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Understanding and addressing root causes of displacement

  •  January 05, 2016
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While a large number of people are driven away from their houses due to numerous conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, in other places, like Asia, floods, storms, cyclones and droughts are destroying people’s households. There were 60 million people displaced by conflict and violence by the end of 2014, which has reached levels of the Second World War.

Governments and the humanitarian community unite to produce effective responses, as the need to understand the root causes behind the current levels of displacement is greater-than-ever, which is the theme of the 8th annual High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges, which took place in Geneva in 16-17 December 2015.

"Our world today is at a crossroads. From a humanitarian perspective, this juncture is defined by two 'mega-problems' in an environment of global insecurity: a seemingly uncontrollable multiplication of violent conflicts in an environment of global insecurity, and the pervasive and growing effects of natural hazards and climate change that are already shaping our present and will shape our future even more," said the head of the UN Refugee Agency António Guterres. 

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has 1.6 million people displaced from their homes due to military conflict and shortage of food. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, thousands of people have been displaced due to sea level rises tied to climate change and millions are in danger of being uprooted in the future.

According to Guterres a distinction needs to be understood between triggers and underlying drivers of displacement as well as a need for renewed political will and leadership to protect and find solutions for those who have been forced to flee and a focus on sustainable development, good governance, rule of law and human rights to prevent the need for flight and to achieve sustainable solutions.

"Leadership and political will are essential to end the violent conflicts that have displaced tens of millions of people and to finally tame the progression of global warming. But meanwhile, development cooperation also has a key role to play in efforts to address the root causes of displacement."

As of January 2016, Filippo Grandi takes helm as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, succeeding António Guterres whose more than 10 years in office ended in December 2015. Grandi is a UN official who has worked in refugee and political affairs in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. More details here

Read More about Understanding and addressing root causes of displacement here 

The image source UNHCR

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