Wednesday, 29 June 2022

TRAFIG Synthesis Report \ Understand the needs of displaced people and identify solutions that last

Across the world, 16 million refugees and an unknown number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) experience long-lasting conditions of economic precarity, marginalization, rightlessness and future uncertainty. Their needs and preferences are widely ignored. The EU-funded project TRAFIG (Transnational Figurations of Displacement) investigated such protracted displacement situations and developed alternative solutions that are tailored to the capacities of displaced persons. In a “Synthesis Report” TRAFIG presents its final findings. Policy recommendations are presented in a “Policy Handbook”.

Research countries of the TRAFIG project. Map: TRAFIG \ BICC

“To address the problems of protracted displacement we need to better understand the factors shaping these difficult situations for refugees and IDPs. People must then stand at the heart of states’ responses”, Benjamin Etzold, coordinator of TRAFIG explains. The findings of TRAFIG’s empirical study in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Tanzania, Jordan, Pakistan, Greece, Italy and Germany show that besides humanitarian aid and protection also the relations between displaced people and hosts, as well as economic dynamics and political turbulences are of high importance for the living conditions of displaced people.

The results of the project clearly show the importance of refugees’ everyday interactions and livelihoods as well as networks and movements, the project coordinator concludes: “While they are not a panacea for all challenges, people's own connections are an essential resource for sustainable and long-term solutions to their precarious situation. They must not be ignored in policy responses to protracted displacement.” As the key message of TRAFIG’s “Synthesis Report” Benjamin Etzold phrases: “Understanding the needs and the local, translocal and transnational ties of displaced people is the foundation for finding solutions that last.”

Additionally, the TRAFIG policy handbook “Strengthening policy responses to protracted displacement” emphasises 10 key takeaways and respective recommendations from the empirical work including 3,000 interviews in 11 countries in Africa, Middle East and Europe. Among them the researchers give the following policy recommendations:

\         Address displacement proactively: Stakeholders must break with the common misconception that non-action and the containment of displaced persons can solve anything. Policymakers need to proactively address the situation of both displaced persons and receiving societies.

\         Provide solutions, not deterrence: The aim of regional and national laws, policies, and practices in relation to migration must be to secure fundamental rights and provide long-term solutions for displaced persons, not to deter them.

\         Ratify and apply existing frameworks: To avoid negative consequences of displacement like marginalisation and precarity, it is first and foremost necessary for states to ratify and apply global international protection conventions, and to collaborate in the spirit of the Global Compact for Refugees.

\         Strengthen refugees’ connections: Programmes should support refugees in maintaining and expanding their networks, whether they be formal or informal, personal or institutional – and local, national or transnational.

You will find TRAFIG Synthesis Report as pdf at

and TRAFIG Policy Handbook (pdf) at: TRAFIG-policy-handbook-web.pdf

All findings were published in the framework of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 research project “Transnational Figurations of Displacement” (TRAFIG) which investigates long-lasting displacement situations at multiple sites in Asia, Africa and Europe and analyses options to improve displaced people’s lives. To read more about the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project TRAFIG, click here.