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Achieving durable solutions by including displacement-affected communities in peacebuilding

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Sorcha O'Callaghan, Kerrie Holloway

Hero image description: UNMISS Protection of Civilians site for displaced people, Juba, South Sudan Image credit:UN Photo/Isaac Billy Image license:CC BY-NC-ND

Internally displaced people (IDPs) uprooted by conflict are peace and conflict actors, not merely victims in need of assistance. Their displacement may be highly political and is often intended by the conflict parties. Their displacement affects other communities, too.

Peace processes that include displacement-affected communities, and take account of their interests and needs, are less likely to fail. This policy brief – a joint submission by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and HPG to the UN High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement – argues that sustaining peace and finding durable solutions to displacement must therefore go hand in hand.

Key messages

  • Despite recent commitments to peacebuilding and UN reforms, displacement-affected communities are being left out of peacebuilding processes involving human security, peace agreements, reconciliation, transitional justice, dispute resolution and building long-term resilience to conflict. This is partly due to contextual factors, but also to persisting institutional silos that prevent the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding ‘triple nexus’ from being realised.
  • The High-Level Panel should make peacebuilding a priority in its deliberations. It should remind UN entities, affected Member States, donors and civil society of their responsibility to promote durable solutions for displacement that include peacebuilding, and it should recommend the development of practical guidelines for doing so.
  • The Panel should also recommend strengthening current UN reforms, to facilitate the integration of IDPs and other affected communities in peacebuilding. This includes encouraging donors to adapt their funding instruments, to incentivise and hold agencies accountable for working together across the triple nexus. 

Phil Vernon, Sorcha O’Callaghan and Kerrie Holloway