Groupe URD’s role is to accompany aid actors to improve the quality of their programmes: operational NGOs, UN agencies, Red Cross Movement bodies, state institutions, donors, researchers, think tanks and students.

Complementary activities

Our different activities feed into each other and stimulate collective learning within the humanitarian sector:

  • STRATEGIC SUPPORT – Providing insight
  • STUDIES AND RESEARCH – Knowledge for action
  • EVALUATION – Evolving through evaluation
  • DEVELOPMENT OF TOOLS AND METHODS – Transforming practices
  • ORGANISATIONAL SUPPORT – Accompanying change
  • TRAINING – Investing in the future

Our support can include a combination of activities: an evaluation and a training course, research and the development of tools, etc. Certain projects involve long-term follow-up and made-to-measure services that are adapted to actors’ changing demands and needs. They sometimes combine several themes, focusing on one or more country, or comparing the approaches of different stakeholders.

A think tank serving humanitarian action

Groupe URD analyses and puts into perspective the main factors making the sector evolve. What is specific about our approach is that all our work is rooted in field experiences. By going back and forward between policy and practice we are able to support decision-makers.

In order to contribute to debates and share lessons, we:

  • summarise and disseminate the results of our research and evaluations;
  • regularly organise workshops, seminars and other kinds of events in France and in the field;
  • monitor publications related to specific themes, publish the “Humanitairan Aid on the Move” review and regularly contribute to other publications;
  • are active in different national and international networks, and attend the main international events related to the sector in Brusells, Paris, Geneva, London, New York, Washington, Dubai, Dakar, Rome, etc.

A little history…

Groupe URD was created when a number of humanitarian and development professionals met in 1993. Having observed the difficulties caused by the over-compartmentalisation of their activities, they decided to get together to discuss how to work together better and develop appropriate methods. An informal discussion group was created, called Groupe URD, which got together regularly to:

  • compare points of view and experiences;
  • improve understanding of crises, contexts and new issues in the field due to the end of the Cold War;
  • discuss possible and necessary links between different types of intervention.

In 1997, Groupe URD took on its present form as a non-profit association (French Law of 1901) in order to explore these issues in more depth.

Some semantics…

The acronym URD in the name ‘Groupe URD’ stands for Urgence-Réhabilitation-Développment (Emergency, Rehabilitation and Development). These three terms correspond to the different phases of a crisis.

A humanitarian EMERGENCY is an event, or a series of events, that represent a serious threat for the health, security or wellbeing of a community or group of people in a given area. The term humanitarian CRISIS is also often used, which can be of different types (armed conflicts, epidemics, famines or natural disasters).
The REHABILITATION phase, which is also known as the post-emergency or post-crisis phase, is the transition phase towards development.

DEVELOPMENT concerns a long term vision in response to structural and long-term problems, and in favour of development in economics, education, social issues, culture, health, etc.
The acronym LRRD stands for “Linking Relief Rehabilitation & Development”, thus concerns efforts to link the different phases described above. This link can be established in a sequence of phases over time (continuum) or concomitantly (contiguum).

Since 2016, LRRD has gradually been replaced by the term the humanitarian-development NEXUS, which encourages development actors to be more involved in managing the consequences of long-term crises.

Our place in the humanitarian sector

In France, Groupe URD has a singular place in the sector:

  • We are both a ‘think tank’, contributing to debates and developing policies, and a ‘do tank’, providing actors with operational and methodological support at different stages of a crisis.
  • We are the only organisation to do six complementary activities.
  • And we do these activities for the full crisis cycle: prevention, humanitarian relief, post-crisis reconstruction, rehabilitation, development, and the links between these phases.

At the international level, Groupe URD has gained in recognition. We are regularly solicited by UN agencies, ministries from foreign countries, international donors, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and international NGOs.
As such, we take part in networks of practitioners for particular themes. Groupe URD is: a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Steering Committee; the creator and facilitator of the Humanitarian Environment Network; a member and facilitator of the French Disaster Risk Reduction network; a member of the international network of evaluators ALNAP; and a member of the Quality and Accountability Group.