Water, displacement and migration

People washing their clothes in a camp for internally displaced persons in the South Sudanese capital Juba

At the moment, there are more displaced people worldwide than at any other time since World War II. Germany cannot directly influence with its instruments of development cooperation the acute drivers of displacement such as war, persecution and violence. However, it can tackle the root causes of displacement, thus helping to reduce global migration pressure.

Poverty, a dearth of economic opportunities, poor governance and a lack of political participation are common causes of displacement. Factors such as water shortages or recurrent flooding play a crucial role as well, because they impact negatively on people's living conditions; climate change will only exacerbate the situation.

Tackling the root causes of displacement

Where water is scarce, conflicts between the various users often erupt at the local, national or international level. Water distribution and management can be key to preventing conflicts, especially in water-poor countries, for example in the Middle East.

Through its development cooperation, Germany is working to help improve public water supply and sanitation services and protect water resources in refugees' countries of origin, so as to give people a viable future in their home country.

Stabilising host regions, creating prospects

Syrian women who fled to Jordan training as plumbers

The majority of refugees remain in the region they are from; they either seek refuge in other parts of their home country or in neighbouring countries. This can create huge challenges for the host communities because, often, the infrastructure and resources are not sufficient to meet even the needs of the local population and the influx of refugees increases the pressure on them.

Refugees will only be well received if the local people can themselves be sure of having sufficient supplies of water and access to basic services. This helps stabilise host countries. That is why Germany is increasing its investment in developing water and sanitation infrastructure in refugee camps and host communities. In addition, these measures also offer local people and refugees job and income opportunities. Programmes at the interface between water and training are a chance to give people a useful skills set.

Working jointly with refugees and host communities helps prevent conflicts. In addition, Germany is interlinking emergency and transitional aid with development cooperation so as to ensure that people receive continuous and long-term support.

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