21 May 2015

A policy brief published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) proposes a new narrative for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in situations of protracted displacement. In MPI’s view, new solutions should recognize the development potential of refugees. Through their human capital, transnational connections and international assistance, refugees can contribute to growth in both host and origin communities.

MPI highlights that states consider refugees as temporary residents, so that they are currently excluded by national development programmes. This jeopardises the positive impact displaced people may have on economic growth, prevents refugees from development assistance and reduces the chances of a sustainable return.

According to MPI, a structural change is needed which requires that states stop being reluctant in granting refugees the right to work, as required by international law. Conversely, humanitarian actors should create better livelihood opportunities for refugees, including projects on social protection and access to capital, such as support to income-generating enterprises. In addition, self-reliance of refugees, and the development of host communities, can result from broader development projects, especially in the agricultural or infrastructural sectors.

Humanitarian and development actors particularly, together with diaspora groups and private investors, should better cooperate in order to ensure self-reliance of refugees and internally displaced people dependent on emergency relief, numbering, in 2014, more than 51 million.

For further information

This article was first published on the ECRE website on 21 May 2015 and subsequently appeared on the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 22 May 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.