The global refugee crisis is more pressing than ever, according to a report out last month from the United Nations Refugee Agency.
A record 68.5 million people were found to have been forcibly displaced at the end of 2017, the agency said. The causes of the issue are primarily conflicts in a handful of countries, experts said.
“To add to that, conflicts are not being resolved sufficiently quickly,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman for UNHCR told CNBC.
The total global displacement figures have been rising steadily for almost 20 years now, with initial figures approximately doubling since that time. Based on the current trend, the number is likely to continue rising, Edwards said. An increase in the ease of international travel has also allowed people to relocate more readily when threatened.
For now, however, the problem remains relatively localized: About two-thirds of the world refugee situation remains focused in five countries, Edwards said. What that implies is that a viable solution in any of those countries would dramatically change the global displacement situation.
“It’s important that people get real about what’s happening. This is not something that can be stopped without stopping conflict itself. People need to recognize where this is actually happening,” Edwards said.
Countries experiencing conflicts are also caught in a vicious cycle, as a mass exodus poses a disastrous effect on its economy by diminishing its workforce, its economic development and its opportunity for foreign investment, according to Pal Nesse, senior advisor at the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“With more international cooperation, the crisis can be solved,” Nesse said, adding: “We need to recognize that the total number is going up globally, and we need a division of responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, the responsibility of hosting refugees has been disproportionately borne by developing countries, Keane Shum from the UNHCR Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Bangkok told CNBC.
UN Refugee Agency: There is a single global refugee crisis and developing countries are rising to the occasion to extend a helping hand.
“85 percent of all refugees are hosted in developing countries, and these countries usually face significant environment and/or political challenges that are compounded by the refugee situation,” Shum said, adding that more equitable solutions should be implemented.