25 February 2020
United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the international community to face up to the devastating and complex issue of internal displacement as he opened the inaugural meeting of a new High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement in Geneva, Switzerland on 25 February 2020.
The Panel, constituted by the Secretary-General in October 2019, is co-chaired by Ms. Federica Mogherini, previously High-Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission and Dr. Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank and current Chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. It includes representatives from government, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and countries particularly affected by displacement.
In only the first two months so far of 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced within their countries adding to the 41 million internally displaced persons globally. Many have been stranded for years in limbo after their initial displacement without secure housing, jobs, education or other needs and opportunities.
Decrying the acute and relentless crisis of internal displacement, the Secretary-General urged the Panel to help draw global attention to the issue and catalyze a new and stepped-up effort to find solutions: “It is unacceptable that millions of people are so brutally dislocated from their home and then linger without solutions for years. Being displaced should not be an interminable problem. I am confident that this Panel will bring fresh ideas to prevent forced displacement, better protect and assist displaced people and identify swifter solutions to displacement.”
Ms. Federica Mogherini highlighted the terrible consequences of internal displacement across the board and reiterated the imperative to find lasting solutions: “Recent displacement and the immense suffering it is creating in places like Syria, the Horn of Africa, DRC and Yemen are a stark reminder of the urgent need to better deal with internal displacement. The Secretary-General’s support is crucial as we embark on the challenging task to recommend innovative ways to enhance the way the problem is seen and dealt with today.”
Recognizing that efforts have been made over time to address the humanitarian aspects of internal displacement, Dr. Donald Kaberuka stressed that more comprehensive efforts are required: “We need to examine the underlying social and economic causes of displacement including poverty, inequality, marginalization and exclusion, environmental fragilities, governance challenges and the impact of displacement on societies and countries to be able to propose the correct solutions.”
The Panel will be advised by an Expert Advisory Group including some of the most eminent experts on internal displacement. It will be supported by a Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is expected to meet four times over the next 12 months, hold regional and national consultations to learn from countries and organizations dealing with displacement and will submit its recommendations to the Secretary-General by February 2021.
For further information please contact:
ASG/Secretary and Head of Secretariat
UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement
Office # 142
Palais des Nations
8-14, Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10. Switzerland