Forced Displacement is a development challenge, not only a humanitarian concern. Over half of refugees are displaced for more than 4 years, and 85% of the world’s refugees live in low- and middle-income countries. As part of a global effort, the World Bank Group is focused on addressing longer term, social and economic challenges that will help both the displaced and their hosts.
Forced Displacement: Humanitarian crisis, development challenge
A surge in violent conflict since 2010 has led to historically high levels of forced displacement. Globally, there are about 68.5 million refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers who have fled their homes to escape violence, conflict and persecution (UNHCR, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017).
The hardships they endured through their displacement have made these people vulnerable. They have lost assets and livelihoods, and they are unable to plan their future. Many suffer from trauma, and women and girls are at high-risk of gender-based violence. They need help to regain their agency and begin rebuilding their lives.
Host communities need support too. The forcibly displaced often live in poor areas in developing countries that are struggling to meet their own development goals. Accommodating the sudden arrival of masses of newcomers presents a challenge for host governments, putting further pressure on their ability to deliver basic services and infrastructure.
This is why forced displacement is not only a humanitarian crisis, it is a development challenge as well. Today, displacement situations are becoming increasingly protracted, and close to 10 million people are now in exile for over 5 years—the highest since the end of the Cold War—underscoring the need for a more sustainable and efficient way to support both the displaced and their hosts with a longer term perspective.
Many host countries in the developing world are taking the lead to better manage these crises, by including refugees in their country’s development plans and in their health and education systems, for example. The global community is also working to improve the transition between humanitarian and development assistance, aligning these efforts under the global compact on refugees led by UNHCR.