Prospects for refugees and migrants

Building host regions’ capacities

Around 40 million of the world’s 65 million displaced persons in 2015 remained within their own country or fled to neighbouring states – which often face immense challenges of their own. Jordan is one example. Not only is it one of the most arid countries in the world, what makes matters worse is that many water pipes are so badly installed or maintained that 40 per cent of the water is lost. In addition to six million Jordanians, 650,000 refugees from Syria are now dependent on this scarce resource. The constant anxiety over water creates immense potential for conflict. Meeting the needs of refugees and local communities alike is a major challenge in promoting acceptance of the refugees and building peaceful social relations and stability in the host countries, many of which are already poor. In Jordan, GIZ – on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – is supporting a training programme for 150 urgently needed plumbers to upgrade the dilapidated water supply network. Almost half of them are refugees, and half the training places were allocated to women as a priority in order to give them access to this occupation, which was previously closed to women.

Preventing possible conflicts is also one of the goals of the refugee projects in Lebanon, which has hosted more than 450,000 Palestinian refugees for decades. Their situation has progressively worsened, especially since the arrival of growing numbers of refugees from Syria. People are traumatised, not only by the poor conditions in the camps but also by the psychological effects of migration and their life situation. On behalf of BMZ, GIZ is working with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to expand the psychosocial support structure for refugees. This includes providing training for social workers, nurses and staff from local civil society organisations.

Despite the challenges it creates for host regions, migration also offers great potential for sustainable development. Migrants working abroad generally support their families and friends who have remained in the countries of origin. In 2014 alone, migrants sent around USD427 billion to recipients in developing countries, which means that remittances were more than three times larger than total official development assistance. Very often, however, these remittances incur high and sometimes hidden charges, reducing the amount of money received in the home countries. The website – operated by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – enables migrants living in Germany to compare the costs and services provided by various money transfer companies. Every month, around 2,500 people use the service. GIZ is also working to improve access to financial services. For refugees, migrants and their families, a safe place to deposit their cash and fast and affordable money transfer services are extremely important. GIZ is increasingly backing digital technologies such as mobile phones and card systems and advises the central banks in migrants’ and refugees’ countries of origin on digital financial services.