Early warnings and good governance crucial to preventing root causes of displacement: UNDP’s Helen Clark

Sep 19, 2016

New York City, 19 September 2016: The world needs early warning and response systems to detect emerging tensions and promote reconciliation while good governance and the rule of law are strengthened in order to address the very causes of mass movements of refugees, said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.

Speaking at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, Helen Clark also stressed the importance of improving data collection and analysis in order to better cope with the causes of displacement. Earlier in the day, the UN adopted the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, which expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.     

“Throughout human history, people have sought to better their lives through leaving their homes for places where prospects may be better. The root causes of large movements of people include flight from armed conflict and human rights violation, lack of good governance, poverty, marginalisation of communities and environmental degradation – including that exacerbated by climate change,” she said at a round-table meeting at the UN summit.

At the moment, there are 21 million refugees around the world. Clark noted that the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a framework for responding to large movements of people. She said that partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector, the UN system and international financial institutions are necessary in order to respond.

“The international community should place conflict prevention and mediation at the center of international peace and security efforts. Early warning and response systems are needed for when tensions emerge and to foster reconciliation,” Clark said.

“International support is needed to strengthen good governance and the rule of law, and to address structural inequalities. Promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable livelihoods is critical for building peaceful and inclusive societies,” she said.

Clark added that development actors must also assist governments to improve their capacity for data collection and analysis on the root causes of displacement caused by poverty and lack of opportunity, so that suitable responses can be designed.

She said that UNDP provides support for host communities and help countries anticipate and prevent crises; promotes inclusive and accountable institutions which can prevent conflict, improve social cohesion and drive inclusive development; and work to tackle inequalities, improve access to justice and expand access to basic services.

Going forward, Clark said, UNDP will seek to ensure the inclusion of migration and displacement issues as SDGs are localised; support at least 30 programme countries over the next five years to analyse and address the drivers of migration and of forced displacement; and work with partners to build the evidence and data base around migration and displacement.   

Editors’ notes: UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org

Contact information

Adam Cathro, Communications Specialist, UNDP, +1 212 906 5326, +1 917 915 9725 (cell), adam.cathro@undp.org

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