COVID-19 pandemic particularly impedes essential consultations with stakeholders
(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is among faith-based, non-governmental and civil society organizations calling on the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General to extend the timeframe of the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, especially in view of “the myriad challenges” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint letter to Secretary-General António Guterres today, the 31 organizations, some of which represent several other networks, argue the panel “needs adequate time to hear directly from the internally displaced, States affected by internal displacement, and other stakeholders.”
A timely decision on the process, they write, would allow the different stakeholders to continue the consultations that are necessary in drawing up “relevant, practical and credible recommendations that reflect their concerns.”
The panel was established in October 2019 to develop concrete recommendations on long-term solutions to internal displacement for the UN and its agencies, the member states and other relevant stakeholders, while raising global awareness on the issue. The panel officially started its 12-month tenure in February 2020, and non-governmental and civil society organizations are requesting a seven-month extension until September 2021.
“The promise of the High-Level Panel process is in jeopardy due to circumstances beyond its control. Its work is too important to be rushed,” the organizations write. They assure Guterres of their commitment to engage with the panel and assist its work “energetically and constructively.”
The COVID-19 pandemic compounds the challenges faced by people who are internally displaced, host communities, and other stakeholders. Extending the panel’s timeframe will allow it to complete the much-needed consultations for its deliberations.
Explaining LWF’s strong support for the extension request, Global Humanitarian Coordinator Allan A. Calma underlined the panel’s unique role of articulating and making visible the issue of internal displacement. “The COVID-19 pandemic compounds the challenges faced by people who are internally displaced, host communities, and other stakeholders. Extending the panel’s timeframe will allow it to complete the much-needed consultations for its deliberations,” he added.
Support to internally displaced people is a critical component of LWF’s humanitarian and development work in countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.