The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) build on the commitment of all countries to ‘leave no one behind’. This global, inclusive pledge corresponds closely with the mission of Danish Refugee Council (DRC), and that is why it is natural for us to support the SDGs in our work.
Today, refugees and displaced people are among those that are furthest away from reaching the SDGs’ targets and aspirations. In DRC, we want to work to reduce this gap moving towards 2030 – as the refugees’ spokesperson, through positive action and through involvement in strategic partnerships.
If we do not improve the situation for refugees and displaced people and ensure sustainable solutions for conflict-affected countries, we will not achieve the SDGs for everyone.
In DRC, we have mapped how we contribute to the sustainable development goals. The mapping shows that our work has a positive influence on almost all of the goals, but a greater positive impact on these five goals:
Refugees and displaced persons are left behind economically when losing their jobs, livelihoods, assets and land. The longer displacement continues, the greater the risk that displaced persons lose skills to be self-reliant. In stead, they become vulnerable to economic exploitation and dependent on humanitarian aid. The DRC works to decrease this gap by offering emergency aid and long-term solutions such as income generation and ensuring equal access to social rights.
Refugees and displaced persons are behind the education curve. Every second refugee is a child below the age of 18. Losing their access to education and being met by language barriers and, at times, discrimination in new school systems establish a great risk of a lost generation. DRC advocate for inclusion in the education system and support the capacity and ability of host communities to include displaced persons, so that no generation is left behind.
SDG 5 reaffirms commitments under international law to empower women and girls, including the elimination of discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV). During displacement and humanitarian crises, pre-existing patterns of gender discrimination and vulnerabilities are exacerbated, placing women and girls at disproportional risks. The DRC is committed to promoting gender equality through humanitarian action, and our work addresses the gender-specific barriers and challenges, experienced by women and girls throughout all phases of displacement.
Refugees and displaced persons are far behind on the labour market as the effect of displacement leaves them with a natural disadvantage compared to the host population. Reducing this gap will result in displaced persons quicker becoming a resource in their new environments with the ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and society as a whole. The DRC works to secure equal access to the labour market, and create sustainable, decent jobs for displaced and host community members. This is done in close collaboration with private sector partners.
Refugees and displaced persons are in need of protection and access to basic human rights. The root causes of displacement are human rights violations, risk of persecution, conflict, poor governance and loss of livelihoods. If rule of law, peace and strong institutions were present everywhere, and if human rights were respected, there would be no displacement. Therefore, the DRC works with partners to promote respect for human rights, strengthen the governance capacity of local and national authorities and build inclusive, sustainable livelihoods. Progress on SDG 16 is critical for the prevention of future displacement and for ending current displacement.