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Breaking the impasse: Reducing protracted internal displacement as a collective outcome

Breaking the impasse: Reducing protracted internal displacement as a collective outcome

19/09/2017

FAO and WFP co-hosted an event to present the findings of the report Breaking the impasse: Reducing protracted internal displacement as a collective outcome. This report was prepared by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and focuses on supporting internally displaced populations (IDPs) and host communities so that they can move early towards self-sufficiency in protracted crisis situations. The study features five case studies from Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Somalia and Ukraine.

Last year, just over 40 million people were reportedly internally displaced. Most with no prospect of returning home in the near future. Prolonged conflict and recurrent extreme climate events are the main causes of protracted internal displacement, exacerbated by a lack of capacity or will among governments to address displacement and facilitate people’s safe return to their homes.

Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat, co-author, presented the findings of the study. The following key messages highlight areas where governments, humanitarian and development organizations, international financial institutions, and donors should consider potential  and context-specific policies, and institutional and operational changes to achieve collective outcomes for people living in protracted internal displacement situations.

  1. In protracted situations, internal displacement is primarily a development and political challenge.
  2. In protracted situations, it is important to move early towards self-sufficiency. In particular, efforts should be made to help IDPs secure better access to livelihood opportunities, adequate housing with security of tenure, and basic services to reduce aid dependency.
  3. To achieve collective outcomes that address protracted internal displacement and prevent new displacement from becoming protracted, cooperation across the humanitarian, development, and political divide should be systematized and strengthened.
  4. Interventions should be designed with the participation of IDPs and host communities.
  5. Governments should ideally lead efforts to achieve collective outcomes.
  6. Bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as international financial institutions, should secure multi-year, flexible funding that transcends the humanitarian-development divide.
  7. The UN Secretary-General should convene a high-level event on the new outcome-oriented approach to protracted internal displacement in 2018, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Without exception, the IDPs consulted for the study mentioned sustainable livelihoods as the number one element to improve their living conditions and restore their lives during crises, and especially once displacement became protracted. The report recommends that governments, along with humanitarian and development actors, invest in re-establishing livelihoods early in the humanitarian response, and find durable solutions.

FAO and WFP implement complementary food security interventions in order to save lives and livelihoods. Recognizing that livelihoods are people’s best defence against hunger and catastrophe, FAO is working with internally displaced populations and their hosting communities to ensure both groups have access to adequate livelihood opportunities and ensure host communities’ resources are not excessively strained. While the protracted nature of displacement is of real concern for those internally displaced and their livelihoods, the lengthy nature of displacement does allow FAO to create opportunities to enhance local economies and bring skills, capital and connectivity to broader markets that might fill the unmet needs of the host communities.

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