Through the contributions and commitments of our largest development partners, UNHCR has seen notable progress in strengthening and including refugees in development programmes. The pledges made by bilateral development actors in view of supporting burden and responsibility sharing have been pivotal in advancing the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees.
The EU is significantly increasing its commitment to responsibility and burden sharing, offering financial, strategic, and political support across several key areas. The EU is an active member in all three regional Support Platforms launched at the GRF and will serve as first Chair of the Core Group of the Support Platform for Afghan refugees, playing a key advocacy role in advancing the GCR at a regional level.
Strongly committed to supporting education in emergencies and protracted crises, the EU has recently committed to increase education financing in overseas development aid from 7 to 10 per cent, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable: girls, refugees, and displaced learners. Through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis, more than 600 million EUR were allocated to various training programmes, which have supported more than 145,000 people in finding jobs, regaining dignity by supporting their families, and contributing to the communities that host them. Regarding energy and infrastructure, the EU will be joining the Chairmanship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement in 2022 and is a committed supporter of the Clean Energy Challenge.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the EU and its Member States have mobilized over 38.5 billion EUR, with the aim of including refugees and other vulnerable populations in the COVID-19 response. The EU’s contribution to the World Bank Joint Data Centre’s (JDC) efforts is helping to improve access to primary micro-data for evidence-informed policy making and programming for people forced to flee.
In line with their pledge, Germany continues to provide development-oriented support to refugees and their host communities through BMZ’s Transitional Development Assistance and the Special Initiative on Forced Displacement. Germany has been able to maintain 2019 funding levels for the two instruments mentioned, amounting to 1.3 billion EUR. BMZ has also continued its engagement to strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in contexts of forced displacement through continued and increasing support to UNHCR to act as a facilitator of humanitarian and development actor engagement, and by expanding flagship joint resilience programmes between WFP and UNICEF in the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the German development cooperation has set up a response package, which focuses on stabilizing fragile regions affected by displacement as one of seven priority areas. Under this priority area, BMZ redirected at least 150 million EUR towards COVID-19 response activities and is currently in negotiation for an additional allocation of up to 450 million EUR over the coming two years to support host countries in protecting displaced populations and their host communities.
Multi-lateral Development Banks (MDBs)
Following the collective commitment made by MDBs through the MDB Coordination Platform on Economic Migration and Forced Displacement at the GRF, there has been a renewed effort from a number of MDBs to increase their engagement in situations of forced displacement around the world in 2020. UNHCR has redoubled its efforts to seize this opportunity by broadening and deepening its cooperation with MDBs, including the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) at the global, regional, and country levels, including in the context of COVID-19 responses.
As part of its efforts to encourage the adoption of sound government policies for the management of refugee situations, which underpins the GCR, the World Bank Group (WBG) pledged 2.2 billion USD in dedicated financing for refugee-hosting governments to support refugee and host communities under the 19th IDA replenishment, bringing the total to more than 4.2 billion USD; and to conduct a systematic review of refugee policy and institutional environments in countries eligible for the Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR). This pledge continues to be crucial in supporting host countries by creating socio-economic development opportunities for both host and refugee communities. As of 30 September, five projects receiving financing from the WHR have been approved, and a solid project pipeline is building up.
In order to ensure that refugees are included in host government’s COVID-19 response efforts, the WBG has committed to make up to 1 billion USD available on grant terms (out of the 2.2 billion USD under the WHR). Also, in close collaboration with UNHCR, a methodology for the policy review aiming to gauge progress, identify further reform opportunities, and inform further WHR support, has been developed and will be rolled out shortly. In line with their pledge, the WB-UNHCR Joint Data Center is now in operation, aiming to strengthen global data collection and country-level data systems regarding refugees and other displaced persons.
Following the IADB’s announcement of 100 million USD non-reimbursable resources from its Grant Facility to support countries receiving large and sudden inflows of refugees and/or migrants, UNHCR has engaged with the IADB Migration Initiative to strengthen the two institutions partnership and identify potential areas of collaboration in eligible countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, and through existing IADB activities.
Collaboration with UN development agencies in advancing the GCR has been essential to promoting long-term solutions for refugees. The ILO continues to assist governments and social partners in increasing access to sustainable and decent work opportunities for refugees and host communities, including for youth, while taking into account the realities of often severely challenged local labour markets. UNDP and UNHCR are developing a tool on local governance and preparedness in forced displacement settings. Both agencies are also collaborating closely on several projects with Peacebuilding Fund support, following their commitment to further engage in social cohesion and conflict prevention. The joint UNHCR-UNICEF Blueprint, is targeting 11 countries to advance and protect the rights of refugee children and the communities that host them through their inclusion in national plans, budgets, and service delivery systems.
UNDP is in the process of establishing a Consortium on Digital Livelihoods with UNHCR to increase access to livelihoods for refugees and host communities using digital technology. Furthermore, to strengthen resilience-based development and conflict sensitivity, UNDP has generated knowledge products on Strengthening social cohesion – Conceptual framing and programming implications and Engaging with Insider Mediators - Sustaining peace in an age of turbulence. A mapping of social cohesion programming in contexts of forced displacement is ongoing and will be the basis for future collaboration with UNHCR on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. As a part of the UN Legal Identity Agenda Task Force, UNDP and UNHCR are working together to strengthen the capacity of national civil registries and identity management agencies in order to facilitate timely access by refugees and stateless persons to civil and birth registration and documentation.
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