Conflict and fragility

Policies and financing for forced displacement


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Forced displacement is one of the main and most dramatic result of conflicts. Wars have driven more than 108 million people to leave their homes and seek refuge within their country or to cross a border. An additional 8 million were displaced by disasters, and the impact of climate change on forced displacement is growing.

Five years after the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees, which outlines arrangements for more predictable and equitable sharing of responsibilities when it comes to the world’s refugees, the OECD is exploring ways to adapt development strategy and financing to the reality of forced displacement.

INCAF Common Position on supporting comprehensive responses in refugee situations

The International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) has developed two common positions on supporting comprehensive response in refugee situations:

  1. The Common Position of DAC-INCAF Members supporting the Global Compact on Refugees: Addressing forced displacement with a comprehensive Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus approach (2023) outlines three priority engagement areas for development co-operation, peace, and climate action in displacement affected low- and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs).
  2. The INCAF Common Position on supporting comprehensive responses in refugee situations, adopted in (2020), outlines key principles for OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members in responding to refugee situations.

Official development assistance (ODA) for refugees

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A total of USD 48 billion of ODA was allocated to refugee situations in 2020 and 2021, including in low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs)

  • ODA for refugee situations in LICs and MICs slightly decreased both in volume (from USD 13.7 billion in 2020 to 12.7 billion in 2021) and as a percentage of total ODA from 5.7% to 5.4% In comparison with the 2018-19 OECD refugee financing survey, DAC and non-DAC bilateral finance providers in aggregate made less financing available for refugee situations in LICs and MICs
  • In contrast, in-donor refugee costs (IDRCs) increased sharply in volume and as a proportion of ODA, from USD 8.7 billion (3.6% of total ODA) in 2020, to USD 12.8 billion (5.5%) in 2021. In 2021, IDRCs surpassed refugee financing in LICs and MICs. This included financing for ODA recipient countries and in-donor costs, benefiting refugees and host communities. While this is significant, more remains to be done to ensure an even distribution of financing, and in terms of development and peace support for comprehensive refugee responses across the humanitarian development-peace spectrum (the “HDP Nexus”). Financing refugee situations also means reducing fragility, preserving, and/or achieving development gains.

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Financing for refugee situations: 7 good practice principles

Refugee situations are complex and diverse. Financing plays an important role in short term responses, but too often it fails to tackle to the long-term challenges faced by forcibly displaced people and the communities hosting them. Based on global trends and case studies in Central African Republic, Colombia, Lebanon and Uganda, the OECD  proposes seven good practice principles for adapting financing to the reality of refugee situations:

  1. Promote an enabling refugee policy environment, including access to social services and documentation.
  2. Adapt financing systems and tools to fit the reality of mobile populations.
  3. Support for local as well as national systems, including through financing and capacity building.
  4. Bring development and peace interventions by default, in addition to humanitarian responses.
  5. Promoting refugee self-reliance through education, entrepreneurship, and work
  6. Loans can be a useful part of the financing mix as long as they are as concessional as possible.
  7. Link up with Southern and traditional providers, and strategically coordinate across key actors.


    • Addressing forced displacement in climate change adaptation

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    • Refugees and internally displaced persons in development planning

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    • The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus

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Further information

Related OECD work



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