JoPBI Darfur Visit 15 December 2008: Kerindag 2 camp

Literature review: Migration and Conflict in the Horn of Africa

New research conducted by the REF has reviewed recent literature on the links between migration, development and conflict in the Horn of Africa.

The report highlights issues that have been most prominent in the past 3 years and is structured around the three following themes:

  • Theme 1: Stability, instability and migration
  • Theme 2: Movement and mobility structures and patterns
  • Theme 3: Changing policy and programmes

The report highlights some areas where research is still lacking: some refer to long-standing issues that require new approaches, others are concerned with newly emerging issues and those where conditions are changing rapidly in this fast-moving region. The following conclusions emerged from the literature review:

  1. CRRF
    The impact of the CRRF (the subject of an ongoing REF study) is expected to deliver more integration between refugees and host communities. However, many challenges to CRRF progress remain, including questions around how more ‘progressive’ or open approaches to refugees can be sustained, both financially and politically.
  2. Urbanisation
    There is clear evidence of growing urbanisation across the region. As REF research in Somalia has shown, urbanisation is intimately connected with displacement, refugee returns and other elements of forced migration, as well as rural–urban migration that can be characterised as driven more by livelihoods. How do these links between urbanisation and displacement play out in other parts of the region?
  3. Education
    Education is an important driver of migration across the region. However, not only do people move in search of education, they also resist moving to ensure they or their children can complete their studies. How does this shape patterns of displacement and return movement where there are high levels of instability and political violence?
  4. Social Media
    It is not clear how far social media may serve to exacerbate migration behaviour or potentially reduce the need for it by enabling the benefits of migration to be shared.
  5. Migrant perspectives 
    It is not clear how the perspectives of migrants can be taken into account in programming, especially where these perspectives do not resonate with the interests of states, donors and international organisations. Is there anything to be learned from those who are successful?
  6. Migration governance
    It is striking that the discussions on migration governance across the region are making much more reference to the GCR and the CRRF. Is there any prospect of an equivalent articulation of the Global Compact on Migration in policy and programming across the region? Is there any implementation strategy for the region?
  7. Crossing borders
    Crossing borders, often using irregular routes, plays a very important role in the livelihoods of millions of people across the region (especially pastoralists and many labour migrants) and also provides protection in times of crisis as people seek asylum in the face of political crises and violence. The EUTF is making significant investments in trying to improve the safety of these movements and ensure people’s rights are upheld, in particular through the Better Migration Management programme. However, there is a tension between the imperatives of humanitarianism (ensuring protection and rights), development (enabling livelihoods) and state building and state sovereignty over borders. Is it possible to resolve such tensions, and if so how? If not, which should take priority and who decides?

This report builds upon an earlier detailed review completed by the Research and Evidence Facility (REF) of the EU Trust Fund for Africa (Horn of Africa Window) in 2017. Read the Migration and Conflict in the Horn of Africa; A Desk Review and Proposal for Research

Image: “JoPBI Darfur Visit 15 December 2008: Kerindag 2 camp” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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