Strengthening knowledge, evidence use and leadership in the Global South on forced displacement - focus on Southeast Asia
Some 79.5 million people worldwide, mostly in the Global South, are forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, economic hardships, climate change and prolonged instances of political fragility. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Asia and the Pacific hosts 19% of the world’s refugee population and 55% of the world’s stateless population. Globally, Bangladesh and Pakistan are among the 10 countries with the largest refugee populations while Afghanistan and Myanmar are the third and fifth countries of origin (respectively) of refugees and asylum-seekers. Yet almost all of the research that influences policy and practice on forced displacement originates from researchers based in the Global North. Local knowledge from the Global South remains scant and underutilized. Existing research on displacement has also remained surprisingly gender-blind and has produced poor policy responses to improve gender equality.
This project seeks to overcome this deficit in local knowledge, use of evidence and leadership by establishing two inter-disciplinary research chairs on forced displacement in two major Asian universities with regional outreach. Both universities will join forces with the large community of international donors and civil society in Thailand, a major regional host of displaced populations, to promote greater gender equality and better solutions for displaced populations. The project will support research on the livelihoods of forcibly displaced peoples, in particular those at the Thai-Myanmar border and those displaced due to land grabbing and climate change in other parts of the Mekong region (Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnam). It will also produce gender research on displacement in neighbouring Bangladesh and the Mekong region while mentoring a new cohort of young Asian graduate students seeking to advance gender equality in the region.
This project is part of a five-year IDRC initiative on forced displacement that funds a total of eight research chairs in established universities in four different areas of the world (Middle East, East Africa, the Americas and Southeast Asia). The aim of the initiative is to empower southern-based universities to define local research agendas with practical, gender-responsive solutions to promote the social, economic and political rights of forcibly displaced persons and host communities in the Global South.