CGIAR pledge at Global Refugee Forum 2023: Promote climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods in fragile and conflict‐affected settings

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In 2019, the inaugural Global Refugee Forum, convened by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNCHR) as part of its Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), underscored the pivotal role of international cooperation in securing sustainable solutions for refugee situations. The forum provided a platform for stakeholders to share best practices and technical expertise, resulting in almost 1,400 pledges of financial, material, technical, and policy support. Additionally, commitments were made to provide places for refugee resettlement and explore alternative pathways to comprehensive solutions.

The second Global Refugee Forum, held on December 13-15, 2023 in Geneva, was called to build on the progress made by an array of stakeholders toward implementation of the GCR and related pledges and initiatives announced in the first Forum. In support of GCR’s framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing and to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives, CGIAR has pledged to enhance the climate resilience of and humanitarian responses to refugees, host communities, and other displaced peoples in fragile and conflict-affected settings. This commitment is channeled through the CGIAR Research Initiative on Fragility, Conflict, and Migration (FCM).

“Climate, fragility, and conflict are increasingly exacerbating vulnerabilities of the most marginalized,” said Grazia Pacillo, Senior Scientist with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT who represented CGIAR and FCM at GRF. “Refugees and displaced populations are often left behind in the climate discourses. With its ambition to transform land, water, and food systems in a climate crisis, CGIAR can and should play a critical role in bridging the Humanitarian, Development, and Peace communities; in transforming climate solutions and providing “people of concern” capacities to effectively respond to compound crises.”

Alongside GCR partners and through strategic initiatives and demand-driven research, CGIAR will inform efforts to promote food and nutrition security; climate adaptation; effective coping strategies in the face of shocks; and inclusive food, land, and water systems benefits, including to women and youth. CGIAR’s technical and institutional capacity will provide cross-cutting support to anticipate crises and their compound impacts and improve humanitarian responses to address root causes of vulnerability and increase long-term resilience in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

CGIAR’s full pledge can be found below, and on the Global Compact on Refugees’ website.

 

Through strategic initiatives aimed at anticipating crises and their compound impacts, improving humanitarian responses to address root causes of vulnerability and increase long-term resilience in FCASs, including refugees and displaced people and their host communities, we anticipate that we will improve food and nutrition security, livelihoods, and women’s empowerment for approximately 4 million people.

The CGIAR hereby pledges to promote climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods in fragile and conflict‐affected settings (FCASs) and areas where displacement poses development challenges. Demand‐driven research will inform partners’ efforts to promote food and nutrition security, climate adaptation, effective coping strategies in the face of shocks, and inclusive benefits from food, land, and water systems, including for women and youth. The CGIAR will provide technical and institutional capacity to the Climate Action pledge. This work will provide cross-cutting support to the three pillars of scaled-up accessible finance, inclusive policies and plans and refugee-inclusive programs. In addition, the evolving understanding of anticipatory approaches holds unprecedented potential for pre-emptive humanitarian interventions. This shift from reactive to proactive strategies not only minimizes the immediate impact of crises but also addresses the root causes of vulnerability, contributing to the creation of resilient communities.

The CGIAR’s pledge directly aligns with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (2018), particularly conflict prevention and addressing root causes of fragility. By leveraging their extensive research capabilities, partnerships, and global initiatives, CGIAR commits to advancing the systematic inclusion of displaced persons, along with their host communities, in critical areas through land, water, and food system science and innovations. This commitment not only contributes to the Compact’s goal of enhancing refugee self-reliance and inclusion but also underscores the importance of addressing climate-related challenges and risks faced by displaced populations and host communities within FCASs, thereby working toward the prevention of forced displacement and addressing root causes of vulnerabilities.

Hunger and severe malnutrition are on the rise in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCASs), affecting the 1.5 billion people living in these areas. These challenges are compounded by factors such as climate change, unsustainable resource consumption, poor governance, and weak social cohesion, leading to conflict and forced displacement. Economic disruptions, like the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, are exacerbating the risk of food and nutrition crises, poverty, and conflict traps. Alarmingly, nearly 670 million people are projected to face hunger by 2030, the same as in 2015 when the UN Sustainable Development Goals were launched. As of 2022, there are over 110 million forcibly displaced persons, with 80% experiencing acute food insecurity and high malnutrition rates.

While migration can be a development tool, it also strains food, land, and water systems (FLWSs) and creates challenges, particularly for women left behind with increased work burdens, limited decision-making authority, and restricted access to key assets and services. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) host almost 90% of the world’s refugees, placing strain on host communities and resources. Conflict and insecurity are the primary drivers of food crises, with a significant proportion of the population in protracted crises living in extreme poverty. Climate change further intensifies these challenges, displacing people due to weather-related disasters. Social inequalities exacerbate hunger and reduce access to FLWS benefits, particularly affecting women, who also have limited access to power and influence.

To address these complex global crises, governments and development organizations require evidence-based solutions. The International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2023 Global Food Policy Report, “Rethinking Food Crisis Responses,” emphasized the need to fill data and research gaps to guide policy solutions. Similarly, the most recent Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Humanitarian Action (2023) called for more and better evidence to establish anticipatory action priorities at scale. A systems approach, in partnership with those working in FCASs and incorporating women’s and youth’s voices, is essential for promoting gender equity and social inclusion. CGIAR is uniquely positioned to generate evidence and support transformative policies and programming to enhance climate resilience in FCASs, address displacement challenges, and promote social equity, conflict mitigation, and peacebuilding. A globally coordinated response is also crucial to address humanitarian crises and build more resilient FLWSs. The data and assistance provided by the CGIAR drives sustainable food systems which will help foster resilience-building and sustainable livelihoods and prevent food insecurity under a changing climate. Additionally, policy-coherence will enable greater integration of critical information in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), DRR strategies, and early warning systems. The pillars of our pledge are listed below.

ANTICIPATE – Anticipatory Action and Governance: CGIAR will provide technical and institutional capacity as well as data and knowledge to support agencies such as UNHCR in the development of strategies for effective Climate Action. This will build upon the co-developed tailored compound risk analyses and governance work performed at the global level for displaced persons. In addition, government, humanitarian and development partners in at least three FCASs adopt conflict‐sensitive anticipatory action approaches to help prepare for and mitigate volatile scenarios featuring compound conflict– food, land and water systems risks reducing costs, inclusively promote climate adaptation, alleviate poverty, prevent conflict escalation, and build social cohesion.

BRIDGE – Conflict and Emergency Operations: Humanitarian or development stakeholders in at least three FCASs utilize the Climate Peace and Displacement Partnership tools and recommendations to inform and integrate conflict, fragility, and protection programming along the HDP nexus.

STABILIZE – Stabilizing Individual and Community Livelihoods: Governments, UN agencies, or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in at three five FCASs either implement new programming or strengthen gender equality and social inclusion (GESI)and conflict sensitivity dimensions of existing policies and programming to help improve livelihoods and food security, including for youth, while promoting gender equality in FCASs.

ACCELERATE – Stability and Peace Accelerator Partnership and Grant Mechanism: Eight local innovators design and deploy (in partnership with CGIAR scientists as part of the Initiative’s grant mechanism) scalable interventions that promote FLWSs resilience, peacebuilding, and youth opportunities.

LEARNING AND PARTNER DECISION SUPPORT – Supporting Partners to Combat Fragility and Conflict: Partner organizations will benefit from strategic support for program design, evidence on their programs’ impacts, and scientific capacity sharing and knowledge exchanges due to collaboration with the CGIAR.

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