Poverty – Development
The Poverty Alleviation Coalition
In 2019 an unprecedented 71.4 million people worldwide have been forced from their homes. To compound matters, 85% of 25.1 million refugees globally are hosted in developing countries. 25% live in the least developed countries. Here, refugees and host communities alike often find themselves enduring extreme poverty and scarce economic opportunities. Further, the majority of refugees worldwide live in protracted situations for five years or more, making most refugees less suited for emergency relief than for longer term solutions.
With an average of 30 persons being forcibly displaced every minute of every day, both refugees, nationals in host communities, and host country governments experience increasing social and economic pressure. In addition to new and protracted conflicts, climate change impacts will significantly add to the numbers of the forcibly displaced in coming years. Refugees and nationals in host communities are often forced into informal employment without regular earnings and social protection, thus, leaving many with little resilience to shocks and highly dependent on humanitarian aid. In locations where the level of poverty of refugees and host communities is on par, disparities in access to relief, resources and infrastructure often create pressure on refugees and nationals alike. This in turn puts fiscal and political pressures on hosting governments and social services, particularly in low-income countries.
Enabling refugees to work in their host country has received renewed attention in the past years as a way to combine development needs of host communities and countries with the humanitarian needs of refugees. When refugees are able to work, their self-reliance is enhanced, and they are able to provide for themselves and their families, increase resilience, regain dignity, and build independent and meaningful future. Ultimately, access to livelihoods and jobs enables the impoverished to meet their needs for protection, food security, health, housing, and other essential services in a safe, sustainable, and dignified manner. A growing body of evidence suggests that including refugees in local economies contributes to economic growth, and can thus be mutually beneficial for refugees and host communities. Overall, access to work reduces pressure on refugees and hosts locally, contributes to economic growth, and therefore eases pressure on the host country as a whole.
In December 2018 the United Nations adopted the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) in which member states committed to the objectives of reducing pressure on host countries and enhancing refugee self-reliance. This is to be achieved by increased international burden and responsibility sharing, and by mobilizing the international community and stakeholders as a whole. In line with the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Compact calls for alleviating poverty which is itself a significant root cause of large refugee populations.
In response to the global poverty situation among refugees and nationals in host communities, and in line with the GCR spirit, a coalition between the UNHCR, The World Bank Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI) and 11 NGOs has been formed with the goal of alleviating poverty for refugees and host communities in selected countries.
The partners are:
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
The Poverty Alleviation Coalition
A coalition of UNHCR, The World Bank Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI) and 11 NGOs will work towards the common vision of increasing self-reliance, economic and social inclusion of refugees & host communities by sustainably increasing income-earning opportunities.
Alleviating poverty of half a million households consisting of refugees and host communities as an objective within 5 years. The Coalition will run two cohorts from 2020-2025. This is a direct response to the high levels of poverty among refugees and host communities in low income countries.
The Graduation Approach
The Graduation Approach will guide the coalition’s response. The approach combines humanitarian and development assistance and helps the extremely poor refugees and host communities to become self-reliant. The methodology is developed by BRAC and show impressive results with 95% of participants graduating out of poverty. A programme is typically 18-36 months.
The Coalition has a target of reaching 35 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America from 2020-2025. Target households are in areas where both refugees and nationals live in poverty and close proximity. Fundraising is ongoing.
Parallel funding where donors fund implementing NGOs directly is the Coalition’s modality. UNHCR and PEI will be the main conveners by facilitating access to populations, supporting programming and fundraising, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the Coalition’s programmes.
The approximate cost of alleviating a household of extreme poverty is on average US$ 1,400. To meet the coalition’s goal of alleviating 500,000 households, the annual need is an average of USD 140 million annually for 5 years (totaling US$ 700 million).