Around the world today, there are more than 15.5 million refugees and over 28.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by conflict, in addition to some 32.4 million displaced in 2012 from their homes due to natural disasters. These displacement crises are not simply humanitarian concerns, but fundamental development challenges. Forced migration flows are rooted in development failures, and can undermine the pursuit of development goals at local, national and regional levels.
Linking humanitarian responses to displacement with longer-term development support and planning is not a new concern. Beginning in 1999, for example, the “Brookings Process” – under the leadership of Sadako Ogata and James Wolfensohn – sought to bridge humanitarian relief and development assistance in post-conflict situations. But the challenge remains unresolved, and has acquired new urgency as displacement situations are becoming more protracted, and situations such as the Syrian crisis show no signs of resolution.
The Brookings Global Economy and Development Program and the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement held a roundtable on these issues on May 14, 2013 with Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, former Director of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, and Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Megan Bradley, Fellow with the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, facilitated the roundtable, which followed Chatham House rules.
The roundtable addressed several key topics including:
- The relevance of the concept of human security to addressing displacement and development challenges
- Displacement as a development challenge in fragile states
- Protracted displacement
- Contrasts in the approaches and processes adopted by humanitarian and development actors
The event report provides a brief overview of the discussion.