More people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War, and this number continues to grow: currently, more than 65 million people are forcibly displaced4 globally; among them, more than 21 million are refugees. Many refugees find themselves in protracted situations of five years or more with few prospects for attaining a solution to displacement because of shifting political landscapes and unending conflicts (UNHCR 2003; 2017b).
With the number of forcibly displaced persons caught in protracted displacement situations on the rise, it is increasingly evident that a humanitarian response focusing on the short term is inadequate. Accordingly, a growing global consensus recognises that displacement requires a joint humanitarian and development response, underpinned by long-term planning and programming for solutions. The response must involve a broad coalition of actors, including governments. Planning for solutions should include strengthening refugees’ self-reliance and resilience, as these approaches can empower them to live more independently of external assistance; stabilise their means for living; and enable them to contribute to the local economy, while preparing them to take advantage of whatever solution ultimately becomes available. These insights are reflected in core high-level policy addressing forced displacement, including the ‘New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants’ (United Nations 2016a) and the ‘Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’ (UNHCR 2016). Moreover, these policies link with, and build on, the Sustainable Development Goals and principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—that no one should be left behind, and that those furthest behind should be reached first (United Nations 2016b).
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