In a jointly published policy paper, ECRE, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) call on the European Union (EU) to use the momentum in development discourse at the European level to integrate and mainstream protracted displacement in all key sectors.
Across the globe, numbers of displaced populations are on the rise: The number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons has exceeded 51 million for the first time since World War II, the average time spent in exile now estimated at close to 20 years. Displaced populations remain in uncertainty about their future for an extended number of years, deprived of a legal status and their basic rights, facing poverty and insecurity. While long-term displacement has conventionally been addressed as a humanitarian dilemma, ECRE, DRC and IRC say the time has come to respond to such situations as the developmental challenge it is.
As a major donor and an imperative actor in the fields of both humanitarian assistance and development, the EU has a fundamental role to play in supporting innovative and comprehensive solutions to resolving and preventing protracted displacement situations. Grounded in examples of conducive conditions and factors seen as key drivers in the promotion of solutions to displacement, the paper concludes by recommending a three-track approach to the systematic integration of protracted displacement into political, development and humanitarian strategies, as well as fostering coherence of EU interventions on this issue around the world.
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 24 October 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.