Colombia recently announced it will give temporary protection status to a million undocumented Venezuelan refugees, with permission to live and work in the country for 10 years. In doing so, it created a new model for managing its own refugee situation and perhaps others elsewhere.
Over the past decade, an average of 21.5 million people annually have been forced to move due to the impacts of extreme weather. Building an understanding of the intersection between climate change, migration, and security is crucial and should take into account that many who face the most direct impacts of climate change are already among the most vulnerable.
As of 2020, a full 1 percent of humanity is living in displacement—as refugees, internally displaced persons, or asylum-seekers—because of conflict or persecution. The world's existing strategies for managing the displaced are no longer sufficient, but the next U.S. administration has an opportunity to lead the world in creating a new way forward.
Without a formal peace agreement that commits to safety for returnees and creates a foundation for investment in Syria's demolished infrastructure, Syrians will not go home. They fear returning because of reports of returnees being arrested, imprisoned, and tortured.
Young Syrian women refugees face enormous challenges in finding meaningful work in host countries, with many relying on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs. How can employment obstacles be addressed for young Syrian women refugees in a post–COVID-19 environment?
The recent explosion in Beirut has again led to calls for political and economic reforms in Lebanon. The country has an economy in crisis, corruption, few job opportunities, and an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Sustained global investment is needed if Lebanon is to recover over the long run.
In June, the U.S. government announced the implementation of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act with a flurry of sanctions against 39 people and entities connected with the Assad regime. There is much more to come. Syria, and Russia and Iran, have not yet felt the Caesar Act in full force.
Having escaped conflict and persecution, refugees now risk illness and death from COVID-19. That risk is heightened by a policy regime that focuses largely on refugees in camps, not the almost two-thirds who live in urban areas. But the crisis could provide an opportunity to reform a broken system for the benefit of refugees and host countries alike.
Nearly 71 million people globally are displaced by conflict and persecution. There have been some real advances in technology to help them, but innovations have often been fragmented, without a larger vision. A more strategic approach to technology could better serve their needs.
Active fighting in Syria is dwindling. But Syria remains divided in a frozen conflict and empty peace, unstable and unlikely to attract the investment in reconstruction, public institutions, job creation, and local reconciliation efforts needed to motivate Syrians in large numbers to return home.
The influx of refugees escaping the war in Syria has placed an enormous economic burden on the countries that host them. Despite the challenges, host countries have an opportunity to capitalize on the presence of refugees to grow their own economies for the mutual benefit of all.