At the end of 2018, almost 71 million people were displaced worldwide, the highest number since the Second World War. The vast majority – 41.5 million people – were displaced within their own country. Some 26 million were fleeing from war, conflict, persecution or serious human rights violations, crossing national borders in the process. A further 3.5 million were asylum seekers who had already applied for asylum but were still waiting for the process to begin.
84 per cent of refugees live in developing countries. Taking in large numbers of refugees presents many of these countries with major challenges. Host communities are reaching their limits – there is a lack of housing and employment, schools do not have space for all children, and water, food and health care are becoming scarce.
In response, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the special initiative Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement – Reintegrating Refugees (or the Special Initiative on Displacement for short) at the end of 2014. It complements traditional development cooperation by responding more directly to the challenges of refugee situations on the ground worldwide. Specifically tailored projects address the needs of refugees and the local population.
The Partnership for Prospects in the Middle East has been part of the special initiative since 2016. Alongside providing initial and further training courses and financing teachers’ salaries, it focuses primarily on creating employment opportunities. Through cash-for-work schemes, both refugees and local residents can earn an income of their own.
BMZ’s development-policy approach to displacement is effective at both national and international level.
The project advises and supports BMZ in further developing the thematic focus of the Special Initiative on Displacement and demonstrating its effectiveness. Advisory services concentrate on areas such as employment and education, social infrastructure, health, psychosocial support and peacebuilding. Closely related issues include migration, peace and security, and gender and inclusion.
In addition to providing sectoral advice, the project supports BMZ in shaping cooperation with relevant actors and partners. These include national and international bodies, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Bank, think tanks, research institutes and civil society.