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 share more equitably responsibility across countries and organizations. Furthermore, the duration of these crises compels us to focus on enhancing the dignity of individuals with an aim of advancing 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 seeks to coordinate and ensure 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.
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, contribute to rebuilding their country of origin when they voluntarily return, or resettle in a third country. Similarly, such an approach can promote and contribute to durable solutions for IDPs.
In an effort to encourage early and predictable engagement by development actors during early stages of a response, the Global Compact on Refugees calls for the international community as a whole to support efforts to provide development assistance to countries of origin in order to promote the enabling conditions for voluntary repatriation. Additionally, the Compact encourages development actors to ensure that the impact of large refugee situations on host countries is taken into account in the planning and implementation of development programs and policies with direct benefits for both host communities and refugees. Further, the GCR supports more coherent humanitarian and development responses more generally.
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:
- 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;
- Working to make PRM-funded programs more sustainable once PRM funding ends;
- Encouraging integration or transition of services to local or national institutions; 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 RDC Implementation Look Like?
PRM is focused on encouraging early engagement by development actors as crises arise. Initiatives include:
- PRM was a core member of the U.S. interagency team that supported the development of the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) and the IDA19 Window for Host Communities and Refugees, which support low- and middle-income countries to host large numbers of refugees. We continue to work closely with the World Bank to monitor implementation of these financing mechanisms.
- PRM, working closely with USAID, supports Education Cannot wait, which aims to improve coordination and planning between humanitarian and development assistance.
- We continue to support efforts in Afghanistan to respond sustainably to returns from Pakistan and Iran.
- PRM works closely with USAID development partners in countries hosting Venezuelan refugees to ensure USG programming promotes self-reliance and long-term recovery for Venezuelans and their hosting communities.
- 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. . Following extensive joint advocacy by the U.S. (including at the ambassador level) and other donors involved in CRRF coordination mechanisms, in July 2020, the Government of Uganda included refugees in its third National Development Plan to ensure they are included in all planning for refugee-hosting districts for the next five years.
- In collaboration with PRM, USAID has oriented its development assistance in Jordan and Lebanon to encompass refugee-hosting areas in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.