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|2020 year-end results|
|12,650||emergency shelter kits were distributed|
|2,784||durable homes in the Tillabery and Diffa regions were built|
|2,384||protection incidents were registered in Tillabery, Tahoua, Maradi and Diffa|
|1,505||survivors of gender-based violence were assisted|
|281||refugees evacuated through the Emergency Transit Mechanism programme from Libya were resettled to Niger|
|2021 planning figures|
|13,400||Malian and Nigerian refugee households will receive land allocations for shelter in the Tillabery, Tahoua, Maradi and Diffa’s regions|
|2,400||Nigerian refugee households will be moved to safe locations in Maradi’s region (villages d’opportunité)|
|100%||of people of concern will be registered on an individual basis|
|100%||of people of concern identified as in need of resettlement will be submitted for resettlement under the Emergency Transit Mechanism and other complementary pathways|
People of Concern
Operational contextThe humanitarian situation in Niger rapidly deteriorated in 2020, mirroring the regional instability affecting Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Chad and Libya. Attacks in neighbouring countries and increasing violence in border regions prompted significant cross-border populations movements, as well as internal displacement, notably in the Tillabery, Tahoua, Maradi and Diffa regions. As a result, the number of people of concern increased by 23% over the course of 2020.
The volatile security situation and the nature of the asymmetric conflict made access to vulnerable populations in emergency areas extremely difficult. Moreover, lack of funding presented another major obstacle, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the security crisis, and protection activities significantly reduced.
Despite the complex context, UNHCR worked closely with the Government of Niger and other key partners to continue delivering protection and assistance, while offering innovative solutions to people of concern.
Population trendsNiger is following an alternatives-to-camp approach, with an increasing number of refugees and IDPs residing in informal settlements and within host communities. In 2020, the number of people under UNHCR’s mandate increased by 23% to reach 573,193 people of concern.
The number of displaced people in the Diffa region remained stable but was affected by secondary and tertiary movements which created new needs. The Maradi region saw IDPs for the first time (17,262 by the end of the year) and also saw the number of refugees increase by 20%, with many still awaiting registration.
In the Sahel regions of Tillabery and Tahoua, internal displacement numbers rose by over 40%, reaching 138,229 IDPs by year end. The number of Malian refugees, mostly coming from Northern Mali to Intikane (Tahoua region) increased slightly. People of concern from Burkina Faso also settled in border areas in the Tillabery region.
Heavy floods during the rainy season in Niger displaced over 40,000 individuals over the months of August and September 2020.
Key achievementsNiger continued to provide life-saving protection, assistance and long-term solutions to extremely vulnerable refugees trapped in detention in Libya, through the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM). In total, 281 refugees evacuated through the ETM were resettled to Niger.
Moreover, UNHCR pursued its alternative-to-camp approach for both Malian and Nigerian refugees, in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions respectively.
UNHCR advocated for the inclusion of displaced communities in the COVID-19 national response plan, with many working on the frontlines through a nation-wide scale up of soap and mask production.
The refugee camps of Mangaize and Tabareybarey were closed and their residents relocated to Ouallam and to urbanized areas of Ayorou, respectively.
The Office ensured that people of concern were included in development plans and expanded its partnerships with development actors.
Unmet needsThe COVID-19 pandemic and the security situation affected access to populations in need. Many schools were forced to closed, leaving refugee and IDP children alike without access to education.
Maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of the IDPs sites remained a key concern. Peaceful coexistence projects needed to be strengthened, with lack of basic social infrastructure in IDP-hosting communities an important concern.
The total number of unregistered IDPs, refugees in the Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua and Tillaberi region remained important.
Additional human and financial resources were needed to strengthen the Niger-Burkina border through community-based protection mechanisms, such as community monitors.
The relocation of refugees in both Tahoua and Tillaberi regions from the border to safe sites remained a priority. However, additional funding to cover the logistics of such an operation, as well as investments to facilitate integration in the new hosting areas to cover shelter, core relief items and other basic needs, could not be secured.
In the ETM Hamdallaye transit centre, the replacement of refugee housing units with permanent structures could not be completed due to lack of resources, leaviang refugees and asylum-seekers to remain housed in transitional shelters.
Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)With the help of flexible funding, UNHCR built three isolation centers in Niamey, Tahoua and Maradi, providing 180 beds/places to contain the spread of possible positive COVID-19 cases and support the public health care response.
In 2020, over 1,200 mostly Sudanese refugees and asylum-seekers were accommodated at the humanitarian center near Agadez. Thanks to flexible funding, the center was supplied with fully functioning health services, community hangars for recreation, community kitchens, community latrines, shower blocks and a working space for partners.
Nigerian refugees who settled in volatile areas in the Niger-Nigeria border were relocated to safe opportunity villages in the Maradi region where they had access to basic social services and jobs.
The promotion of social inclusion and economic integration of refugees continued throughout the country, through activities in the field of agriculture, livestock development, trading and service delivery, targeting refugees and host communities alike.
Working environmentForced displacement in Niger continues due to security incidents related to the activities of armed groups, including terrorists and bandits, in the border areas with Burkina Faso, Mali and north-east Nigeria. Insecurity hinders access to the populations of concern and is likely to persist in the coming months, with anticipated new and secondary displacements.
Despite this complex security context, the authorities are showing a strong commitment to their international engagements and a real ability to combine security, asylum and search for solutions. UNHCR is implementing innovative interventions, such as the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) used to save the lives of refugees in detention in Libya while the urbanization programme provides Nigerian and Malian refugees with access to land for housing. Refugees in Niger benefit from freedom of movement and access to services at par with nationals. The commitment of the Government of Niger for refugees took an additional dimension in 2019 with the beginning of the implementation of a joint project designed to support the socio-economic integration of refugees by the Government of Niger, with support from the World Bank and UNHCR. Coordination is carried out with a situation-specific approach, in line with the Refugee Coordination Model.
The favorable protection environment in Niger and the joint UNHCR-Government of Niger solution-oriented strategy is strengthening partnerships with development actors, donors, UN agencies and NGOs.
Key prioritiesIn 2020, UNHCR will focus on:
- Maintaining and strengthening a favorable protection environment
- Maintaining the ETM;
- Ensuring an emergency response capacity while improving the access to basic social services for refugees;
- Closing the three Malian refugee camps of Tillabery by 2020 through an urbanization programme, the construction of social houses and the construction of one-stop-shop for basic and protection services;
- Continuing the urbanization and construction of the social housing programme in the Diffa region;
- Strengthening the partnership framework to implement the joint solution and nexus-oriented vision with the Government, development actors, donors, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector.