TRAFIG Policy Handbook Strengthening policy responses to protracted displacement


Published May 2022


Displacement is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. At the end of 2020, more than 82 million people across the globe were categorised as forcibly displaced, whether remaining within their countries of origin or having crossed an international border. If this group were a country, it would rank 20th in the world in terms of population, right after Germany. An increasing number of refugees – 16 million in 2020, or 4 million more than in 2016 – find themselves in a long-term situation of vulnerability, dependency, and legal insecurity, lacking, or actively denied, opportunities to rebuild their lives. Such situations are termed ‘protracted displacement’. While not captured in these statistics, internally displaced persons (IDPs) may also find themselves in situations of protracted displacement. While the protracted nature of many conflicts is a critical contributing factor, there is considerable room for improvement in policies and practices to more effectively address protracted displacement.

This is where the EU-funded Transnational Figurations of Displacement (TRAFIG) research project has aimed to contribute. Undertaking more than 2,700 interviews with displaced persons, policymakers, and practitioners in 11 countries across the Middle East, East Africa, and Europe, the TRAFIG project investigated the reasons why people end up in protracted displacement situations and what coping strategies they use, thus identifying possible courses of action for policymakers.

This handbook shares 10 takeaways for strengthening policy responses to protracted displacement that have emerged from this endeavour, with empirical examples and policy recommendations, as well as a non-exhaustive list of promising practices for inspiration. These 10 points centre on the TRAFIG project goal of identifying solutions that are better tailored to the needs and capacities of displaced persons.

People First – New Solutions to the Challenge of Displacement

Policy Brief

Published March 2022


More than 82 million people – equal to the population of Germany – are forcibly displaced across the globe. An increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons are living in long-term situations of vulnerability, dependency, and legal insecurity. This is despite the fact that every displaced person has the capacity and resources to build a new future in displacement, but is rarely given the chance to do so by current aid, development, and migration policies. This policy brief makes the case for a paradigm shift towards a people-centred approach to displacement policy that 1) considers the human capital and social networks of displaced people and 2) enables them to use and further develop their potential, including through mobility. As the world’s most powerful countries, the G7 are well positioned to play a game-changing role in reducing the scale of global displacement. This brief suggests ways that G7 countries can take a global leadership role in reframing the search for solutions by:

  • promoting displaced people’s professional expertise so they can make better use of their skills;
  • strengthening human capital by promoting education and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • leveraging the power of family networks so that its easier for them to support one another; and
  • scaling up support for the most vulnerable individuals.
Integration of Ukrainian refugees: The road ahead

Released 08 March 2022

Over 2 million people have fled across Ukraine’s borders following Russia’s invasion on 24 February. Right now, attention is understandably focused on their entry and reception. But soon the EU will need to consider how to best help these newcomers settle in. Last week’s activation of the Temporary Protection Directive gives (mainly) Ukrainians the right to access key integration-related services and employment. National administrations now face an enormous challenge to make such access a reality.

Trafig Networks and mobility: A case for complementary pathways

Policy Brief

Published March 2022

TAPPING INTO GLOBAL TALENT - Many returned home during the pandemic – can they be convinced to stay?

Released 02 February 2022

European emigrants have been among those returning home during the pandemic. COVID-19 presents an important window of opportunity for origin countries to retain some of this returned talent.