more involved. As the number of conflicts and natural disaster is increasing in the world, crisis planning should be addressed more in the planning education.

Emma-Liisa Hannula Blog 10.04.2011