Let me first express my thanks to the High Commissioner for devoting this years Protection Dialogue to internally displaced persons (IDPs). The cause of IDPs seem to have lost somewhat the attention of the international community in the recent years – a worrying trend given the fact that their number are growing and many of them are at great risk, suffice it to mention IDPs in Syria, DRC and CAR.
The picture is not entirely negative however. There has been progress in the field of normative frameworks and legislation, the Kampala being the prime example, but also in policies of countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Kenya, as mentioned by Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani today.
A positive sign was also the fact that more countries then ever cosponsored this year’s resolution on protection and assistance of IDPs, a resolution that soon will be adopted by the General Council by consensus in New York. This resolution is negotiated biannually and facilitated by Norway also had more progressive language on topics important to IDPs like education, inclusion in development policies and the need to pay special attention to internally displaced women and girls.
Having the floor, I would like to put a question to our prominent panelists. It is related to development. It is a tricky one, since internal displacement often is framed as a humanitarian issue, both at home and abroad. In order to solve the many protracted situations, we need to frame the solution reflecting its root causes, which are almost always political. Durable solutions often require the concerted efforts of a wide range of stakeholders, including those who hold the key to a country’s security and development. Ideally, displaced populations should be at the centre of national development plans. But often they are excluded for the exact reasons that made them displaced in the first place. We as donors need to include IDPs in our development policies. This however normally requires that they are included in national development plans. So my questions to the panelists is: how do we get there?