Economies, work and displacement

Plus a shorter feature on social protection

Due out June 2018

Deadline for submission of articles: Monday 5th February 2018

Economic activity, in the broadest meaning of that term, is one of the fundamental aspects of human society and human activity. When people are forced by conflict or other circumstances to leave their homes, they usually also leave behind their means of economic activity and subsistence. When they arrive in their new location, they may not be able, or permitted, to take up economic activity; the consequences of this socio-economic reality reaches far beyond the need – or not – for assistance.

As the number of displaced people in the world has steadily increased over recent years, and as the length of time people spend in displacement has continued to grow, there have arisen acute political pressures in many countries. The interest in finding ‘solutions’ that both mitigate the problems perceived to be associated with displacement flows and reduce the need for funds for assistance is manifested in recent initiatives such as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework as well as in more local initiatives.

It is often claimed that the impact of refugees can be linked to development opportunities, not just humanitarian needs. Displaced people in many cases bring skills and experience with them but may not be able to utilise them to support themselves or contribute to the society hosting them, whether in the short or longer term. There is a narrow aspect to this – to do with the working and earning opportunities for displaced people. And there is a broader aspect too – to do with the place of displaced people within the larger economy of the place where they are. It is around this complex reality that this issue of FMR seeks to provide insights and ask questions.

This issue will also include a section looking more specifically at refugee-led social protection, including initiatives formed and led by refugees to promote wellbeing, community development, advocacy and livelihoods.

This issue of FMR will provide a forum for practitioners, advocates, policymakers and researchers to share experience, debate perspectives and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for practice-oriented submissions, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:
 

  • What are the various ways in which displaced people relate to the economy of the location where they find themselves displaced?
  • How are local economies affected by the arrival, presence and departure of displaced people?
  • What impact does a host country’s refugee policy have on its economic development?
  • How does the effective application of the right to work vary across contexts, and with what consequences?
  • What can be done to create market and other economic opportunities for hosts and displaced people?
  • What is being done to improve recognition of displaced people’s professional qualifications in order to help them access and participate in the labour market and contribute most effectively in the host society?
  • How important is the ‘internal’ economy among displaced people as opposed to the ‘external’ economy with the host society?
  • With the growth of the digital economy and as economic opportunity becomes less tied to a physical location, how does this help people remain economically active while on the move?
  • Does an emphasis on rights to work and market access rather than humanitarian assistance act disproportionately to support men while disadvantaging women and those less able to work?
  • Would the ability of displaced people to participate in the economy let agencies and governments avoid their obligations in respect of humanitarian assistance? Is this as much a political solution as a practical solution for displaced people?
  • What factors have triggered the international community’s recent focus on the economies of refugees, and how can it best be harnessed?
  • What should be the roles of traditional humanitarian organisations in the economics of displacement?
  • What benefits do displaced people bring and on what timescales?
  • What is the role of remittances and of the relationship more broadly with the diaspora on the economic life of the displaced?
  • Is being granted the right to work and labour market access sufficient to allow self-reliance?
  • How can asylum systems and employers better help displaced people integrate by providing employment opportunities? Are there examples of business taking a lead in this?
  • Under what conditions can ‘refugee self-reliance’ be attained? What are the principal obstacles to its attainment?
  • What is the historical experience of economic and self-reliance interventions in humanitarian situations?
  • How do refugees themselves perceive the notion of self-reliance?
  • How do cultural norms, in particular in relation to gender roles, affect the economic lives of displaced people?
  • What role do economic activities play in protection?
  • Do the concepts of self-reliance and freedom from dependency have necessary components beyond the economic? If so, how can those other aspects be incorporated in economic programmes?
  • To what degree are refugees’ and IDPs’ sources of security – including but not confined to economic security – derived from social protection initiatives formed and led by other refugees and IDPs?
  • What do we know about the evolution of refugee-led social protection, for example in response to events and policies that exacerbate refugee and IDP vulnerability?
  • How can refugee-led social protection initiatives usefully inform policies and practice, including those which address economic livelihoods?

 

While we are looking for examples of good, replicable practice and experience as well as sound analysis of the issues at stake, we also urge writers to discuss failures and difficulties: what does/did not work so well, and why?

We are particularly keen to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by these questions. And authors are reminded that FMR seeks to include articles with a gendered approach or a gender analysis as part of them.

Maximum length: 2,500 words.

Please note that space is always at a premium in FMR and that published articles are usually shorter than this maximum length. Your article, if accepted for publication, may well be shortened but you will of course be consulted about any editing changes.

Deadline for submission of articles: 5th February 2018

If you are interested in contributing, please email the Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk to discuss your ideas for an article. If you have suggestions of colleagues or community representatives who may wish to contribute, please do email us; we are happy to work with individuals to help them develop an article and very keen to have displaced people’s perspectives reflected in the magazine.

If you are planning to write, please take note of our guidelines for authors at www.fmreview.org/writing-fmr.