Item 11 – Panel discussion: Building peace and creating conditions for development: internal displacement, stabilization and reintegration
Chair, Director General, Excellences and Distinguished Delegates,
I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The scale of internal displacement has risen to unprecedented levels. As of December 2018, more than 41 million people are displaced within the borders of their own country by conflict and human rights violations alone. Each year, another 25 million people on average are displaced due to disaster. As the result of the Syria crisis alone, there are 6.2 million IDPs within the country, including 2.5 million children. Significant numbers of IDPs are also to be found in Europe. As result of an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukraine hosts the largest displaced population on our continent at around 1.5 million. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of IDPs are unable to return to their homes in Cyprus and in Georgia.
Internally displaced people (IDPs) who often face protection challenges and lack access to shelter, food, and other basic services, struggle with security or face marginalisation. In urban areas in particular, many struggle with poverty, lack of psycho-social support and difficulties in normalising their legal status.
Secondary and multiple displacements reflect a collective failure to address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of internally displaced people and their host communities with gradual erosion of coping mechanisms and loss of productive assets. Yet finding sustainable solutions for IDPs remains a particular challenge as situation often become increasingly protracted due to the lack of political solutions to conflicts, recurrent violence and instability.
The EU and its Member States recognise the importance of linkages between sustainable development, humanitarian assistance and conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as well as the importance of diplomatic and political solutions to support peace and security, in line with the EU Global Strategy and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. In the same spirit, we stress the importance of investing in prevention and addressing the underlying root causes of vulnerability, fragility and conflict while simultaneously meeting humanitarian needs and strengthening resilience, thus reducing risks.
Since 2016, the EU has taken a comprehensive, development-led approach to addressing the needs of IDPs and their host communities – a policy outlined in our 2016 Communication ‘Lives in Dignity’ and accompanying Council Conclusions. In line with the Agenda 2030, we work together with partner countries and partner organizations to strengthen the resilience and self‑reliance of IDPs and host communities and to work towards durable solutions to internal displacement situations.
The EU’s activities, for example in Horn of Africa, follow the triple nexus principles. Improved governance and conflict prevention projects there account for 23% (EUR 317 million out of EUR 1.36 billion) of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) with greatest focus on peacebuilding and conflict prevention. EUTF’s programmes rely on several principles including that conflicts can be addressed only once understood through localised analysis; and that interventions focused on upstream prevention help anticipating crises and conflict resolution processes, which in turn mitigate forced displacement.
System-wide response and approaches to address protracted displacement, including importance of close cooperation among several UN agencies and partners, are also needed at the UN level in support of national governments. The UN New Way of Working is particularly important, as it should provide a coherent approach to reduce the vulnerabilities of IDPs and host communities, build their resilience over time, harness the respective expertise of humanitarian and development actors, and better cooperate with international financial institutions and the private sector. We follow with particular interest the work of the New Way of Working (NWOW) in its eight pilot countries.
The Secretary-General has recently agreed to constitute the High-level panel on Internal Displacement. Promoting practical and sustainable solutions to internal displacement and its impact as well as strengthening humanitarian and development collaboration on IDP-related issues features among its most important objectives. We believe that IOM, together with other UN agencies, active on this subject, should contribute to the Panel’s work.
The EU and its Member States have also continuously recognised the importance of integrated approach to reintegration, thus appreciating the complexity of the reintegration process, and the need for a holistic and a needs-based approach not only at the individual, but also community and structural levels.
We are looking forward to further exchanges on this important matter.
Thank you, Chair.