The role of urban refugee networks in a multi-level policy context: the case of Kenya
Eva Dick (German Development Institute/DIE)
Paper short abstract:
One of the main aims of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) UN member states agreed upon in December 2018 is to facilitate access to self-reliance vialocal integration. However, at the Horn of Africa, policies tend to disregard the vital role of refugee networks in facilitating urban integration.
Paper long abstract:
One of the main aims of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) UN member states agreed upon in December 2018 is to facilitate access to durable solutions beyond encampment. Moreover, the Compact pledges that refugees should gain access to opportunities and services and thus become self-reliant. Since most of the world's approximately 20 million refugees settle in cities and their urban-based networks tend to provide entry to urban (informal) housing and employment mar-kets, this constitutes part of a 'de facto' durable solution. Meanwhile, in the Horn of Africa - one of the major refugee producing and hosting regions in the world - the implications of changing humanitarian paradigms are not so clear. While the "Nairobi Framework for Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and Reintegration of returnees in Somalia" translates the GCR to the regional context and its longest-lasting refugee crisis, the access of refu-gees to labour markets, services and infrastructure occurs to a quite limited degree and with few consideration of the role of self-help actors. In the context of an ongoing three-year research funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, this paper assesses how global and regional refugee policies dif-fuse to national and local levels and their impact on local policy dynamics and constellations. Using the cases of Kenya and selected cities, the methodology involved document review, expert inter-views and observation. Significant political barriers at national level tend to forestall refugees' ur-ban integration and devolution of related responsibilities to local stakeholders, let alone to refu-gees' organisations.
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