Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC 5.0) Bridging the Gap between Humanitarian and Development Nexus in Migration and Displacement Contexts
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Session 03: Forced displacement to cities
Over the last decade, the world has witnessed a rise in migration and displacement due to natural and human-made disasters and conflicts. 80% of internally displaced people and 60% of refugees seek safety and assistance in urban areas, resulting in a need for adequate urban responses globally – but cities also attract many migrants looking for livelihood opportunities and improved access to services.

Well-planned and well-managed urban population growth has a positive impact on cities and communities. However, hosting and supporting a large number of people in vulnerable situations often puts a heavy burden on local authorities, specifically, if resources and capacities are rare and policies and systems are not responsive to a rapid increase of population.

In many contexts, displaced people in urban environments struggle with inadequate living conditions and limited access to services and livelihood opportunities. There is therefore a strong need for increased social and economic inclusion of forcibly displaced people in urban systems, and advocate for key urban actors, such as local authorities and civil society, to play a major role in creating enabling environments.

Against this background, Cities Alliance and UN-Habitat organize a series of three events on forced urban migration, from different perspectives.

Session 3 (10 December 2020)
At least 100 million people were forced to flee their homes in the last 10 years, seeking refuge within or outside country borders. Out of that number, over 41 million people are estimated to be internally displaced, lacking adequate shelter and housing, having limited or no access to basic services and being in extremely vulnerable conditions also regarding food security, health and livelihood generation. The rise in war, conflicts and terror, combined with climate-change induced hazards and environmental degradation have led to an increase in internal displacement worldwide. Even though IDPs have moved within their country, they often struggle with social/economic exclusion and discrimination and cannot access their rights. It is therefore of critical importance to advocate and develop more effective, integrated and human-rights based approaches for supporting IDPs in towns and cities around the world.
In the search for proactive and durable urban solutions to displacement, Session 3 concludes the UTC and presents case studies in Somalia, West Africa and Iraq, examples trying to address internal displacement and discusses the elements for future practice to bring about durable solutions and lasting change. The focus is on ensuring the gap between humanitarian and development efforts will reduce barriers to the social, economic and cultural inclusion of IDPs in urban areas and cities.


The first session focused on Latin America, and a recording is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0TLEpL2RqU&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=UN-Habitatworldwide. The second session focused on Refugees and Settlements, and a recording is available at: https://youtu.be/JNS-woQN_KQ
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