Responding to the challenge of displaced people

Australia is committed to responding to the long-term challenge posed by the world’s displaced people, including 22.5 million refugees and more than 40 million internally displaced people (Figure 6.5).

Figure 6.5 Global trends of displaced persons

Reporting Year Forcibly displaced worlwide (million)
2006 39
2007 43
2008 42
2009 43
2010 44
2011 43
2012 45
2013 51
2014 59
2015 65
2016 66

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 

Recognising the pressing need for stronger global support for displaced populations and to respond to natural disasters, Australia will increase its global humanitarian funding to more than $500 million a year. We will provide additional assistance to support displaced people as close to their homes as possible so they can return home when conditions allow. This is essential because permanent resettlement is available to only a fraction of the world’s displaced. Australia will continue to maintain one of the world’s most generous refugee resettlement programs.

Australia’s $220 million and $100 million three year commitments to the Syrian and Iraqi crises, for example, focus on providing humanitarian assistance, delivering employment opportunities and improving education. Australia also supports the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework trials in Uganda and Ethiopia, which are helping to equip refugees with skills and training.

At a time when traditional approaches are being overwhelmed, Australia is contributing to development of the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration, which are scheduled to be concluded in 2018.

The Refugee Compact seeks to enhance protections for refugees and displaced people, develop a better framework to deal with the protracted nature of displacement, and ease the burden of countries hosting large refugee populations. The Migration Compact seeks to improve the global governance of migration and reduce the vulnerabilities of migrants.

Australia works closely with a range of international organisations to protect and support refugees and displaced people, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Australia focuses strongly on protection efforts for women and girls and people with disabilities because they are particularly vulnerable during conflicts and natural disasters.

Australia also supports regional and international peacekeeping efforts to protect people affected by conflict. We have pledged to provide strategic airlift support for UN peacekeeping operations in crises and to build the capacity of troop contributing countries in our region. Beyond peacekeeping, Australia also contributes to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, which aims to prevent a return to conflict in countries at risk.