Urban Refugees and IDPs in Secondary Cities
Evan Easton-Calabria, Delina Abadi, Gezahegn Gebremedhin, Jennifer Wood
This report examines the current reality of forcibly displaced people in cities and towns in East Africa, namely Arua, Uganda; Adama, Ethiopia; and Kakuma and Lodwar Town, Kenya. It argues that the growing urbanisation of forcibly displaced people has fostered increasing engagement and partnerships for assistance with local urban actors such as municipal governments and local civil society organisations while at the same time highlighting, and in cases exacerbating, the challenges that many municipalities face in terms of funding and a lack of recognition of urban needs. The report also discusses a crucial gap in research on forcibly displaced people: their often unacknowledged presence in so-called secondary (non-capital) cities and towns, which themselves often lack the resources to adequately receive them. Through examples from primary research in Uganda and Ethiopia, the report highlights the need for more comprehensive data and evidence on and assistance to forcibly displaced people residing outside of national capitals, which in many cases is also relevant to the poor and vulnerable nationals that urban forcibly displaced people live alongside. The report concludes with a discussion of the future of urban forced displacement and several recommendations for the further engagement of humanitarian, government, and other urban actors in urban assistance to displaced people. This report emerges out of a two-year project aiming to provide data and evidence on how secondary cities respond to and manage crisis migration, including IDPs and refugees, with the aim to provide information that can inform and improve future municipal responses. The project was undertaken by the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre as part of the Cities and Migration programme implemented by Cities Alliance and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).