Refugees – risk to a working economy or force for development?

There are two current risk drivers worrying our community : climate change and the evolving nature of conflict and insecurity. Each by itself has serious consequences for development, but their convergence has got to the attention of this years panel meeting at the WBCSD liasion delegates meeting.

Watching the news and following the newest happenings it is quite obvious that whole Europe can’t close there eyes anymore to what is happening in the middle east and the Arab region: Both regions are experiencing one of the most dramatic periods of change in history – escalating conflicts, rising poverty rates, and constant war & terrorrism conclude the emergence of many million refugees and internally displaced persons. But it’s not to forget that International labour migration has become a key driver of development around the world.
Some key facts about migration, according to the UNDP 2015:

  • In 2013, there were 232 million international migrants globally; a number projected to exceed 250 million in 2015 (UNDESA).
  • Of the 59.9 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, 38.2 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs), 19.5 million are refugees and 1.8 million are asylum seekers.
  • The average length of displacement is 17 years. Many live in a state of protracted displacement, or “second exile”, caught between the inability to return home and the lack of durable solutions elsewhere.

To achieve all development goals (SDGs) that were agreed on at last years COP21 meeting in Paris, success in the area of inclusion, justice, security and equality is crucial. Given the protracted nature of conflict caused by unjustice, poverty and war and thus causing in millions of people to flee their homecountries, climate risks must factor into early recovery and reconstruction efforts, including climate-resilient infrastructure and livelihoods and sustainable energy solutions. This can be an important way to combine growing levels of humanitarian assistance and climate finance.


written by Miriam Luft


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