Increased support to refugee-hosting countries key to addressing rising displacement

December 12, 2023

Failure to support countries hosting refugees or welcoming returnees puts development gains at risk.

UNDP Moldova

13 December, Geneva – Investing in sustainable development is the only way to reduce historic levels of forced displacement, meet the needs of refugees and communities, and ease pressure on host countries and those welcoming returnees. At the second Global Refugee Forum in Geneva 13-15 December, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned of new and protracted displacement unless support to refugee-hosting countries is sharply increased. 

Failure to support countries hosting refugees or welcoming returnees puts development gains at risk and leaves refugees dependent on humanitarian aid. Recognizing this, UNDP is pledging to scale up support in 30 plus countries and help them unlock long-term financing, invest in access to services, livelihoods, decent jobs and justice, while strengthening peacebuilding, climate action and national and local coordination and management.

“The human cost of forced displacement is heartbreaking. We need a renewed sense of global solidarity to tackle the challenges facing refugees and host communities. Supporting humanitarian assistance, development investments and peacebuilding efforts will help countries secure a future for themselves and the refugees they host,” said UNDP Associate Administrator Haoliang Xu at the Global Refugee Forum. 

As a collective call to action, the Government of Japan and UNDP are also launching a multi-sectoral pledge to “Accelerate and better leverage the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus approaches in forced displacement settings”.

The Global Compact on Refugees, which emphasizes global responsibility sharing, is under severe strain. At the end of 2023, the number of refugees, asylum seekers and other people in need of international protection reached 47.8 million (UNHCR). 

The world’s low- and middle-income countries – not wealthy States – host the most refugees (76 per cent). According to the 2023 Global Compact on Refugees Indicator Report, 80 percent of the world’s refugee population is being hosted by countries that together represented only 19 percent of the world’s income. 

Large movements of people are putting the economies, services, and societies of developing countries under severe pressure, leaving them dependent on insufficient levels of international aid. Between 2020 and 2021, only 34 percent of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA) for refugee situations in developing countries was for development financing, 6 percent on peace and 3.6 percent in support of refugees returning to countries of origin. In 2022, only half a million refugees accessed solutions including voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement.

The Global Refugee Forum takes place every four years to track progress and set new ambitions of tackling forced displacement. UNDP is also engaged in several multi-stakeholder pledges including the UN Common Pledge 2.0. a pledge on climate action and finance, the legal aid community pledge, and advancing durable solutions through securing housing, land and property rights and leveraging its area-based approach and stabilization programming to facilitate reintegration in countries of return, such as Afghanistan.

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