Improving prospects, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence for forcibly displaced persons and host communities

Geneva (ILO News): A panel discussion, bringing together representatives from the ILO, IFC, UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Ministry of Foreign of Affairs (MFA) of the Netherlands, highlighted the importance of promoting social cohesion and peaceful coexistence as part of joint efforts under PROSPECTS, a global partnership, which seeks to devise approaches for inclusive job creation, education and protection for displaced and host communities.

Co-hosted by the ILO and the Netherlands MFA, the discussion was part of a series of virtual events held during the Geneva Peace Week, which is a leading annual forum in the international peacebuilding calendar, and the flagship event of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. This year’s theme focused on “Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation,” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further exacerbated challenges faced by forcibly displaced persons and vulnerable host communities.

The discussions centered around the PROSPECTS partnership and its approach to finding durable solutions for refugees and the communities that host them through dignified, inclusive and comprehensive programmes, contributing to peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.

Panellists from the five organizations working jointly under PROSPECTS, as well as the Netherlands, the donor to the partnership, presented global and country level initiatives being carried out by each of the partners that contribute to inclusive development and social cohesion.

Discussions highlighted challenges as well as opportunities and good practices in the various displacement contexts and countries targeted under the programme, which include Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Sudan and Uganda.

Ms Ana Uzelac, Lead Adviser of PROSPECTS from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, introduced the partnership, which is spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands, and its focus on the need for displaced persons and host communities to enjoy enhanced economic opportunities and for children on the move to have effective and inclusive access to protection and education. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified challenges and specific vulnerabilities faced by forcibly displaced persons, as well as the challenges of host communities to pursue their own development efforts in an environment that has been transformed by a large influx of newcomers and the pandemic. The crisis, Ms Uzelac explained, could further aggravate grievances, discrimination and mistrust among communities: “The arrival of a massive amount of people does affect labour markets, education and services and can have detrimental consequences.”

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