About the Project

The quest for an effective method to enable the shift from humanitarian interventions to long-term sustainable development for dealing with cases of protracted displacement is long-standing. The Government of Zambia and the United Nations (UN) in Zambia have together developed a Programme of Sustainable Resettlement, with the aim of: i) meeting the high ambitions and standards of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; ii) supporting the local integration of former Angolan and Rwandan refugees in Zambia into new communities in designated resettlement areas: and iii) supporting the local integration of youth in the Mwange resettlement scheme. This programme recognizes that successful local integration cannot be instant but must be planned and supported over time. Specifically, the program recognizes that the following transitions must be managed:

  1. the transition from the status of refugee to that of new permanent resident of Zambia (and possible future Zambian citizenship);
  2. the transition of lead responsibility in Government from the Officer of the Commissioner for Refugees under the Ministry of Home Affairs, to the Department for Resettlement in the Office of the Vice President;
  3. the transition of lead responsibility within the UN in Zambia from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with a humanitarian response, to a cross-UN approach led by the UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, supporting a long-term sustainable development approach;


This programme sets out the Sustainable Resettlement programme for Zambia and the necessary project elements for its implementation. This assistance programme is being developed soon after Zambia experienced a sad consequence of unplanned integration in urban areas, when refugees and migrants who had informally integrated in Lusaka townships for many years, became the subject of attacks on property and persons in a wave of rioting sparked by fears surrounding a series of unresolved ritualistic murders.  Forty-eight hours of aggression undid years of informal integration and peaceful coexistence, and over 800 refugees from different countries of origin were relocated from Lusaka back to the two refugee settlements (Meheba and Mayukwayukwa) where they were originally registered. This recent experience highlights the need for actors supporting local integration to make plans that are thoroughly considered, including from a human security perspective and well-coordinated in order to achieve long-term prosperity.

Based on the foregoing, the vision of this programme is that by 2021, communities living in the Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Mwange resettlement schemes are cohesive, productive, sustainable and fully integrated into development at all levels. Implementing this concept in the three very different resettlement schemes will require individualised approaches to bring about social, cultural and economic integration and cohesion both within each resettlement scheme and between each scheme and its surrounding communities. Particular attention will be needed to guard against social and cultural factors that may tend to exclude women from participating actively in planning and implementing resettlement activities. 

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