Forced displacement causes Africa significant loss of human potential: UN official

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-23 21:46:02|Editor: xuxin
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ADDIS ABABA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Forced displacement caused African countries a "significant loss of human potential" as the continent hosts the largest forced displaced population globally, experts and policymakers said on Thursday.

They said this as part of the latest edition of the African Dialogue Series (ADS-2019), which is being held with the overarching theme of "Towards Durable Solutions for Forcibly Displaced Persons in Africa," the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) revealed in a statement on Thursday.

The ECA stressed that the three-day African Dialogue Series aspires on finding durable solutions to Africa's migration problem.

"Forced displacement is a growing burden on the continent's economy, environment and communities which host those displaced," the statement read.

The African Dialogue Series bring together a wide range of actors towards finding ways to deal with the issue of displacement, including representatives of African countries, the AU, high-level UN officials, representatives from civil society organizations, the ECA, and the private sector, it was noted.

"Africa is home to over 24 million forcibly displaced persons, representing one-third of the world's total. Forced displacement is not only a tale of human tragedy, it also poses a real threat to achieving peace, prosperity and development," the statement quoted Bience Gawanas, the UN's Special Adviser on Africa.

According to Gawanas, "vast amount of resources are spent on forced displacement" mainly caused by conflict and natural disasters.

He further noted that forced displacement "diverts vital funds away from critical areas with potentially greater impact for sustainable development in Africa."

Forcible displacement bear a far greater impact on Africa as it contributes to "a significant loss of human potential, with highly skilled and educated people unable to use their skills in meaningful ways," the special adviser argued.

"These are brainpowers that could be harnessed in service of Africa to address some of the intractable problems facing the continent," Gawanas said, adding "This is a loss to society."

The special adviser also stressed the vital contribution of ADS, as one of the several activities being organized throughout 2019, "to raise global awareness of the challenge of forced displacement."

On Wednesday, the ECA had urged African countries and pan African institutions to find lasting solutions to forced displacement in Africa as the continent commemorates Africa Day on Saturday.

Africa Day, which is annually commemorated on May 25, marks the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of African Union (AU) and its legacies to the betterment and unity of Africa.

According to the ECA, conflicts, human rights violations, natural disasters, serious public health problems, and humanitarian crisis are potential causes of forced displacement across the African continent.

The ADS-2019 - organized by the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, in collaboration with the AU, the AU Development Agency, the ECA, as well as various other UN agencies - is underway from May 21 to 23 at the UN Headquarters in New York.