The West and Central African region faces multiple humanitarian challenges associated with forced displacement. While political conflicts were responsible for population displacements in the 1990s and early 2000s, the forced displacement situation in the region has deteriorated in the last decade, as a result of a sharp increase of violent extremists’ activities and counter insurgency operations by national and international security forces. Recent data provided by UNHCR indicates that the stock of refugees, internally displaced persons, and stateless people displaced from countries in the sub-region has seen significant increase over the years. Against this background, the sessions will provide a platform for discussing interventions being implemented to deal with forced displacements in West and Central Africa.
Session 1: Refugee Protection in West and Central Africa: Legal and Policy Frameworks, Solutions, and Challenges
15:30-16:30 CET / 14:30-15h30 GMT
The session will examine the international, regional and national response to forced displacement in the Western and Central African region. Given that response to refugee influxes varies from one country of asylum to another, with some countries welcoming refugees in communities while others prefer to accommodate them in camps, the panel will examine how different countries have been applying various international, regional, and national legal and policy frameworks to offer protection to forcibly displaced persons. This discussion will shed light on the compatibility between international frameworks, such as 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Global Compact on Refugees, and national frameworks for refugee protection. Panelists will also discuss the past and present solutions, best practices, and challenges associated with the protection of forcibly displaced persons in the region. In looking forward, the panelists will make recommendations for strengthening mechanisms for protecting refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in West and Central Africa.
Session 2:Partnerships for Managing Protracted Displacement in West Africa
16:45-18:15 CET / 15:45-17:15 GMT
The session will examine international and regional cooperation as well as national level collaboration among various stakeholders for dealing with protracted displacement in West and Central Africa. The panel will discuss past and present cases, lessons learnt, best practices, and challenges of working with local and whole-of-society actors to protect refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in the West and Central African region. The panel will shed light on how development actors such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and GIZ are working with humanitarian actors, such as UNHCR and the World Food Program, to design and implement refugee management strategies to benefit both refugees and host communities. The panelist will also make make suggestions on how UNHCR can work with governments, regional economic bodies and development partners to offer protection to refugees and other forcefully displaced persons.