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Over 70 million people remained forcibly displaced within their own countries at the end of 2022 due to conflict, violence, disaster and climate change – an all-time high. The World Bank predicts that by 2050, climate change could force more than 216 million people to move within their own countries.
The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Internal Displacement’s Report (2021) called for an approach that recognizes solutions as a development priority in which national ownership is crucial. It also advocated for enhanced focus on internal displacement in national policies, UN strategies, development financing, private sector engagement and advocacy and on strengthening prevention through addressing the drivers of displacement and reducing displacement risks.
To take forward the HLP recommendations, the Secretary-General launched his Action Agenda on Internal Displacement (2022) laying out a common vision for the UN system to work towards solutions, prevention, and response simultaneously with partners. The Action Agenda recognizes the urgent need for stepped up, earlier and more predictable engagement of development actors to meet demands from national and local governments for support in scaling up their work on solutions and preventing future displacement crises. The Secretary-General also created a time-bound position of the Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement to serve as the UN’s prime advocate on solutions and tasked with helping drive a change in the approach to solutions within and outside the UN system.
Coordinated action by all partners on solutions is gaining traction at country level including amongst the 15 priority countries of the Office of the Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement (OSA) as well as wider efforts to support the implementation of the Action Agenda in different countries. Sharing learning and capturing knowledge is crucial to ensure sustainability and build wider capacities on solutions amongst all stakeholders.
A new Facility to Strengthen UN and National Capacities on Solutions to Internal Displacement
A key recommendation of the Action Agenda on Internal Displacement is the need for “additional Support to UN Resident Coordinators through ensuring they can draw on advice and support from the global and regional levels and – where relevant – dedicated capacity at the country level” (Recommendation 6).
In late 2022 a new Facility to Strengthen UN and National Capacities on Solutions to Internal Displacement was set up to deploy trained and experienced Solutions Advisers to Resident Coordinators (RCs). These Advisers bolster UN Resident Coordinator Offices (RCOs) and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) capacity to be able to support governments to deliver better and quicker on solutions, convene the UN system and coordinate with broader partners including NGOs, civil society, donors and the private sector.
In addition to the new Solutions Advisers Facility there are a number of both UN and NGO staff that support solutions work in country either through secondments or direct arrangements with RCOs (notably supported by France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and through agency capacities offered by UN Agencies and NGOs for coordinated action.
Community of Practice on Solutions to Internal Displacement
A Community of Practice (CoP) is envisaged to support primarily the work of Solutions Advisers regardless of deployment modalities with a second priority the wider network of UN and NGO staff supporting coordinated solutions work in both priority countries of the OSA and more broadly. The primary objective of the CoP is to create a vibrant and resourceful platform to exchange experiences, insights and best practices in providing solutions to internal displacement in 2024 and 2025 aligned to the current timeframe of secured funding for the Facility.
The CoP can contribute to wider learning, exchange and knowledge management on solutions to internal displacement. However, it is based on interagency coordination and currently only on in-kind resources from all partners. Therefore, a three-tiered prioritized approach is currently envisaged:
Quarterly Meetings: Regular virtual meetings for RCO Solutions Advisers to discuss challenges, share success stories and brainstorm on common issues.
Online discussions, events and resource library: Responding to needs of Solutions Advisers but could be opened to wider UN and NGO staff supporting coordinated action based on topics to be addressed. This activity will utilize a knowledge management platform to host discussions and event forums on pertinent topics, allowing for wider participation and engagement from the global community. The platform can also support a digital library of resources shared for these events for future reference.
Ad hoc training: Responding to identified capacity building needs of both Solutions Advisers and wider UN and NGO staff supporting coordinated solutions work in country. This would be available based on resources in collaboration with experts and practitioners from OSA Steering Group, NGO-led durable solutions platforms and other partners.