The scale and severity of the current global forced displacement crises have spurred the international community to improve the sustainability of our responses as well as to more equitably share responsibility across countries and organizations. Furthermore, the duration of these crises compels us to focus on enhancing the dignity of individuals with an aim to self-reliance.
How does “relief and development coherence” apply in situations of forced displacement?
Relief and development coherence (RDC), sometimes called the “humanitarian-development nexus,” is an approach used in crisis response that coordinates and ensures complementarity between humanitarian and development assistance efforts.
While humanitarian assistance is focused on serving the most basic and immediate needs of populations in crisis, coordination with development programs can minimize the strains on public services, infrastructure, social cohesion, and the broader economy that may result from hosting large numbers of forcibly displaced persons. A combined humanitarian and development approach can simultaneously improve the conditions of refugees in protracted situations and enable continued progress on a host-country’s economic and social development agenda. RDC therefore takes into account the welfare of both displaced populations and their host communities and is most effective when development actors engage at the onset of a crisis.
In an effort to encourage early and predictable engagement by development actors during early stages of a response, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2016, calls for greater development assistance for both refugee-hosting countries and for countries of origin.
Incorporating resident refugee populations into development programs is key to the successful integration of these populations into local communities and economies and to building refugee self-reliance. This work is critical whether refugees choose to integrate locally into the host country, resettle in a third country, or contribute to rebuilding their country of origin. Similarly, such an approach can promote and contribute to durable solutions for IDPs.
What approaches is PRM taking to advance Relief and Development Coherence?
A core pillar of PRM’s mission is to support and facilitate durable solutions for refugees, victims of conflict, and stateless people around the world. Our approaches to RDC include:
- Working to make PRM-funded programs more sustainable once PRM funding ends;
- Encouraging integration or transition of services to local or national institutions;
- Engaging development actors in developing a combined strategy in an emergency or protracted crisis, in a displacement or return setting, with a view towards mutually agreed outcomes and longer term sustainability;
- Supporting host communities, in addition to conflict affected populations, with humanitarian financing; and
- Encouraging the private sector to increase investments in refugee- or IDP-hosting areas to include hiring of refugees or supporting refugee-owned businesses.
What does this implementation look like?
We have seen RDC progress in Jordan and Lebanon, where, with PRM coordination, USAID has oriented its development assistance to encompass refugee-hosting areas in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. PRM is also focused on advancing RDC in countries implementing the CRRF; this includes encouraging early engagement by development actors as crises arise. In addition to these RDC activities undertaken by our partners, other initiatives include:
- PRM was a core member of the interagency team that developed the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) and the IDA-18 Regional Sub-Window, supporting low- and middle-income countries to host large numbers of refugees, and we continue to work closely with the interagency and World Bank to monitor implementation of these financing mechanisms.
- PRM, working closely with USAID, supports Education Cannot Wait, the world’s first fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
- We continue to support efforts in Afghanistan to sustainably respond to the latest waves of refugee returns from Pakistan.
- Uganda’s progressive refugee policies set the standard for how state-led initiatives can support interim or durable solutions through humanitarian development coherence. There, refugees are provided with land, in addition to access to formal labor markets and the Ugandan education and healthcare systems.
 As of August 2018, the countries implementing the CRRF include: Afghanistan, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Chad, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zambia.