Refugee and asylum seeker populations have faced notable hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly in contexts of limited integration within hosting nations. Now, more than ever, there is a need for sustained investments in fostering self-reliance of refugee populations through progressive national policies, integration into social protection systems, predictable multi-year funding, and cooperation amongst nations for voluntary and safe repatriations and re-integrations. Critical also is sustained focus on preventing root causes of internal and cross-border displacements, i.e. conflicts and violations of human rights.
WFP recognizes the contributions of donor partners in this particularly challenging environment. However, resourcing remains insufficient to meet even the very basic needs of refugee households and WFP is forced to implement reductions in food rations in some countries. Consistent with the spirit of international refugee frameworks, WFP Southern Africa with its partners call on the global community to sustain focus on the self-reliance of refugees and to support the integration of refugees into national systems.
Southern Africa hosts approximately 6.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 1.1 million refugees and asylum-seekers originating mostly from Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and South Sudan. WFP, with its partners, continues its dedicated support to refugees holistically addressing immediate food and nutrition needs, advancing resilience and livelihoods opportunities, supporting social cohesion through diverse support to host locations, and increasing focus on contributions to peace, stability and conflict sensitive programming across all locations to address the root causes of displacement.
This update presents an overview of WFP’s refugee operations in Southern Africa as of December 2021. It highlights some of the measures taken by WFP and partners to not only serve refugees better, but also to draw attention to critical funding shortfalls that threaten the food and nutrition safety and protection of refugees, as well as the necessary progress towards self-reliance.