• 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.

  • A development approach: Helping the displaced and their hosts

    As part of a global effort, the World Bank Group is actively engaged to help better manage the forced displacement crisis, in support of its mission to reduce poverty and contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The Bank takes a development approach that will:

    • complement emergency relief activities
    • focus on addressing longer term, social and economic challenges
    • benefit both the forcibly displaced and their hosts.

    In partnership with UNHCR and other organizations, the Bank works through:

    • better data and analytics
    • innovative financing
    • effective operations on the ground

    The IFC (International Finance Corporation) is leading efforts to engage the private sector in supporting refugees and hosts. For example, in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, IFC is helping to increase access to finance to micro-borrowers, foster skills training and entrepreneurship, and improve services.  In Kenya, IFC is raising awareness among firms of market opportunities offered by refugees and host communities

    In the long term, the Bank Group is putting a stronger focus on prevention and addressing the drivers of conflict to create more stable societies, so that people will not need to flee.

  • I. Data and Analytics

    Research at the World Bank Group aims to build the evidence-base on addressing the social and economic aspects of forced displacement. Better data and analytics will help to inform policies and improve targeting of development programs that can improve the lives of affected people.

    Joint UNHCR-World Bank Group Data Center

    The World Bank Group and UNHCR will launch a new data center which will focus on the collection, analysis and dissemination of primary microdata including income, consumption, skills, health status, and economic activities. This builds on collaboration between the two institutions on joint analytical work, joint work with government institutions to expand the collection of microdata; and joint missions to inform Bank Group programming of new resources to address refugee situations. The Center aims to meet the demand for reliable, comparable, and timely data, to enhance decision-making by policymakers and partners and improve the lives of affected people.

    Building the Evidence on Forced Displacement:  A Multi-Stakeholder Partnership

    A joint partnership program between the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank Group and UNHCR focuses on developing new research on protracted situations of forced displacement. This program will generate evidence on what works to ensure future investments are well targeted, prioritized and represent good value for money.

    Activity Highlights:

    Recent World Bank Group Analytical Work:


    II. Innovative Financing

    For low-income host countries:

    The International Development Association, the Bank’s fund for the poorest, is making $2 billion available to support refugees and host communities during its 18th replenishment period (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020). Five countries—Burundi, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania, and Rwanda—have become eligible for assistance in November 2018, in addition to Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, Pakistan, and Uganda (September 2017) and Bangladesh (June 2018).

    Operations are now under preparation and implementation, with the overarching goal to:

    • shift from crisis response to managing risks;
    • support host communities and lagging regions;
    • move towards social and economic inclusion; and
    • take regional and country-level approaches.

    For middle-income host countries:

    The Global Concessional Financing Facility, launched in partnership with the UN and Islamic Development Bank, has unlocked $1.4 billion so far in concessional financing for Jordan and Lebanon, promoting job creation and expanding vital public services and infrastructure. The GCFF recently announced that Colombia is eligible for concessional funding to respond to the needs of Venezuelan nationals who entered the country fleeing an ongoing crisis at home.


    III. Operations

    The Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project

    In the Horn of Africa, violence and insecurity are driving refugees to seek safety in neighboring countries across the region, where they live in areas that face significant developmental challenges of their own. The Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project covers 4 host countries — Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda — to support a sustainable development response led by local governments in partnership with communities. The project invests in basic social services such as primary education and health care; safe water infrastructure that includes conservation measures to rehabilitate degraded watersheds; and small enterprise and skills-based employment for refugees and host communities. In Ethiopia alone, the project works in numerous areas that host over 800,000 refugees. The goal is to help nearly 1.2 million people covering both host communities and refugees over a five-year period.  

Imagine: A New Global Response to Help Refugees and Host Communities Thrive

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