Past humanitarian reform agendas have continually emphasised the need for humanitarian response to be locally owned. But for two decades, attempts to systematically elevate the representation, participation, and power of local actors have fallen short; donor governments still have an incentive to channel their funding through large international organizations.
CGD Policy Blogs
Last week, President Biden issued a new Executive Order aiming, among other things, to “enhance access for individuals from the Northern Triangle to visa programs.” This is a big opportunity for the United States. People from this region need access to lawful migration pathways, and it is now the policy of the U.S. government to build them. The Administration can build those pathways today by signing bilateral labor agreements with Northern Triangle governments.
The Government of Colombia has been incredibly generous towards this population, enacting several rounds of work permits which granted the right to work, move, and formalize their status. They should be celebrated for these moves, while supported to overcome the remaining constraints to full economic inclusion.
Last month, the Bangladeshi government began moving Rohingya refugees from camps in Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char, a remote and flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, against the protests of the United Nations (UN), aid groups, and the refugees themselves.
Coordination is essential to effective humanitarian action. As a recent policy paper argues, an area-based approach would better align humanitarian action around the needs of crisis-affected people – compared to the cluster system. To understand how this approach operates at the local level and its benefits and challenges, Patrick Saez spoke with Noorina Ani, Abdul Wodood Elemyar, Farkhunda Samsoor and Jahanzeb Daudzai of NRC Afghanistan about their experiences with the “Urban Displacement Out of Camps” programme.
The current state of migration cooperation between Africa and Europe is far from this ideal. True partnerships should focus on promoting economic opportunity in countries of origin and expanding legal pathways, both from Africa to Europe and within the continent. Currently, African governments are left responding to Europe’s short-term thinking without collaboration towards long-term mutual gain—a scenario that undermines the potential for joint initiatives that can benefit both Africa and the EU.
New research by Refugees International and the Center for Global Development (CGD) finds that Venezuelans in Peru face major barriers that prevent them from integrating into the Peruvian economy. As a result, many are pushed into informal, low-paying jobs that do not match their qualifications. Some are subjected to exploitation and abuse. And because of these factors, Venezuelans are more vulnerable to economic shocks, such as COVID-19.
Given that international travelers introduced COVID-19 to almost every country in the world, it's natural to associate international mobility with the spread of disease. During the pandemic, 179 countries have implemented some form of travel restrictions. And beyond COVID-19, some countries may uphold such restrictions for fear of the next pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted once again that the humanitarian business model is poorly suited to today’s world. Humanitarian action is most effective when it is demand-driven and locally owned. But the humanitarian sector remains supply-driven: oriented primarily around donor preference and the global mandates of large aid agencies.
In 2015, large numbers of refugees fleeing war and terrorism in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq arrived on Europe’s shores. Fear and uncertainty reigned—who would give these people asylum and how would they integrate? The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, remained undaunted. “We can do this!” she announced in August of that year. And do this, they did. In 2015 and 2016, Germany received over one million first-time asylum applications.