Prospects for displaced persons in non-EU first reception and transit countries: situation analysis

2023 02 27

Many refugees usually remain in countries neighbouring their place of origin, which are mostly low- and middle-income areas. The governments of these countries have the responsibility to provide humanitarian support and to promote development programmes in view of their long-term needs and to increase their self-reliance. However, these countries often lack the resources and/or capacity to do so, which makes the contributions of international actors, as well as civil society organisations, of paramount importance.

This inform explores which national strategies have been implemented in the EMN Member Countries to enhance the prospects for displaced persons in non-EU first reception and transit countries, and how these strategies have been integrated within existing EU and international frameworks and agreements such as the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum. It also attempts to provide examples of successful programmes and initiatives aiming to enhance the prospects of those populations, identifying good practices and exploring opportunities to further strengthen and foster (cross-border) partnerships and cooperation.

Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands, have a dedicated strategy or policy that primarily aims to enhance the prospects of displaced persons in non-EU first reception and transit countries. Each national policy also has specific goals ranging from the provision of support to migration management and addressing the root causes of forced displacement and onward movements to protecting and promoting human rights and self-reliance. All four policies are also linked to the implementation of the GCR and some also refer to the SDGs and the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum. About half of the other EMN Member Countries that participated in the inform cover the enhancement of prospects of displaced persons under their broader national development and/or migration strategies or policies. The geographical focus of the strategies and policies varies and can range from a very broad scope of multiple countries and regions to a more limited one addressing, for example, the displacement of populations in countries affected by the crisis in Syria. Several EMN Member Countries however, do not specifically refer to the enhancement of prospects of displaced populations in any of their national strategies or policies. 

More than half of the reporting EMN Member Countries have also implemented and/or financed specific initiatives to improve the prospects of displaced persons. These activities range from supporting education, vocational training, employment opportunities and livelihood support, to proving psychosocial support. These initiatives are funded by EMN Member Countries on their own (or with contributions from host countries), or as part of EU initiatives such as the EU Trust Funds.

Implementing these strategies and initiatives can be challenging at times, especially when confronted with difficult socio-economic conditions in non-EU first reception and transit countries, legal restrictions, and conflicts of interest between host governments and donors, all of which can be further aggravated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, several success factors were identified that contributed to the effectiveness of approaches to enhance the prospects of displaced populations. The most often reported included adopting a humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach, providing multi-annual, flexible and predictable funding and including host populations in the scope of the initiatives. A few EMN Member Countries also identified specific ways to further strengthen cooperation and partnerships to enhance the prospects of displaced persons, including, for example, the establishment of regional dialogues and networks to create opportunities for peer-to-peer exchange, bring beneficiary organisations together to share information and present how they use funds to better align donor interests with those of host countries.

EMN Inform (EN)