Forced Migration Review issue on Cities and towns

Cities and towns are on the frontline of receiving and welcoming people who have been displaced. In this issue of FMR, policymakers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of cities and international city-focused alliances, and displaced people themselves debate the challenges facing both the urban authorities and their partners, and the people who come to live there. The issue also includes two ‘general’ articles on other topics.


Multi-stakeholder approach to urban displacement in Somalia- FMR issue on Cities and towns

Cities and towns are on the front line of receiving and welcoming people who have been displaced. In the 20 articles on Cities and towns in this issue of FMR, policymakers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of cities and international city-focused alliances, and displaced people themselves debate the challenges facing both the urban authorities and their partners, and those who have sought refuge.

A number of authors explore new ways of working in urban settings – including area-based approaches, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and city-to-city collaboration – while others offer insights and inspiration from local responses and the perspectives of displaced and host communities. Other authors examine how camp management practices can be applied in urban settings, how resilience can be bolstered by improved communication and information sharing, and how municipal capacity and community dialogue can be strengthened to improve protection in high-risk neighbourhoods. The issue also draws out practical lessons for promoting inclusive climate action, negotiating contested authority, and encouraging urban planning that takes account of both displaced and host community needs.

Click here for our full article on a multi-stakeholder approach to urban displacement in Somalia and here for the full FMR issue on Cities and towns

ReDSS Adaptive management and value for money approaches

Adaptive management involves testing, monitoring, getting feedback, and crucially, making adaptations and course corrections, as necessary.  Effective adaptive management requires a programme to be able to learn, reflect, decide, and then act. ReDSS work is based on an approach that takes the complexity of durable solutions processes as its  starting point. This means that the ReDSS adaptive management approach begins from a position of uncertainty about which outputs are the right ones for getting to outcome-level change, which requires an iterative process of testing and learning. Throughout the year, ReDSS supported its partners consistently to adapt their programme activities based on emerging evidence and analysis. Click below for:

Also click here for a working paper that outlines a set of tools and approaches used in supporting adaptive management; and here for  more resources from the Global Learning for Adaptive Management initiative (GLAM).

2019 Annual report and summary presentation

Emerging learning and good practices from East and Horn of Africa region offer much to build upon, adapt, and replicate in other contexts. Several key developments are worth noting. First, shifts away from a predominant focus on returns movements towards finding more durable solutions for hosting refugees and IDPs can be observed across the region. These shifts can be increasingly seen in new ways of working, such as consortia programming between humanitarian, development, and resilience actors, as well as in more consistent engagement from development partners such as the World Bank in displacement responses. Second, there are many innovative examples of longer-term approaches to thematic areas such as: HLP; self-reliance; and integrated programming for host and displaced communities. New durable solutions coordination structures are also being implemented, in particular at local and municipal levels across the region. These allow for increased multi-stakeholder coordination, and whole-of-government involvement and ownership of processes. Collaboration between humanitarian, development, resilience, peace building, and state building actors around participatory area-based approaches that are led by local governments are emerging. Third, regional actors, in particular IGAD, have been instrumental in changing the regional discourse on durable solutions and bringing governments in the region together around a common agenda.

Click below for:

ReDSS work and achievements are made possible through the active engagement and generous contributions from its members and funding partners. ReDSS would like to thank them for their continued support and commitment to do more and to do better together in the search for durable solutions in the East and Horn of Africa region.

IGAD DRDIP Quarterly newsletter December 2019

In this Issue you will find:

  • Consultations with Somalia government and key stakeholders on capacity and institutional support for area-based development (ABD) in areas of return and reintegration
  • IGAD RSFDMM trains Member States on the spatial analyses, geo-tagging and application of geo-spatial innovations
  • The Nairobi Process: Second stock-taking meeting and the role of IGAD DRDIP in coordinating implementation of the Nairobi Declaration

Click here for the newsletter.

New publication: Unprepared for (re)integration: Lessons learned from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria on Refugee Returns to Urban Areas

This study informs programming and policies in relation to refugee returns and, specifically, with regards to their (re)integration within urban areas, with a focus on Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. While millions of refugees return to poverty, conflict and insecurity in all three settings, a tunnel focus on returns rather than on (re)integration has limited value for long-term planning. Stakeholders, including communities and returnees themselves, have been unprepared for what happens post-return. This publication was commissioned by the Danish Refugee Council in partnership with International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS), Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) and Asia Displacement Solutions Platform (ADSP), and was researched by Samuel Hall.

