Strengthening knowledge, evidence use and leadership in the Global South on forced displacement – Focus on North Africa
North Africa is experiencing a forced displacement crisis, with a total of 16 million forcibly displaced and stateless people at the end of 2021 (UNHCR, 2022). The Sahel region presents several intersecting factors that are driving forced displacement in North Africa. The presence of non-state armed groups like al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, JNIM and Ansar al-Din are driving people from Mali, Burkina Faso and northern Nigeria from their homes. Climate-related factors such as drought and land conflicts between nomadic herders and farmers are also driving forced migration across North Africa. These displaced persons are being driven into contexts with systems that are not strong enough to manage the situation due to underfunding, limited policies related to protecting and monitoring these populations and insufficient attention to gender and gender-based violence. Host communities in North Africa are underequipped to take in displaced populations and this causes challenges and conflict between host and forcibly displaced populations.
To address these challenges, this project aims to establish a research chair on forced displacement studies at the Faculty of Governance, Economic and Social Sciences at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco. The proposed research chair program will focus on producing new knowledge on forced displacement challenges and solutions relevant to Morocco and the region, with a focus on the impact of climate change on forcibly displaced populations; the gender dimensions of forced displacement; and the legal and socio-economic considerations related to forced displacement. The chair will also mentor young scholars at the university and support the development of new curricula that focuses on migration, human rights and gender considerations in the context of forced displacement.
Leveraging their well-established network of government institutions, public policymaking and non-governmental organizations, the chair contribute to the institutionalization of forced displacement studies at the local, regional and continental level; bring together decision-makers, community leaders and representatives of forcibly displaced persons to debate important issues and develop actionable solutions to advance policymaking in the field; and promote gender equality, inclusiveness and diversity in decision-making in the context of forced displacement.