Launched in May 2019, the Regional Studies Association Research Network on Academic-Practitioner Collaboration for Urban Settlements, South Pacific (APCUS-SP) is up and running. RSA Research Networks are formed by RSA members interested in collaborating to examine an issue that responds to the aims and goals of the Association, and which is of interest and concern to both members and non-members.

APCUS is a network of academics and practitioners that aims to bridge the practice-research divide across the whole of the humanitarian disaster management cycle: from preparedness and response, to recovery and in the South Pacific because of the region’s emerging urban experience and vulnerability to disasters. Find out much more and join us here: http://apcus.cdmps.org.au and https://www.regionalstudies.org/networks/academic-practitioner-collaboration-for-urban-settlements-south-pacific/

 Membership: Who are where are our members?

We currently have 148 members from at least 18 countries and across a range of agencies.  We have representatives from all countries in the South Pacific, along with other Pacific countries and territories.  We also have members from Australia and New Zealand, the USA, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and South Asia.  We welcome all who have expertise and experience that can be put to use in the Pacific.

APCUS-SP is a network of individuals, rather than agencies.  Our members come from a range of specialties and professions, including academia, government (local and national), humanitarian response, development, and civil-society.

 Coproduction: How did we arrive at our identity and vision?

APCUS-SP is a member-driven organisation.  We have run three workshops so far to share our vision for APCUS-SP, generate feedback and coproduce the organisation:

We have also described our mission and received feedback at a number of meetings and consultations:

  • Red Cross – Melbourne, 25 April 2018
  • Pacific Update conference – Suva, 05-06 July 2018
  • Urban Response Community of Practice – Melbourne, 05 September 2018
  • CDMPS Symposium – Melbourne, 24 September 2018
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, 11 October 2018
  • Global Shelter Cluster Meeting – Geneva, 3-4 October 2018
  • Urban Resilience Asia Pacific Conference – Sydney, 7-8 November 2018.

Demonstration of Value: What have we produced?

Our members have connected to each other to offer support, share information, and share expertise.  A selection of engagements that have resulted from APCUS is:

  • Ambae Island Emergency Response, Vanuatu – support and assembly of information during the ongoing emergency response on Ambae and Santo, Vanuatu
  • Elang Etas Community Association (EECA), Port Vila, Vanuatu – connected to support within Vanuatu through APCUS
  • Vanuatu Forced Displacement Policy – dissemination of policy to members
  • Government of the Solomon Islands – reached out via APCUS for assistance in organising workshops for its new forced displacement policy – October 2018, successfully connected with scholars to organise a workshop
  • Government of the Solomon Islands – reached out via APCUS for partnership on its initiative, Community Perceptions of Urban Resilience, and successfully connected with the Australian Red Cross
  • Provided a response to the United Nations’ proposed Model Approach to Environmental and Social Standards for UN Programming.

Plan for 2019: What’s Next?

In our first half-year of operation, APCUS-SP has achieved a critical mass of members and developed a network identity.  In 2019, while continuing to support urban humanitarian response in the Pacific, we will shift our focus to governance and continuation of the network.  We plan to establish a steering committee and hold a workshop in Canberra to report our impact to donors and seek partnerships that will allow us to continue our work.