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As urgent crises around the world, such as the brutal war in Syria, drag on for years, the humanitarian sector’s ability to build new partnerships will be key to handling long-term displacement of refugees, Catherine Wiesner, regional refugee coordinator for Burundi at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The humanitarian sector needs to structure its responses to refugee crises with alliances that go beyond traditional partnerships, such as between U.N. agencies, international, and local nongovernmental organizations, and look at a more holistic approach to handling refugee crises, she said. This includes partnering with more development-focused partners and working to integrate refugees into national systems right from the onset of their displacement.
These efforts are focused on increasing the international responsibility for responding to refugees, rather than making neighboring countries shoulder the majority of the burden, and to work to have a development-minded approach to protracted refugee situations, she said.
The key behind this will be to avoid creating a parallel system within host communities, whereas local children might go to national schools while refugees would go to camp-run schools, for example. Instead, refugees would be integrated into national social services as soon as possible when they arrive in-country, she said. To accomplish this, humanitarian actors should forge partnerships with various government ministries, including those responsible for planning and social services.
Read the full article about partnerships helping the refugee crisis by Sara Jerving at Devex.