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|2019 year-end results|
|271,600||refugees from the CAR were registered|
|13,600||Nigerian refugees were enrolled in primary school.|
|10,000||emergency shelter kits were provided to benefit some 58,200 IDPs in the North-West and South-West Regions.|
|1,600||new shelters were constructed for refugees from the CAR, including more than 340 for vulnerable households using a cash-based intervention approach (vouchers for construction materials)|
|2020 planning figures|
|20,000||refugees from CAR will get information on conditions of return and on return plans|
|9,000||IDPs will receive identity documents|
|4,000||refugees from CAR will receive production kits or inputs for agriculture, livestock and fisheries activities|
|3,000||stateless persons will be assisted with civil status registration or documentation|
|28||Nigerian refugee households will have access to alternative or renewable energy|
People of Concern
Operational contextThere was a resurgence of violence in the North-West and South-West Regions of the country in 2019, resulting in the burning of villages, the displacement of thousands of people and the death of hundreds more. The Government of Cameroon responded by organizing a national dialogue to find solutions to the crisis.
In the Far North Region, Boko Haram’s active presence prevented IDPs from returning to their places of origin and drove refugees from Nigeria to seek security in Minawao camp.
In March 2019 a protocol agreement was signed with the Government of Cameroon to organize the sharing of personal data of refugees and asylum-seekers to support the monitoring of the repatriation process. The peace agreement, signed in February in the Central African Republic (CAR), paved the way for the signing of a tripartite agreement for the voluntary repatriation of refugees from the CAR in June 2019.
At the global level, Cameroon made four major pledges at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019, and another four in December at the Global Refugee Forum pertaining to the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in the national health and education systems, their access to legal employment and the preservation of their social rights and benefits.
Population trendsAs of 31 December 2019, Cameroon was host to approximately 1.7 million people of concern, including some 950,300 IDPs (679,400 in the two English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West, and 270,900 in the Far North Region).
Some 292,800 refugees from the CAR were hosted across the country, in addition to some 110,600 Nigerian refugees in the Far North Region.
Over 150 people of concern were resettled in the United States of America, and some 600 individuals were identified for resettlement.
Some 3,300 refugees from the CAR were assisted to return; over 100 Nigerian refugees were assisted to return to Nigeria; and some 160 urban refugees of various nationalities were assisted to return to their countries of origin.
- Some 1,900 Nigerian refugees were trained on accessing energy sources, including over 300 women trained in producing briquettes and improving clay stoves; and 100 young people trained on the collection and sorting of biomass.
- The successful pass rate of urban refugee children was 60% at primary school level, 76% at secondary school level.
Unmet needsA range of challenges was experienced by the operation in responding to the needs of people of concern. The most critical challenge was the decrease funding. In 2019, the operation’s overall budget was about 90.1 million, but only 67% was funded by the end of the year. This resulted in:
- Limited access to education and health care for all people of concern.
- Lack of birth certificates, preventing children from accessing education and health services.
- Lack of resources to expand biometric registration for out-of-camp refugees.
- Insufficient cash-based interventions to benefit IDPs with specific needs.
- Lack of funding to support construction and/or rehabilitation of community infrastructure in IDPs hosting locations.
- Inability to provide emergency shelter assistance to ‘self-settled’ IDPs in urban, peri-urban and safe rural locations, especially for women and other people with specific needs.
- Lack of financial assistance to support voluntary repatriation.
Working environmentThe operational environment in Cameroon is shaped by the ongoing instability in neighbouring countries and, therefore, the increased refugee influx to Cameroon is expected to continue in 2019. However, following return intention surveys carried out in June 2018 in the sites and host areas of refugees from the Central African Republic, and upon seeing relative improvement in certain areas of origin along the border with Cameroon, possible returns are now being envisaged.
Cameroon has a long history of providing asylum to refugees. There are some 700,000 people of concern to UNHCR in Cameroon, among whom 323,000 refugees, including Nigerians in the Far North, Central Africans in the Eastern border regions, and refugees of different nationalities in urban centres. The presence of large numbers of refugees is exacerbating pre-existing infrastructural challenges, resulting in increased fragility and potential risk to social cohesion in affected areas; a risk amplified by increasing pressure on the natural environment and scarce natural resources. Access to basic services is limited, rates of identity documentation and birth certificates are lower than national averages and the refugee-hosting regions (East, Adamaoua, North and the Far North) are largely isolated from the rest of the country.
The operation will continue to promote and build on effective partnerships with stakeholders as identified in the multi-year, multi-partner (MYMP) 2018-2020 strategy. The development of the 2019 partnerships and protection strategy was attended by 96 participants of 53 diverse organisations including key refugee representatives, as well as members of the Government, donor agencies, current implementing partners and operational partners, both at national and international level.
UNHCR will continue to coordinate refugee issues with partners at the different coordination platforms including the UNCT, UNPMT, multi-sectoral teams within the OCHA coordination mechanisms. UNHCR leads the protection as well as the shelter and NFI sector within the country multisector working groups and is an active member of the cash working group.
UNHCR will continue to participate in the UNDAF strategy and ensure inclusion of refugee interests. In this light, the operation will ensure the operationalisation of the Humanitarian Response Plan, mainstreaming of refugee chapter in the Humanitarian Needs Overview, and participate in joint assessment and funding appeals involving internally displaced people and other people of concern.
Key prioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- reinforcing and diversifying partnerships with development actors, international financial institutions —including the World Bank and the African Development Bank— and private sector actors, and most importantly, to deepen its engagement with government counterparts regarding the management of all refugee-related matters.
- completing the capacity building of the Governement in order to handover to the leadership and the ownership of RSD, registration and documentation process.
- empowering and including refugees and other people of concern in the programme management process and provide protection and multi-sector assistance taking into account the age, gender and diversity specificities. It will enhance the implementation of cash-based interventions in sectors and areas where protection risks are minimal and opportunities exist, such as education and livelihood.
- strengthening the strategic alliance with the World Bank in Cameroon and ensure the expected allocation of funds for refugees and refugee-hosting areas under the International Development Association plan for 2019-2021 is in line with UNHCR’s humanitarian efforts in the country. UNHCR will also work to maintain its partnership with the African Development Bank that has contributed funds to activities in 2015-2017 for the humanitarian response of CAR and Nigerian refugees.