Integration of internally displaced persons in Ukraine remains a challenge
About 1.3 million conflict-induced internally displaced persons (IDPs) were registered across the country by the Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP) in March 2019. Despite a national strategy on the integration of IDPs and finding long-term solutions, many IDPs still face significant challenges to integrate into local communities.
The latest survey on IDPs undertaken by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reveals that as of December 2018, only half of IDPs reported to have been integrated into local communities, citing that housing, regular income and employment were the main conditions for their integration.
According to the survey, conducted every quarter, IDP households continue to suffer from general economic insecurity. Average monthly income per IDP household member was considerably lower compared to Ukrainian households (apprx. US$92 vs. $166) and still lower compared to the actual subsistence level, which is US$128, calculated by MSoP. Over 50 per cent of surveyed IDPs noted that they still rely heavily on government support, followed by pension and social assistance as source of income, demonstrating the lack of full-fledged programmes at the community level for their self-sufficiency. At the time of the survey (December 2018), 51 per cent of IDPs assessed their financial situation as having “enough funds only for food,” or “having to limit their expenses even for food,”, which is a 7 per cent increase compared to December 2017.
After years of internal displacement, durable solutions are still elusive for many IDPs in Ukraine. In late 2018, the Government of Ukraine developed an action plan to implement the national IDP strategy. While this is ground-breaking work, and indication of the commitment that the Government of Ukraine has towards IDPs, the results of the latest survey, demonstrate that the plan has not been fully translated into concrete actions, particularly at oblast and local levels.
The findings of the Report on Regional IDP Integration Programmes in Ukraine reveal the need to link national programmes with local context; and to increase the capacities of local authorities on the integration of IDPs into communities. Professor Walter Kaelin, a global IDP expert, will travel to Kharkiv and Dnipro in June 2019 to help strengthen local capacities and to contribute to addressing some of the challenges of IDP integration.