15 May 2020; UN-Habitat has called for a “proactive urban response to displacement” in a joint paper on the growing phenomenon of urban displacement for the UN’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement.

UN-Habitat teamed with the Joint IDP profiling service (JIPS) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on the paper IDPs in towns and cities – working with the realities of internal displacement in an urban world.  UN-Habitat, which has worked on durable solutions to migration in Somalia, Ethiopia and Iraq.

In February 2020, the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, tasked with finding solutions to the global internal displacement crisis, started consultations. The Panel is expected to submit recommendations on how to better prevent, respond, and achieve solutions to internal displacement within the first quarter of 2021 and has reached out to various stakeholders for innovative approaches.

The paper highlights the need for identifying and removing the barriers to the social, economic and cultural inclusion of internally displaced people in cities. It underlines the role of local authorities in ensuring inclusive, human-rights based approaches, and for taking actions that benefit urban societies as a whole.

The authors promote data collection and analysis, participatory processes as well as a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to advance sustainable urban solutions.

“We need humanitarian and development actors, city authorities and service providers to work together to ensure impact at scale for IDPs and durable solutions,” said UN-Habitat’s Inter regional Advisor Dyfed Aubrey, one of the co-authors.

Over 41 million people are estimated to be internally displaced, lacking adequate shelter and housing, having limited or no access to basic services and being extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse, sexual and labour exploitation, human trafficking, forced recruitment and abduction.

Short case studies from Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon and Syria are included in the paper underlining the proposed solutions with successful practices and specific country experiences.