Social protection and forcibly displaced people: a literature review

The evidence from the literature reviewed, from countries hosting the largest numbers of protracted forcibly displaced populations, where international humanitarian and development actors have been engaged in the response, suggests that IDPs and refugees often lack de facto access to state social protection.

  • There is very little discussion in the publicly available literature of refugees’ inclusion in state social protection programmes. Access to the formal labour market for refugees varies considerably across contexts. There is some evidence of inclusion of IDPs in state social assistance programmes, but limited literature was found on their de facto inclusion in social insurance programmes.
  • There is some evidence of alignment/integration between state social protection systems and humanitarian cash programmes. Some states are coordinating with and learning from the humanitarian sector on social assistance programme management and delivery. This is particularly evident in the Syrian regional response.
  • There is a lack of evidence on decision-making processes and reasons for adopting certain levels of alignment/integration. Overall, the literature does not include sufficient detail on why certain integration approaches were adopted.
  • More research is needed on what works to ensure more inclusive social protection. More research is needed on what adjustments or reforms should be adopted. While this can build on the evidence available on shock-responsive and adaptive social protection, there should be clear recognition of the unique situation of forcibly displaced populations.