Forced Displacement

Forced Displacement

Protection, Engagement and Inclusion


The purpose of this program is the development of a shared vision and global policy responses to address current and growing “forced displacement”, a result that is important for fairness, optimal economic impact, stability and social cohesion. The problem is the largest it has been in modern history - 68.5 million being the officially reported number - and will call on a multifaceted policy response and renewed political will to address the consequences while causes persist.

Scope and Agenda

This project, initiated by the Chumir Foundation gathered experienced and knowledgeable individuals from around the world to address this issue. Guided by leading global experts serving as a Steering Committee, a World Commission on Forced Displacement of respected individuals from political, policy, business, civil society backgrounds established by the Foundation has searched for the policy lessons of past experience to best realize manageable, even positive, impacts from population movements. This program included research of best practices; the convening of an expert review of the research and recommendations; and deliberations of the Commission to recommend best practices in current circumstances and help to re-characterize the public dialogue. Forced displacement is continuing and growing as a result of conflicts, expected climate changes and other reasons. If a waste of a great many lives is to be avoided, economic development in the Global South near, and, if safe, at points of origin of all those forcibly displaced; resettlement in the developed world; and, responsibility sharing by those able to do so, should all be addressed.

There has been wide acceptance of a paradigm shift that treats the management of the displacement issue as one which evolves from that of protection and assistance to an investment/development challenge. The funds for aid, development and philanthropy are far too limited for the needs. Given the need for private capital in this activity, the challenging conditions for commercial investment in the locations involved, and the scale of the challenge something more than exists today is required.

Functionalities not currently fulfilled by existing institutions require a nimble organization with an institutional culture that is different. It requires public funds to be deployed to create conditions in which private sector investment is realistic, de-risking and holistic engagement on implementation by a ‘Merchant Bank’ in the target areas for investment.

With such investment, enhanced economic growth is possible for the benefit of the Global North and South from reallocation of surplus, low-yielding savings from the North to higher yielding projects in the contextually challenging South. This would be accomplished by removal of impediments and implementation of mechanisms for de-risking private sector commercial investments through the transactional role of a new Merchant Bank and related policies – tailored by sector, region, or individual case, if necessary. Some savings/capital reallocation would serve a widely shared interest in the establishment of:

  • gainful employment and self-sufficiency for locals and forcibly displaced arrivals in a community;
  • viable living conditions for the overwhelming majority of the displaced who prefer to remain in their region of origin;
  • investment opportunities at improved returns and export opportunities for the Global North; and,
  • improved security and stability globally.

The Commission has addressed the policy needs of a regime for all those forcibly displaced. Its six recommendations are:

  1. Development - Fundamental to any ‘solution’ to displacement - without negating the importance of humanitarian relief, protection and rights - is the gainful employment/engagement of the large numbers of the working age population among the 68.5 million displaced and stranded for increasingly protracted periods. They are often in locations that are challenging for commercial investment (85% being in the Global South, primarily in low income and middle income countries). The required scale of investment necessitates significant private sector participation, as that alone is where sufficient resources and capacities to meet the needs exist. Identification of inherently sustainable ventures and establishment of commercial conditions for their implementation in target markets requires a dedicated, differently motivated entity performing public and private sector roles, making strategic use of public sector funds to pragmatically de-risk and develop commercial projects for private sector investment.
  2. Responsibility Sharing and Coordination - A senior level stakeholders continuing ‘Platform’ for collaboration on planning, coordination of intervention, sharing of experience to identify and promote best practices and, potentially, assist prevention - as well as to advance a fair, realistic, predictable and adequately funded sharing of burdens and responsibilities on agreed sharing metrics - would be a very constructive addition to effectiveness in the management of population movement dynamics.
  3. Protection/Coverage - Moral, social, economic, political, as well as operational and forced migration prevention considerations each dictates that all those forcibly displaced and, secondarily, those poised to flee, be similarly protected and assisted, regardless of the cause, status or location of their displacement. If their circumstances and the impacts on communities where they relocate are the same, they have similar needs for opportunities to reintegrate at some time and place, regardless of the cause of their flight or the jurisdiction in which they are located and vulnerable.
  4. Narrative - Public opinion by audience segment and differing motivations should be addressed to cultivate a narrative that permits solution-oriented political action. Real anxieties, attitude to diversities, and political perceptions are all in need of attention. Policies that promise solutions to displacement would help support more positive thinking.
  5. Inclusion - This is the culminating measure of the impact of policies and practices. Unless the displaced populations are accorded rights to work, own businesses, educate and train their members in some location and to move for the purpose, no policy will ‘solve’ the problem. Rights to work are not opportunities to work, hence the centrality of development. Exclusion will only exacerbate the social problems. Initiatives for the ultimate objective of social inclusion of the displaced as contributing participants in communities should be urged, and facilitated by policies and practices of all host communities, international agencies, and displaced people.
  6. Technology - The potential role of technology for connectivity, information, education, identification and financial, social and other services to assist the displaced should form part of any plans.

The Foundation convened the
World Commission on Forced Displacement
and an international Steering Committee
for this initiative

World Commission and Steering Committee Members

Background Research was
undertaken in Partnership with
the Overseas Development Institute

Overseas Development Institute

Related Pages


  • A Report of the World Commission and the research material was released in December 2018
  • A consultative process to achieve practical support for implementation of these ideas is underway.
  • A Narrative Project is in development to endeavor to shift the conversation to solution oriented political action.
In 2017
68.5 Million
were forcibly displaced
Source: UNHCR (2017) Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017
of those displaced are in the
Developing World
Source: UNHCR (2017) Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017
40.0 Million
are Internally Displaced
due to conflict, violence and persecution
Source: UNHCR (2017) Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017