Yesterday, Professor Alexander Betts gave evidence to the House of Commons International Development Committee as part of their inquiry into forced displacement in Africa. The focus is to make recommendations on how DFID can improve its work in this area.
Betts said “I really enjoyed the experience” and added that he found the committee to be “well-informed in advance of a November visit they will make to the main three countries we work in: Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.”
Among the recommendations he made were to:
1. Focus on supporting economic inclusion for refugees and displaced populations, including through creating enabling environments. Build on the work that DFID has supported in Uganda and Ethiopia by making self-reliance for refugees and hosts a pillar of displacement policy.
2. Pilot direct funding for refugee-led community-based organisations. Around the world, refugees are an important source of social protection but are generally locked out of international funding and recognition.
3. Create a national ‘refugees and displacement strategy’ that is coherent across DFID, the Home Office, and the FCO. Although DFID does much great work, the UK risks charges of hypocrisy if the Home Office focuses disproportionately on keeping people out. The overall focus should be on building anchors not walls.
4. Make DFID’s work on refugees and displacement more transparent and visible to the general public. Projects, programmes, and budgets are really hard to identify online, and yet informing public debate and a sense of perspective in this area is something DFID can contribute to.
5. Develop a greater focus on internally displaced persons, with specific programmes around social-economic opportunities in protracted IDP situations. After all, displacement is the underlying issue and most displaced persons have not crossed an international border.
6. Ensure all programmes are evidence-based or evidence-generating.
7. Move beyond ad hoc programming to assess long-term trends on displacement, notably relating to climate change.
8. Work constructively with UNHCR to ensure that it has the necessary leadership capacity to ensure the Global Compact and Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) translate into practical change.