The socio-economic consequences of Covid-19 globally and in Mashreq, and the educational outcomes of forcibly displaced and their hosts – three new publications.

Dear Colleague,

The socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19 are becoming apparent around the globe. Yet, still very little is known on the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable populations in the world so far, among which are those forcibly displaced and their host communities.

About 85 percent of those affected by forced displacement live in low- and middle-income countries which experienced a sudden and deep recession in 2020, with an uneven recovery predicted for 2021; this group of people were already vulnerable before the crisis, in diverse conditions, and largely invisible in official statistics.

The Joint Data Center has conducted a review of the existing evidence about the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those affected by forced displacement, including refugees and internally displaced persons and host communities. The results of this exercise are presented in a paper called “Highly vulnerable yet large invisible – the consequences of the COVID-induced recession on forced displacement”. The paper highlights how investments are urgently needed for strengthened evidence-based humanitarian and development responses to improve the lives of FDPs and their host communities during the pandemic.

The paper also indicates how reliable empirical evidence on the effects of COVID-19 on the forcibly displaced is still very scant. Nonetheless, a number of new studies are starting to provide new data and analyses. One example is a newly released study called “Compounding misfortunes – Changes in Poverty since the onset of COVID-19 on Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Jordan, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Lebanon”. This is a joint World Bank-UNHCR report, funded by the JDC, focused on the Mashreq region. Using simulations based on data from Syrian Refugees and Host Community Surveys in 2016, it estimates that the impact on poverty levels since the onset of the pandemic is very significant, with some1.7 million hosts and 840,000 refugees in Lebanon alone having fallen below the international poverty line.

Even without taking into account the effects of the pandemic, forced displacement is always a disruptive event which damages the social, labour market and educational trajectories of those affected. It is estimated that around 40 percent of those forcibly displaced around the world are children below the age of 18 years. For them, the disruption in their educational experience risks severely hindering their future socioeconomic perspectives. We devote our second issue of the JDC Quarterly Digest Series to a stock-take of recent evidence on the relation between forced displacement and the educational outcomes of both those forcibly displaced and children in the host communities. The Digest, whose introductory part was authored by Dina Abu-Ghaida and Karishma Silva (World Bank), highlights three salient themes:

a) Forced displacement impacts schooling and learning for internally displaced persons, refugees and host communities, but affects each group differently;

b) Second, when coupled with strong government and international community response, these effects can be mitigated and present opportunities for improved education outcomes;

c) inclusive national systems provide the most sustainable, cost-effective policy response to the education challenges presented by forced displacement.

We are pleased to announce that the JDC is currently looking for a Senior Data Scientist. Interested candidates are invited to read the job description and submit their application; the closing date is 28 December 2020 (midnight Geneva time).

As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions on the Newsletter, for future editions of the Quarterly Digest or papers to be included in the Literature Review Update. Please don’t hesitate to contact Zara Sarzin ([email protected]) or Domenico Tabasso ([email protected]) directly. Also consider answering this anonymous survey on our knowledge dissemination efforts. We appreciate your feedback!

As we approach the end of 2020, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you and your families a happy and safe New Year on behalf of the whole JDC Team. We will be back in 2021 with more of the latest on data and evidence on forced displacement.

Yours sincerely,

Björn Gillsäter
Head of the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement