This week in Geneva, UNHCR held its annual Executive Committee meeting. At this high level event, also known as ExCom, UNHCR's Executive Committee meet to review and approve UNHCR's budget and programmes, and discuss important issues with partnering NGOs and IGOs.
Dr Omata presented the findings of the recent report Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions at a special side event on 3 October entitled 'Refugees and Markets: Implementing UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Livelihoods.'
He explained how research by the Humanitarian Innovation Project shows that refugees in Uganda are active contributors to the host economy, engaging in trade across the region and starting businesses, some of which provide employment for local people.
Dr Omata also laid out the future of HIP research in Uganda:
From the pilot study in Uganda, HIP has produced 2 unique assets. First, we have developed a research methodology for systematic data collection on refugees’ economic activities and as a consequence, we have generated a comprehensive data set on the economic lives of refugees. These represent the main contributions of HIP’s research...We are now discussing collecting multi-country and multi-year panel data. We hope to refine our research methodologies and to apply them into different countries, including those with different regulatory frameworks and contexts.
Earlier this week, Dr Omata attended a separate side event on the new Solutions Alliance, a network to tackle protracted displacement. Alexander Betts has played an important role in the formation of the SA, and through him the Refugee Studies Centre chairs its working group on Research, Data, and Performance Management. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced the establishment of the SA at ExCom on 1 October.