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Refugees and Host Communities

Status: Active



    Knowledge Base

    The Syrian conflict is having disastrous humanitarian, social and economic consequences both in Syria, neighboring countries, and the entire Mediterranean region. This unprecedented and protracted refugee crisis is placing an extraordinary burden on host countries and communities. This regional knowledge base aims at highlighting the socio-economic challenges involved in hosting refugees in the heavily affected Middle East and Turkey, as well as Europe and North Africa. Despite obvious differences in burden-sharing among host countries and communities within these sub-regions, they face common challenges and can benefit and learn from each other’s experiences through cross-regional exchanges. This knowledge base offers evidence-based analyses, innovative actions, and solutions to develop more effective responses to the refugee crisis. These are essential to boosting actors’ capacities in order to work towards the common welfare of refugees and host communities.

    Countries Targeted

    • Middle East, Turkey, North Africa, Europe




    Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), Agence Française du Développement (AFD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Medcities, UN Group, International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), United Cities Local Governments – Middle East West Asia (UCLG MEWA), World Bank Group.




    Syria’s neighboring countries are facing an unprecedented and protracted refugee crisis with spillover effects in Europe, in which humanitarian challenges are coupled with long-term development challenges for the Mashreq and the entire Mediterranean region. There are some 5.2 million (September 2017) registered Syrian refugees in the Mashreq and North African countries, while a significant number (970,316) has applied for asylum in Europe.


    Host countries are providing the international community with a global public good, and need to be supported in return. Urban communities are particularly affected by the influx of refugees, which places additional strain on the provision of basic services and social cohesion.


    Program Objective


    The program aims to strengthen existing knowledge and evidence on development solutions to forced displacement by convening its networks and partners, develop consensus around policy adjustments with regard to both host communities and refugees, and advocate for the need to rally the MENA diaspora more proactively.


    Beyond short-term assistance needs, the longer-term economic and social inclusion of refugees into host communities is a key issue. Refugees face severe barriers when accessing public services, housing and the labor market, which can lead to social and economic exclusion. The insufficient economic inclusion of refugees through access to income and labor will limit their contributions to host economies, and increases the risk for refugees to fall into poverty.

    In this context, also the MENA diaspora can be an important catalyst to foster cooperation, development, regional integration, and entrepreneurship in the MENA region.


    The program is developed around three program areas:


    Welfare of Host Communities   Refugee Inclusion    Diaspora mobilization

    Welfare of Host Communities: Evidence-based knowledge and peer-learning to improve local governments’ capacity in priority public service delivery to their populations and the most vulnerable, including refugees


    Refugee Inclusion: Increasing awareness on potential refugee contribution to the welfare of host countries


    Diaspora Mobilization: Fostering the MENA diaspora’s economic and social engagement and strengthening networking among diaspora for development




    CMI Mediterranean Refugees and
    Host Communities Program
    [Compendium] Experiences in Hosting Refugees:
    Local Economic Development in Host Communities



    CMI Mediterranean Refugees and
    Host Communities Program
    [Compendium] Experiences in Hosting Refugees:
    Local Economic Development in Host Communities