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Urban Displacement and Vulnerability in Peshawar (Pakistan)
By: SDPI

Partner: ODI

Duration: 2012 to May 2013

Locale: Peshawar

Team Member: Ashley Jackson

Introduction:

The population of Peshawar has roughly doubled since 1998 to about 3.3m people, and it has become one of the largest recipient cities for refugees and IDPs in South Asia. It is also one of the poorest cities; an estimated 29% of KP’s population lives in poverty. The government agencies charged with urban development have unclear mandates, inadequate resources and limited capacity to effectively manage Peshawar’s ongoing expansion. As the city has sprawled out beyond its originally intended limits, the state has not extended basic services and infrastructure accordingly. The study on Urban displacement examines the challenges of displacement in the context of rapid urbanization.

Objectives:

  • To improve the understanding of the drivers and consequences of displacement and the impact of displaced populations in Peshawar.
  • To analyze legal and policy frameworks for displaced populations, both refugees and IDPs, with regard to human rights, land and property, housing, protection and urban development.
  • To understand the protection threats faced by displaced populations, as how they seek to cope with them and how they compare with the threats faced by the resident urban poor
  • To identify how the aid community can better engage with and meet the needs of displaced people in Peshawar, and the implications for humanitarian and development policy and programming

Activities:

  • Primary data collection
  • Publication of a report on Urban Displacement and Vulnerability
  • Research based policy intervention

Findings

  • Many of the poor residents, whether displaced or not, face serious problems like sustainable livelihoods, access to basic services such as adequate shelter and sanitation, and physical security. The study finds that those living outside formal camps were often as poor as those residing in camps. Many IDPs choose to live outside the camps for cultural reasons (such as lack of privacy, especially for female family members), or because they are no longer allowed to reside there or receive other official assistance once their areas of origin are ‘de-notified’ or declared secure by the government.
  • The most serious challenges for the displaced are often related to their legal status and documentation. The lack of legal protection for refugees and IDPs makes them extremely vulnerable to threats and extortion. Decisions and policies for displaced populations are highly politicized and unpredictable, adding even greater uncertainty to the already precarious plight of the displaced in Pakistan.
  • Despite opportunities to start new livelihoods or expand existing ones, there are unique challenges in doing so for displaced populations. Both Afghans and IDPs reported that they find it difficult to access the initial capital needed. All the respondents reported to have faced problems in obtaining loans from banks and frequently borrowed from Pakistani or Afghan friends and relatives.

Recommendations:

  • Urgent support is needed to extend basic services and infrastructure to off-camp locations.
  • An overall plan and vision for the urban development of Peshawar is required to manage growth and to deliver this plan, partnership with the private sector should be explored.
  • The government should revise its registration guidelines and IDPs should be given logistical support throughout the registration process.
  • Donors must devote more resources to assist displaced populations in KP,  FATA, and IDPs.
  • After the introduction of new local government laws, donors should take the opportunity to engage with and support the provincial administration in addressing problems of urban governance, planning and displacement.
  • More focus should be given to long-term livelihood support, and skill development programmes in Peshawar. This could include skills and vocational training based on market research as well as a diversification of livelihood support to displaced populations and long-term residents.
  • Particular attention should be paid to livelihood support for displaced women in Peshawar.

External Publication:

http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8389.pdf