German policy

Tackling the root causes

Tackling the root causes of displacement

In recent years, wars and conflicts have forced millions of people to leave their homes. In addition to these acute causes of displacement, there are also structural causes such as poverty, inequality, weak governance, human rights violations, shortages of resources or food insecurity that gradually take their toll, eventually driving people from their homes. Regardless of how the causes of displacement have come about, the only way they can be tackled at all is through long-term efforts.

German activities

Germany is helping its partner countries to remove the structural causes of displacement. Employment and training programmes, for example, are a way of giving young people in particular prospects for the future, and they foster social cohesion.

Countries in crisis receive support to help them stabilise their political and economic situation, rebuild institutions that have been destroyed and improve the educational and employment prospects of their people. The German government is also working to support regional and international peace processes, as well as a constructive, non-violent approach to settling conflicts.

Stabilising host regions

Stabilising host regions

The majority of refugees flee to countries bordering their home country. In most cases, these countries are developing countries: around 86 per cent of refugees seek refuge in a developing country.

Countries that are hosting particularly large numbers of people include Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. The arrival of very large numbers of people within a short space of time is often a huge challenge for host countries: there is a lack of housing and employment opportunities; schools cannot accommodate all the additional children; food and water start to run low.

Ensuring people have access to the basic necessities

In order to help stabilise the countries taking in refugees, Germany is investing in their infrastructure – for example, in their water supply systems – and in income-generating activities. Host countries' government institutions and non-governmental organisations also receive help, so that they can maintain or even enhance their services.

Germany also tries to facilitate dialogue between new arrivals and existing communities. The aim of all these interventions is to help the refugees become integrate

Supporting refugees

Supporting refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees

Displaced people have not only lost everything they ever owned – many have also been subjected to violence, humiliation and exploitation. Germany is a vocal advocate for refugees' rights, also funding measures designed to alleviate the suffering caused by the traumatic events the refugees have experienced.

Creating prospects for the future

Many refugees know that they probably will not be able to return home for many years. At the same time, it is often very difficult for them to find employment in the country where they have found refuge. In addition, they often do not have adequate access to education programmes or health services.

When people feel they have no future, big problems can result. Even when refugees are able to return home, they face enormous challenges: they must rebuild their everyday lives and routines. Moreover, most returnees, having lost everything when they fled, now need to establish a new livelihood for themselves.

The aim of German development cooperation in this context is to create new prospects both for refugees in host countries and for returnees. To that end, Germany is investing, among other things, in the reconstruction of schools and health centres.

Advice is also provided to some 3,000 migrants each year who are voluntarily returning from Germany to their home countries. This advice is geared towards fostering the transfer of knowledge to their countries of origin, and it focuses on helping them to reintegrate, for example by assisting them in setting up a business.

International policies

European cooperation

Some of the ongoing refugee crises are taking place in the close vicinity of Europe. Joint action by European countries is therefore both sensible and necessary: the European Union needs to tackle the root causes of displacement, reduce the strain on host countries and give displaced people a chance to build a future for themselves.

Working together effectively

Germany is working actively within the European Union to give shape to the EU migration partnerships that are being established with African partner countries in particular. The BMZ's long-term goal is to help provide education and jobs so that people will feel they have a future in their own country, and to establish the principle of shared responsibility between countries of origin, transit, and destination.

The BMZ is lobbying to get the EU member states to increase their overall level of support for refugees and to cooperate effectively with each other. To that end, short-term emergency relief should be dovetailed closely with longer-term development cooperation programmes. And further financial efforts are needed on the part of the EU.

International cooperation

The German government's support for refugees is part of international efforts to provide help. Germany coordinates its activities closely with the United Nations. For example, the BMZ is providing substantial funding to support the work done by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

No lost generation

UNICEF is providing substantial support for refugee children from Syria. The BMZ is supporting UNICEF's No Lost Generation initiative, among others. The initiative provides educational offerings and psycho-social support to ensure that there is not a "lost" generation in Syria and its neighbouring countries growing up without education, knowing nothing but war and destruction, and learning that the only way to resolve conflicts is through violence.

Solutions Alliance

The BMZ is also part of the Solutions Alliance. This international initiative is seeking to develop solutions for refugees caught up in long-term crises. It is a multi-stakeholder alliance that includes the countries affected by the crises, donor countries such as Germany, UN agencies such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and representatives from academia, the private sector and civil society.