Humanitarian Financing

Financing Forced Displacement


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How can we adapt financing to the reality of forced displacement? By the end of 2018, 70 million people had been forced to flee their homes worldwide (UNHCR). Official development assistance (ODA) and other types of development finance play a vital role in supporting those who are forcibly displaced and the communities that host them. ODA helps to provide support for refugees seeking asylum in OECD countries, and plays an even bigger role in developing regions – where 84% of the world’s refugees are hosted (UNHCR). The right mix of financial tools can help to ensure that proper support reaches all situations of forced displacement, so that no one is left behind on the path toward sustainable development.

Getting it right: using development finance in contexts of forced displacement

This workstream focuses on assessing current development practices in forced displacement contexts, and on defining how development finance can best be used to support forcibly displaced people around the world.


Financing for refugee situations

Forced displacement, including refugee flows, is a global phenomenon. As of the end of 2018, 26 million people were refugees. Refugee situations are complex, context-specific and bring together large movements of people as well as significant vulnerabilities and fragilities. Financing plays an important role in refugee responses, but is not yet fit-for-purpose to respond to the challenges and opportunities that patterns of displacement present.

Financing for Refugee Situations proposes seven good practice principles for adapting financing to the reality of refugee situations, based on global trends and case studies in Central African Republic, Colombia, Lebanon and Uganda. Both the quality and the quantity of financing matters to get the greatest value for refugees and their host communities. While the paper’s findings are directed towards refugee situations in particular, many of the lessons may also be applicable to other forms of forced displacement. 


INCAF Common Position on supporting comprehensive responses in refugee situations

The findings from the case studies in the paper ‘Financing for refugee situations’ laid the ground for a Common Position on supporting comprehensive responses in refugee situations which was adopted by the International Network on Conflict in December 2019.


Financing refugee-hosting contexts

Official Development Assistance (ODA) plays a key role in ensuring that no one is left behind on the path toward sustainable development – and refugees are no exception. According to UNHCR, 85% of refugees are hosted in developing countries. The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) outlines arrangements for a more predictable and equitable sharing of burdens and responsibilities when it comes to protecting and supporting the world’s refugees. In order to inform how the international community can utilize funding more effectively to meet these responsibilities, it is  essential to consider how ODA is spent in these settings – and to outline priorities to guide donor support and engagement going forward.


Working paper Financing Refugee-Hosting Contexts: an analysis of the DAC’s contribution to burden- and responsiblity-sharing in supporting refugees and their host communities.

ODA 2015-17 to programmes & projects supporting refugees & their host communities
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Partnership with UNHCR

Through its work on Financing Refugee-Hosting Contexts, the OECD has worked in partnership with UNHCR to establish a baseline for monitoring progress towards “funding and effective and efficient use of resources” as one of the key tools for effecting burden- and responsibility sharing among UN Member States when it comes to supporting the world’s refugees, as outlined by the Global Compact on Refugees.

The OECD will continue to work in partnership with UNHCR in order to harmonize efforts surrounding refugees and development.


In-donor refugee costs

In 2016, the 30 members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) formed a Temporary Working Group (TWG) on Refugees and Migration with the aim of assessing how in-country costs associated with refugees are reported as Official Development Assistance (ODA), and to work towards better programming guidance.

Clarifications to the Statistical Reporting Directives on in-donor country refugee costs were developed to in order to improve consistency of reporting across members, and to support the compilation of more accurate and accessible data.

Useful links

Related OECD work


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