Press Briefing: Special Adviser on Solutions to Displacement
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Press Conferences | UNITED NATIONS

Press Briefing: Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement - 21 June 2024

Two years of the Action Agenda on Solutions to Internal Displacement

Robert Piper, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Solutions to Internal Displacement, said that 24 June would mark two years since the launch of the Secretary General’s Action Agenda on Solutions to Internal Displacement. Today, there were 76 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – people who had lost their homes, livelihoods, communities and sometimes also their legal identities. They were “internal” because they had not crossed international borders but had stayed withing their own countries. Some IDPs returned home relatively quickly, usually after natural disasters; others got stuck in protracted displacements of five, ten years or longer, usually displaced by conflicts, such as in Syria and Somalia. Those numbers were growing exponentially, and today there were twice as many IDPs as in 2014. The largest number of IDPs today were in Sudan, informed Mr. Piper.

In 2023, the United Nations had helped as many as 50 million IDPs. The Secretary-General’s Action Agenda aimed to break the long-term displacement pattern; it aimed to help IDPs find a durable solution to their displacement; better prevent new displacement crises from emerging; and ensure those facing displacement receive effective protection and assistance. The Agenda set out 31 concrete commitments, and numerous UN agencies had signed up for it. Mr. Piper was focused on building a coalition to break down the pattern of protracted displacement. Governments in several affected countries, from Colombia o Iraq, had really stepped forward to take the lead, he said. Those governments had introduced new approaches to dealing with internal displacement; they had put money behind their political commitments. In Nigeria, for example, the Borno State had pledged 15 percent of its revenue to this issue over the next four years.

Mr. Piper explained that there were fifteen pilot countries which would help identify the best solutions; there were already commitments to move 8.5 million IDPs to more permanent solutions, based on international standards, which included safe, dignified, and voluntary settlement. Globally, the UN and partners had made progress with supporting those governments; a new financing mechanism had been established, and relevant UN Resident Coordinator offices had been accordingly strengthened. The UN had made a big investment in data systems, which was of critical importance. The visibility of this issue had been lifted globally, stressed Mr. Piper. Several partnerships with regional development banks had been built. The humanitarian community had upgraded its own capacity to respond to the needs of the internally displaced people, from day one onwards. The major deficit today lay with prevention, as numbers of IDPs kept going up, partly caused by natural disasters, partly by conflict. UN was still working with various partners on finding the right level of financing; providing homes and livelihoods were expensive, and a breakthrough there was still needed. The whole of the UN and the whole of national governments needed to be fully engaged on this issue. There was still no forum that brought all relevant actors together and there was no adequate international architecture in place. He appealed to Member States to create a forum to comprehensively address this issue in a more coordinated, cross-sectorial way. All parts of the system ought to come together and establish an adequate governance structure.

More details are available in the June 2024 factsheet.

Responding to questions, Mr. Piper said that the UNHCR and the IOM were by far the two most active agencies dealing with displacement, but they also recognized that this issue demanded a much broader, coordinated action to find long-term solutions for internally displaced people. They could not do it alone, he stressed. An intergovernmental forum that would bring all actors together and meet periodically could be a good way forward, said Mr. Piper responding to another question. This process ought to be led by Member States.


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