UN for new partnerships to help Africa’s 25mn displaced
Yokohama (Japan), Aug. 31 (IANS/AKI): United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi on Friday called for new partners and “innovative tools” to aid 25 million people who have been forced to flee their homes in Africa.
With crises lasting ever-longer, the world should not take traditional African hospitality for granted, he said.
“Forced displacement is not just a humanitarian phenomenon; it’s a global crisis that requires global strategic instruments to respond to,” Grandi said at a high-level meeting in Yokohama, held as part of the seventh Tokyo International Conference on Development in Africa.
“This approach is about new partners, especially development actors, the private sector, civil society, and it is also about adopting innovative tools,” he noted.
Almost one-third of the world’s total 70.8 million forcibly displaced people are in Africa, where refugees have tripled over the past decade and the number of displaced has soared in the past year, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
Most of the displaced have fled conflict and their plight is made worse by poverty, climate issues, food scarcity and bad governance, it said.
A sum of $3 billion was mobilised for education, infrastructure, employment and environment programmes for refugees and their hosts in eight African countries in 2016-2018 during the pilot phase of the UN’s Global Compact for Refugees, the agency noted.
The Global Compact urges more support to refugees and the often poverty-stricken communities that host them, and make refugees more self-reliant to give them and their host communities a better future.
“Governments are showing the world that the forcibly displaced with their skills and determination are assets rather than burdens,” the agency said.
The UN also views the Global Compact as “a tool for regional stability”, especially in Africa, UNHCR underlined.
The African Union has designated 2019 as “The Year for Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons” in Africa.