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ES/2022/04 Evaluation of UNHCR’s Repatriation Programmes and Activities 2015–2021 Final Report (May 2022)

Executive summary

About the evaluation

This document summarises the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Independent Evaluation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR’s) Repatriation Programmes and Activities 2015–2021. The evaluation was undertaken from March 2021 to April 2022.

By the end of 2020 there were 82.4 million people displaced worldwide; of these, 20.7 million were categorised as refugees under UNHCR’s mandate. For refugees, UNHCR considers that there are three broad types of ‘durable solutions’, aimed at resolving the problem of forced displacement in a permanent manner: voluntary repatriation; local integration; and resettlement to other countries.

This evaluation of UNHCR’s repatriation programmes and activities 2015–2021 was commissioned primarily as a formative, learning exercise, with the intentions of reflecting on UNHCR’s current support to voluntary repatriation and reintegration, identifying enabling and constraining factors within different operational contexts, documenting good practices, and contributing towards updating UNHCR policy and guidance on repatriation and reintegration.

The scope of the evaluation was set through the three aspects of geographical, temporal and thematic scope. Geographically, the scope was global and the evaluation sought to ensure a sufficient balance of breadth and depth across country, regional and global levels. The evaluation conducted in-depth case studies in six countries, including three countries of origin (Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR) and Colombia) and three countries of asylum (Iran,
Republic of Congo (RoC) and Tanzania). Temporally, the evaluation covered the time period 2015–2021 but it includes a historical review of the relevant academic literature examining pre-2015 activities. Thematically, the evaluation covered repatriation activities across the areas that preceded safe and dignified voluntary repatriation, and then the areas of reintegration, rehabilitation and reconstruction, but with more focus on repatriation and reintegration.