PhD Student, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Read here: Durable Solutions and the Humanitarian-Development Nexus

Executive summary:

This paper provides a brief review of the literature on the link between humanitarian and development approaches to durable solutions for refugees. By shedding light on the meaning, scope, and timing of durable solutions; strengths and shortcomings of traditional durable solutions; the emergence of alternative solutions; intersectional approaches to durable solutions; and the roles of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, as well as refugees themselves in the pursuit of durable solutions as they relate to the humanitarian-development nexus, the paper aims at examining the gaps in the literature and avenues for future studies and policies. The paper has three main findings. First, while the literature on the humanitarian-development nexus as it relates to durable solutions has received remarkable interest from scholars and policymakers, the links between the humanitarian approach to emergencies, durable solutions for refugees, and development lenses on the solutions are not always clearly examined in the literature. Second, the extensive literature on the durable solutions to displacement appears to focus mostly on experiences of flight and displacement and remains limited in exploring the struggle for solutions. Finally, most of the work on durable solutions studies solutions in the Global North, which is the destination only for a small proportion of refugee populations, rendering the focus on the pursuit of solutions within the Global South limited. There is a need for a deeper understanding of which “solutions” work in which contexts, recognizing the difficulty of reaching general conclusions about processes that are shaped by context-specific histories, cultures, socioeconomic conditions and experiences. It is also important to articulate the gap between refugees’ everyday practices and the policies of international organizations that contribute to solutions, the meaning of achieving a solution, and the perspectives that guide the conversation on the humanitarian-development nexus as it relates to durable solutions for refugees. The fundamental questions like solutions for who, by whom, how, and when deserve more attention, especially within the context of the Global South.