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Timber framing of house walls and roof

Defining a Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Research Agenda

Despite the knowledge gained on post-disaster sheltering and housing over the last several decades, there remains a disconnect in the evidence needed by humanitarian practitioners and the learning that the research community is capturing. To determine the research needed by practitioners, we assembled a Delphi panel of experts in humanitarian shelter and settlements. They first identified and then ranked the relative importance of research topics. Ninety-six research needs were identified and ranked by importance in six key areas that included: (1) comparing and evaluating approaches to sheltering, (2) shelter and settlement programming, (3) design and construction of shelter, (4) understanding impacts and outcomes of shelter, (5) disaster risk reduction and the humanitarian-development nexus, and (6) challenging contexts and topics. Top research priorities identified include a need to better understand how to support shelter self-recovery, longitudinal and long-term impacts of shelter, and the transition from response to recovery. The resulting needs provide a research agenda for humanitarian organisations, academic institutions, and donors, aligning with the Global Shelter Cluster’s strategy to invest in evidence-based response.

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Timber framing of house under construction
Briefing Note

Defining a Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Research Agenda

In the face of rising challenges, the humanitarian system is facing unprecedented change that requires better incorporation of past learning, but also the generation of new knowledge that can support aid to better assist communities affected by conflict and disaster. For the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector, there is an unclear roadmap for future research. The Global Shelter Cluster, in its current strategy , has called for the need to “further analyse existing evidence and gaps and set out a broader operational field research agenda.” This priority is one of four key pillars aimed to strengthen humanitarian shelter and settlement actors’ ability to respond effectively to crises. This study aimed to prioritise research needs within the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector. Drawing on Delphi methods, we solicited opinions on research needs from a panel of humanitarian shelter and settlement experts over three rounds of online surveys.

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