Skip to main content

Global strategy needed for countries who host refugees

26 May 2023

An ambitious global strategy is essential to ensure that countries that respond to humanitarian crises by welcoming refugees are supported over the short, medium and long term. Current practices fail both refugees and the countries that host them, says a new report from the International Development Committee.

Ahead of the UN Global Refugee Forum later this year, the International Development Committee is calling for meaningful debate on how the global community supports host countries to move from the initial humanitarian response to a longer-term development approach that incorporates the needs of host communities.

In addition, the international community needs to commit to finding political solutions to enable refugees to return home. The report says the international community must be able to demonstrate its lasting commitment to the host country and provide certainty that it will ‘stay the course’ of the refugee response.

According to the World Bank, 76% of current refugees have been displaced for more than five years. Today’s report considers the situation in Jordan and Lebanon, who have some of the highest levels of refugees per capita in the world. The countries have been at the forefront of the Syria response and have hosted Palestinian refugees for decades.

For example, Jordan is now the second most water-scarce country in the world with some households seeing the frequency of their water supply fall from every week to every four weeks. Housing units in the Za’atari refugee camp, home to 80,000 people, need replacing as they have exceeded their shelf life. Lebanon’s economy has severely contracted since October 2019, with serious repercussions for healthcare and education. The Committee heard that some 90% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in extreme poverty.

Host countries are often left to pick up a disproportionate share of the costs but are rarely in a strong financial position to do so. These protracted crises can impact the economies and social cohesion of the host countries, but this should be addressed with long term international support.

Chair's comment

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:   

“Today, we are calling for the international community to stand in solidarity with countries that provide sanctuary to huge numbers of refugees. A sustainable global strategy is the only way to ensure that refugees and host communities in countries like Jordan and Lebanon receive the support they need in the long-term. It cannot be fair that rich nations like the UK can scale back their assistance when the tv cameras move on while those closest to crises continue to provide refuge, often for decades.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that most refugees want to return home. The search for diplomatic solutions should begin the moment crises arise. The international community has a crucial role to play in bringing crises to an end so refugees can safely return to their home country.

“The Global Refugee Forum is taking place later this year. The UK Government must use this opportunity to be bold and bring effective, credible pledges for fair responsibility sharing to ensure that no refugee hosting country is left to pick up the tab while the rest of the world turns to the next crisis.”

Further information

Image: DFID via Flickr