CAIRO – 3 March 2021: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi hailled Egypt's inclusive policy on refugees Wednesday in Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development.
"I remember a very inspiring conversation with [Egypt’s] education minister where he told me: "how can we leave behind refugees?,"" Grandi stated, according to Egypt Today.
Egyptian Deputy Assistant to Minister of Foreign Affairs for Migration, Refugee, and Combating Human Trafficking Neveen Elhusseiny stated that official asylum seekers in Egypt belong to Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya.
Elhusseiny showcased that only 10% of donations in 2020 went to healthcare in spite of the pandemic outbreak. "Another general issue is that donations go to international organizations solely, although host countries similarly need support to provide education, and other services."
UN High Commissioner for Refugees also hailed the entire African continent given that its states adopt inclusive policies.
In that context, Director of Transition States Coordination Office at AfDB Yero Baldeh highlighted that 39 million Africans got displaced internally in 2020, and that the figure in 2019 was 50 million.
As that is a burden on host countries that also grapple with local economic challenges, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shed light on the World Bank's Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR), through which such states receive assistance with medium to long term development "opportunities."
Grandi indicated that the World Bank is currently working with 12 countries – hosting at least 25,000 refugees or equal to 0.1% of their population - through that window.
Those countries include the G5 Sahel countries, which get support from both the AfDB and World Bank, the international official pointed out.
Speaking of reasons behind displacement, Grandi underscored that "climate change intersects with other causes of displacement like poverty and conflict."
As for solutions, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees explained that they should be comprehensive, courageous, and strategic in the sense of tackling the political aspects of crises that incur displacement.
Equally, solutions have to be adapted. A case in point is "solutions must give care to urban development and planning, as people usually get displaced from rural areas to urban areas" and the return to rural areas is almost always not an option. Also, Grandi stressed that international organizations must work with sub-regional ones like IGAD, and not just regional organizations like the AU, for optimum outcomes.
In the same session titled "Addressing Forced Displacement in National Planning and Peace Processes: Localizing the Paradigm Shift to Prevention in Africa,"Director of Operations and Emergencies at the International Organization for Operation Jeffrey Labovitz stated that providing support to displaced people involves "improving access to education, urban infrastructure and settlement institutions."