In order to help you navigate the full report, we have divided it into five parts:

ReDSS GRF briefing paper “Advancing multi stakeholder engagement to sustain solutions”

Documenting learning and best practice around the CRRF application in the East Africa region through a thematic approach. It highlights learning from new ways of working as well as opportunities that the application of CRRF has enabled in three key areas: (1) return and reintegration; (2) area-based and locally-led approaches; and (3) regional and national level engagement around the CRRF approaches. Country specific examples from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya as well as the regional level through IGAD are used to illustrate good practice and concrete examples. The paper also addresses gaps and opportunities with recommendations for further development that can be used for planning and policy dialogue beyond this year’s first GRF to support a common agenda around durable solutions programming in the East Africa region. We thank all ReDSS members for their contributions.

  • Click here to download the briefing paper


ReDSS Global Refugee Forum Pledge

ReDSS members developed four pledges that will be presented at the GRF:

  • Area based planning and locally led approach
  • Measuring collective outcomes
  • Rethinking displacement financing
  • Regional and cross-border engagement

Click here for the pledge document.

ReDSS quarterly update- October 2019

In this quarterly update, you will find information on the aspirations surveys in Somalia, research process in Ethiopia, refugee bill in Kenya, preparations for the Global Refugee Forum in December, key upcoming learning events and conferences, and finally resources published over the past months.

Click here for the update.

Access to shelter and services for low-income groups: lessons from Hawassa, Mogadishu and Nairobi on the politics of informal settlements and shelter access

This report provides a synthesis of key findings and lessons from a three-city study on access to shelter and basic services for low-income groups in East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya; Mogadishu, Somalia; and Hawassa, Ethiopia). Guided by political economy analysis, this paper sets out some key lessons for agencies operating in cities, highlighting why and how city dwellers make certain shelter choices, and
provides suggestions on how to respond.

  • Informal institutions and actors are key to shaping how and whether people access shelter:  The complex nature of informality may serve both to enable as well as to limit choices and opportunities for low-income groups. The huge demand for shelter and the inability of the national or local state to meet these demands have driven the growth of informal settlements and generated entire industries that both maintain and exploit vulnerable populations.
  • The ‘urban poor’ are not homogenous — risks and barriers vary between individuals and households: Low-income groups in general face the greatest challenges in accessing decent housing, but groups including women, people living with disabilities and in some cases young men experience more acute challenges and additional barriers to accessing shelter on the basis of their identity.
  • Other forms of identity are important — particularly ethnicity and migration status: In Mogadishu, an intricate hierarchy of clans strongly influences the spatial distribution of population, security of tenure, urban development and evictions. Hawassa has experienced insecurity relating to disputes over land ownership and ethnic tensions. Nairobi has a long history of politicised land deals and irregular land allocations, which have often been driven by Kenya’s ethnic politics.
  • Housing options for low-income groups are underexplored and better rental regulation is needed:  Rental housing is under explored as the most appropriate option for low-income groups, and a lack of regulation contributes to poor-quality housing and exploitation of tenants. The high cost of land and property creates informal rental markets. The relative absence of regulation and protection mechanisms for renters has fostered severe tenure insecurity and exploitation in the rest of the market, especially among poorer socioeconomic groups.
  • Poorly handled evictions can cause long-term vulnerability and undermine trust in government: Evictions are a common feature of all three cities in the study. Forced evictions are exacerbating the vulnerabilities of affected households, usually entailing costs for households, including the loss of livelihoods and social networks.
  • ‘Affordable’ housing is often inaccessible — new options for affordable finance are needed: Housing classed as ‘affordable’ is often beyond the means of the majority of city dwellers – a reevaluation of ‘affordable housing’ is needed alongside new approaches to affordable finance for housing and land. The ability of the lowest-income groups to access formal housing was extremely limited across all three cases. Previous attempts at affordable housing have been captured by the middle classes. Across all three cities, mortgage finance for low- and middle-income groups is highly constrained.
  • Empowered and organised civil society working with city governments can improve low-income housing at scale: With support, local actors can respond to their particular needs and priorities. Government funding to support community-directed upgrading or household and community plot purchase and house development can widen the scope of what low-income households and communities are able to achieve.
  • National political settlements frame city decision making, but other local and regional factors – and competing interests — must also be understood: The ‘visions’ held by national-level politicians have a significant impact on urban policy and programmes. Subsequent changes in urban infrastructure, services and form will intersect with city level politics, and may have an impact on local stability and security.

Click here for full paper.