HPG Commissioned Report
Victoria Metcalfe-Hough and Lydia Poole with Sarah Bailey and Julie Belanger
By Larissa Fast, Senior Research Fellow at the Humanitarian Policy Group/Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London and a former Fulbright-Schuman scholar
LONDON, Feb 6 2018 (IPS) - As 2018 begins, the challenges of humanitarian crises are momentous. Humanitarians are responding to large-scale emergencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
This HPG Report explores the lives and livelihoods of refugees living in protracted displacement. There is a need to better understand the livelihoods of refugees, particularly in the current geopolitical context: over 65 million people are displaced (more than 21m of whom are refugees); more than 75% of all displaced people live outside camps; and displacement is increasingly protracted, meaning that, far from accessing a durable solution in a timely manner, forced displacement is often a reality for multiple generations.
Rich countries are violating international norms on refugee protection and asylum, both in spirit and in practice, causing an erosion of refugee protection worldwide that risks overturning the international refugee regime.
Restrictive refugee policies in contexts such as Australia and Europe are creating ‘ripple effects’, fostering negative developments in lower-income countries such as Indonesia, Kenya and Jordan.
The humanitarian sector is suffering a crisis of legitimacy.
Despite a decade of system-wide reforms, the sector is failing to adapt to meet the needs of people in crises. As humanitarian emergencies become more frequent, more complex and last longer, the need for radical change is ever growing.
This policy brief presents the implications of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for the people they strive to assist, Sweden’s own humanitarian policy and operations, and more broadly the whole humanitarian community. It provides recommendations on how a feminist informed humanitarian policy should be implemented to intersect with other foreign policy areas and broader humanitarian, development and security action at the national and international level.
The specific recommendations it includes are related to ensuring:
Working and discussion papersMarc DuBois and Caitlin Wake, with Scarlett Sturridge and Christina Bennett
Though often described as unprecedented, the Ebola response reflects long-standing strengths and weaknesses with how aid works. Aid organisations proved dedicated and resourceful but also ill-prepared and insufficiently engaged with local communities.
Although well-used to danger, aid organisations struggled to overcome their fear of the virus and determine how to protect their staff in such an uncertain environment.
There are nearly 60 million refugees and displaced people in the world. Most have been displaced for years.
But myths and misconceptions remain about the length of displacement, where people are displaced from and how best to help them survive.
Here are 10 things to know about refugees and displacement. These graphics are based on findings from ‘Protracted displacement: uncertain paths to self-reliance in exile’, available at www.odi.org/hpg/protracted-displacement.
Drawing an exact picture of the global state of protracted displacement is an approximate and incomplete exercise. Each situation of protracted displacement is its own unique and complex system and the data available does not allow for the dimensions and characteristics to be understood.
Ilmi Granoff, Jason Eis, Will McFarland and Chris Hoy, Charlene Watson, Gaia de Battista, Cor Marijs, Amina Khan and Natasha Grist
Eradicating extreme poverty is achievable by 2030, through growth and reductions in inequality. However, unless global emissions peak by around 2030 and fall to near zero by 2100, catastrophic climate change could draw up to 720 million people back into extreme poverty.
In humanitarian settings, aid agencies often assist populations by transferring resources, usually using cash, vouchers or in-kind aid, such as food rations, shelter materials, seeds and tools and kits of household items. The use of cash or vouchers to replace in-kind aid is most pronounced in food assistance programming, but it is increasingly being considered for emergency shelter, education and many other kinds of programming.
For years, British humanitarian NGOs have criticised counter-terrorism laws for undermining their aid operations, and British Muslim NGOs have argued that they have been disproportionately affected by such laws. Banks have placed restrictions on the services they offer to various UK NGOs working in conflicts like Syria and Gaza while other NGOs have been hard hit by allegations of links to terrorism. All of this has affected the work of humanitarian organisations seeking to provide aid in high-risk conflict zones.
Eleanor Davey and Eva Svoboda
What armed groups like Al-Shabaab and the Taliban think of aid agencies can mean the difference between gaining access to areas under their control to provide aid people in need – or being expelled from their territory.
Based on research and interviews with members of the Taliban and Al-Shabaab, this HPG policy brief explores how these armed groups perceive aid agencies and the implications on humanitarian response in those areas.
The private sector has long been a major contributor to humanitarian action. At the community level, businesses frequently use their materials and resources to aid people affected by crises. As local markets recover and supply chains are repaired, crisis-affected people are once again able to access basic goods and, in some cases, resume livelihoods.
Increased engagement by the military in humanitarian crises, often led by the push for stabilisation, has been controversial, particularly for humanitarians. Fearing that their aid activities could be made to serve political and military goals – not humanitarian goals – many agencies have been cautious about embarking on civil-military coordination.
Insurgents and other armed groups are often seen as inherently predatory and hostile to aid workers, attacking staff, extorting money and looting goods and equipment, denying access and expelling aid organisations from areas under their control. Yet in-depth analysis of armed groups has been largely neglected in the literature on humanitarian principles and aid worker security, and aid agencies often lack the information they need to successfully engage with these actors to gain access to populations under their control.
Attacks on civilians have become an all too commonplace occurrence in conflicts, illustrated vividly in crises in Syria and the Central African Republic.
‘Resilience’ is supposed to offer us a new way of thinking about development assistance. The concept focuses aid efforts on the people who most frequently suffer from crisis or who have the most limited choices in their lives. Resilience makes the overriding goal that people can cope better for themselves whatever the future may bring, and that they have more freedoms and choices in their lives. Much of the theorising around resilience, however, suggests that it depends on things like good governance, a wide range of economic opportunities and cohesive societies.