Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC)

Addressing Forced Displacement through Development Planning and Co-operation

Guidance for Donor Policy Makers and Practitioners

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Published on November 15, 2017


Despite the increasingly protracted nature of situations of forced displacement, development policy makers and practitioners have tended to overlook the longevity of displacement. Forced displacement has long been viewed primarily as an emergency humanitarian issue by providers of development co-operation and the focus of the international community has predominantly been on addressing the immediate protection and short-term humanitarian needs of forcibly displaced persons. However, with increasing levels of new and protracted displacement, and key commitments such as the 2030 Agenda, donors are looking at the role of development actors and financing in supporting sustainable and comprehensive solutions to forced displacement.  This Guidance, therefore, provides a clear and practical introduction to the challenges faced in working in situations of forced displacement, and provides guidance to donor staff seeking to mainstream responses to forced displacement into development planning and co-operation. While recognising that donor policies and responses are constantly evolving, this guidance proposes that donors responding to these situations prioritise three broad areas of work, where they can best contribute to existing capacities at the national, regional and global levels. It also identifies twelve actions, grouped under four key principles, outlining what donors can do to reinforce the capacities of key actors to respond to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons at the national, regional and global levels, and to advance comprehensive solutions.

Far from a problem, refugees can and should be part of the solution to many of the challenges our societies confront. They bring hope: the hope of a better life and a better future for their children and ours.

Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General


Addressing forced displacement: read the brochure

Mapping donor practice and lessons learned in refugee crises (pdf)

We invite all those downloading and using the guidance to please fill out this short anonymous survey. This will help us assess the usefulness of this guidance for field and policy practitioners; and provide opportunities for users to provide feedback that may inform future work on forced displacement and development co-operation at the OECD.

In 2016, there were over 65.6 million people forcibly displaced globally. 84% of the world’s refugees were hosted in developing countries. The scale and nature of forced displacement has made it imperative that we ensure development planning and co-operation is more effective in countries of origin and asylum. To this end, the 2016 DAC High Level Meeting recommended that the DAC make efforts to improve the reporting of refugee costs within DAC countries (see ODA reporting of in-donor refugee costs), as well to enhance the effectiveness of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to respond to the refugee crises, with a particular focus on delivering better quality results on the ground.



‌The work of the DAC Temporary Working Group (TWG) on Refugees and Migration built on existing good practices and learning from evaluations to develop “Addressing Forced Displacement through Development Planning and Co-operation: Guidance for Policy Makers and Practitioners.” The working group drew on expertise across the OECD and provided a forum for DAC members to: deepen their understanding of forced displacement; identify and address common challenges; collaborate, create and expandpartnerships; contribute to more inclusive, transparent and credible policy responses; and lead by example.




Official Development Assistance (ODA) has played an important role in supporting the costs of providing refugees with temporary sustenance in OECD countries. Under the direction and expertise of the Statistics & Development Finance Division, the Reporting Directives pertaining to in-donor country refugee costs have been clarified to better map categories of costs currently reported and compile more accurate and accessible data. These efforts will contribute to enhancing comparability, transparency and credibility of ODA spent in donor countries. Click here to see the latest figures on 2016 ODA.




cover for the working paper Responding to Refugee Crises in Developing Countries: What Can We Learn From Evaluations?

Read the report

This report draws from the evaluation work of DAC members to strengthen the evidence base to improve future responses to refugee crises in developing countries. Including by bridging the gap between humanitarian and development programming, strengthening the international response to protracted crises,improving whole-of-government approaches in refugee contexts,learning from work in urban settings,improving access to employment and quality education for refugees and host communities,mobilising financing mechanisms for refugee crises in middle income countries,examining financing in response to the Syria crisis.

The evidence the evaluations outlined in this report feeds into the Guidance for Donor Policy Makers and Practitioners.






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