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The global refugee forum omitted one big question

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Added 28th January 2020 07:54 AM

The global refugee forum was a great start, given that we are carrying forward displacement issues to a new decade.

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The global refugee forum was a great start, given that we are carrying forward displacement issues to a new decade.

By Simon J. Mone

The global refugee forum took place on 17 and 18 December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. Different stakeholders including; heads of; state and government, UN leaders, international institutions, development organisations, business people and civil society all made the trip to Geneva.

The aim of the meeting was to find ways of transforming humanitarian assistance. And to make long-term commitments both to refugees and communities the hosts them.

The global refugee forum was a great start, given that we are carrying forward displacement issues to a new decade.

In the last decade, refugee numbers have unbelievably multiplied. So the forum offers the world a chance to implement collective resolutions that makes the world better for disadvantaged people. It was the actual catalyst to leaving nobody behind. At the Global forum, these key areas came to perspective; sharing responsibility for refugees, their education; their jobs and livelihoods; energy and infrastructure; and refugee protection.

Also, looking at ways of integrating humanitarian and development responses in the era of refugees is vital. Finding permanent solutions to Africa’s refugee crisis and host communities is always going to top the agenda of most boardrooms. And to look at more than refugees’ immediate needs, but contribute towards mitigating their future risk and vulnerability. Mobilise tangible support to Africa’s refugee-hosting countries whose citizens are also vulnerable; struggling to provide for their own.

Africa hosts a large number of refugees and displaced people. But how possible is it that a huge group of host communities who are themselves vulnerable can ably support other vulnerable communities? Thus, to meet refugee immediate and future needs, the world needs to perform a moment of magic. Concentrate on the following key points; Clarify on how to allocate and implement humanitarian aid funding against development funding. Eliminate the confusion between the two in order to focus on long-term commitment to development funding. Failure to provide this clarity means the quality and quantity of humanitarian aid will leave a lot to be desired. And there will be difficulty in accountability of the aid items that are given to needy people. The world ought to address the short-term assistance given to needy people.

The impact on short-term assistance is not easy to pick out. And makes it hard to plan for humanitarian aid. The transition from short-term to long-term assistance. Enhance socio-economic opportunities for refugees and host communities. And build the capacity of refugee-hosting countries. We have a group of countries that have chosen to stay on the fence on the refugee front. They are neither receiving any refugees nor are they contributing financially towards their assistance. These countries must join the team rather than be away and look on as humanity goes on bended knees for basic needs. Least developed countries are doing their best to provide solace to refugees.

So surely, these states are more than capable of impacting on needy lives. Currently, Turkey shelters 3.7 million refugees, followed by Lebanon with 1.5 million and third is the Pearl of Africa, Uganda, with 1.3 million. This is more than the total number of people that arrived into the whole of the European Union last year. The way they do their thing is commendable. Uganda manages this because there is some trust from stakeholders. Refugee operations are done with integrity. And Uganda remains accountable to the people it serves and also its development partners. Appreciating Uganda alone is not enough. The refugee forum omitted the unanswered question of responsibility sharing.

It did not ask the question of why some countries remain aloof. No answers mean that the likes of Uganda will be left to carry the biggest chunk of the burden exclusively on their own.

The writer is a Civil Engineer, E-mail: smone@mail.com

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