Our Perspectives


What are the development solutions for displacement?

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woman and childrenAziza Galmi, 39, left Central African Republic for Chad with her three daughters after losing her husband. Photo: UNDP in Chad

The tumultuous events in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have left millions of people displaced. Over 50 million people around the world are living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

According to UNHCR figures, over three quarters of the 50 million are in a state of protracted displacement— lasting for over 5 years. It is obvious that conflict in these countries may not end soon.

We have also witnessed that natural disasters, such as the major earthquake in Nepal, contribute to enormous displacement. Such crises require development interventions early on alongside humanitarian support.

On the other hand, displacement comes at a high cost to the host communities and host governments with increased demand for basic amenities such as water, sanitation, education, health care services along with the need to address job opportunities— one of the possible reasons to fuel local conflicts and destabilize the host communities. The challenges of displacement need to be addressed with commitment from both sides –the displaced as well as the host communities or governments.

What are the development solutions for displacement and how can UNDP help with the reintegration of IDPs and returning refugees within in its key areas of work?

What does UNDP bring as solution for displacement?

In the next four years, UNDP’s vision is to help countries achieve significant reduction in poverty, inequalities and exclusion. The core of our support to the displaced includes the following interventions, which align with our UNDP 2014-2017 Strategic Plan:

Ensuring that programmes and policy services are based on evidence, within their respective country context. Our livelihoods and capacity needs assessment should be able to inform us about the key development solutions for displacement;

  • Leading on early recovery with focus on jobs and livelihoods for IDPs and refugees, setting a longer term vision for economic development;

  • Supporting the governments to ensure stronger systems of governance for IDPs and returning refugees by addressing rule of law and accountability;

  • Strengthening national institutions to progressively deliver greater access to basic services for displaced populations and affected communities;

  • Supporting the countries in reducing and managing risks of conflict and natural disasters, the major drivers of displacement;

  • Fostering and promoting inclusive growth and development and transforming human capital and labour for jobs and livelihoods, for the benefit of both the displaced and the communities that host them.

UNDP will continue to reinforce the fact that displacement is not only a fundamental humanitarian concern but also a development issue. Development solutions applied early on to crisis will help prevent new protracted displacement situations, as well as do away with dependency on humanitarian aid only.

Development clearly is not a one agency initiative. Success in these countries need coordinated, transparent, committed and innovative partnerships between UN agencies, government, donors and I/NGOs.  It requires close collaboration between humanitarian and development actors together with host communities, the host government and the displaced themselves.

The importance of focusing on solutions together and ensuring that resources are utilized in the best manner possible, while fostering ownership, trust and accountability is vital.

Magdy Martínez-Solimán Development Effectiveness Capacity development Crisis response Human rights Governance and peacebuilding Sustainable development

UNDP Around the world