In this episode of (Un)Filtered hosted by Co-Director of R-SEAT Rez Gardi, LERRN Project Director James Milner talks about his research in the forced migration field throughout his career, the change in global refugee regime since the 90s, and meaningful refugee participation in the international refugee system.
As with any paradigm shift, change in the international refugee regime comes with its ups and downs. The global pandemic, for example, proved that top-down and large-scale responses have become unsustainable and ineffective over time. Instead, Milner states “our only hope is to foster and to support localized responses.”
In the episode, Milner defines what localization means in the context of humanitarian responses, while unveiling some of the barriers and obstacles in implementing localization when meeting refugee needs. “We need to recognize that refugees are not there to be disciplined or governed, refugees are human beings with agency, ideas, and innovation. Recognizing that they have a meaningful and equal role to play is not just an ethically good thing to do, but also it’s a practically important thing to do” says Milner. Localization, then, requires a transfer of powers and funding from international actors to local actors who are closest to the forced displacement.