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Project News: First annual review of the TRAFIG project

15 May 2020

The first year of implementation of the Horizon 2020 Transnational Figurations of Displacement (TRAFIG) research project received an encouraging review by the donor, the European Commission.

People living in protracted displacement situations are highly vulnerable, facing challenges that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19-pandemic. The phenomenon of protracted displacement not only creates immense suffering among those who had to flee, it also poses major political and operational challenges for receiving countries and EU member states, humanitarian and development actors and donors. Instead of offering “durable solutions” as a top-down approach, research partners from Europe, Africa and Asia designed the innovative TRAFIG project to develop a better understanding of protracted displacement through the experiences and the agency of displaced people themselves.

The project started in January 2019 and aims to show how the creation and maintenance of mobility and connectivity across translocal links can enable or assist displaced populations to better cope with protracted displacement. The recent first annual review by the European Commission welcomes this approach. It can help to generate policies which can provide more sustainable responses to displacement than the current triad of so-called durable solutions. In this sense, the project’s theoretical framework and its policy implications are very well articulated, the review highlights. According to the review, the project publications provide ‘lively, fresh and nuanced insights’ on the topic. ICMPD will continue to work with its partners to translate field research findings into recommendations for policy and practice.

At the moment, the Covid-19 pandemic affects joint research on the ground in the project countries (Ethiopia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jordan, Pakistan, Italy, Greece and Germany). All partner research institutes have to cope with the health crisis and with the lockdown. According to Benjamin Etzold, the project’s scientific coordinator, the positive evaluation by the EU is very encouraging for TRAFIG and all partners are eager to continue our research. The global coronavirus crisis reveals the centrality of social networks and mobility— two core themes in the project— in all people’s lives. Thus, in the coming months, an analysis of the impacts of both the pandemic and the mobility restrictions on people in protracted displacement situations will also be included.

More information on the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project TRAFIG, can be found here.