Forced displacement is a development challenge, not only a humanitarian concern. Around 78% refugees are displaced for more than five years, and the vast majority of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people live in developing 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 70.8 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 2018 ).
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 16 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.
The Global Refugee Forum (GRF) scheduled for December 2019 will bring the international community together to support implementation of the global compact on refugees and develop a concrete workplan towards the next forum in 2023. The key objectives of the forum are to: broaden the base of support and mobilize new donors to support comprehensive refugee responses and contribute to more equitable responsibility sharing; and support the development of more inclusive national policies e.g. strengthened protection capacity, inclusion in national systems (education and health) and increased access to jobs and livelihoods (e.g. right to work).
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2019