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Durable Solutions

Last updated: 07 Nov 2022


Durable Solutions represents an area of IOM’s work that is of increasing importance. The number of IDPs continues to rise due to manmade and natural disasters. In many contexts, prolonged crises have led to protracted displacement. This led the UN Secretary-General to create the High Level Panel on Internal Displacement in 2019 to examine these trends. The subsequent report from the Panel clearly states that “there is a critical imperative to scale up efforts to help IDPs to achieve durable solutions”. Operationalizing the 2010 IASC Framework on Durable Solutions is necessary to address the scale and complexity of displacement in today’s world and IOM is well placed to support this effort.

The IASC Framework on Durable Solutions covers three possible “solutions” – return, relocation or local integration – and offers criteria to determine when the solution has been met. One of the criteria is “enjoyment of an adequate standard of living without discrimination” which includes potable water, basic shelter and housing, healthcare, sanitation and education. Many of these factors can be addressed through activities that construct or rehabilitate public infrastructure and services.   

Durable Solutions, Public Infrastructure and Services 

Public infrastructure and service-related interventions are common across IOM programming. They typically involve “quick impact projects” or rehabilitation works in coordination with municipal functions of local government. This can be to improve services such as trash collection or to rehabilitate damaged electrical systems, water networks, or public infrastructure such as schools. While these activities are commonplace, investments must be made into how decisions are made of what public infrastructure or services are constructed or rehabilitated.   

Service mapping is a typical starting point for infrastructure-related interventions within durable solutions programming. This can take place from the perspective of IDPs by asking what barriers to solutions might be. Responses can help identify public services that are lacking in the area that will host the solution in the future. A lack of water and electricity might be a barrier to return, for example. Service mapping can also take place directly in the area hosting the solution and is typically done in coordination with local municipalities or service providers.   

As outlined further in this section, embedding decisions within a Community Based Planning (CBP) process can also greatly improve the longer-term sustainability of any service or infrastructure related intervention. CBP is a process-oriented approach that is inclusive and participatory. A series of dialogues with community members and key stakeholders are complemented by community-driven assessments that ultimately lead into Community Action Plans. Infrastructure and public services are oftentimes selected by the community in the final Action Plan, but the process in which such decision are made is just as important as the resulting investments in public infrastructure and services.   

Durable Solutions Overview 

IOM works to establish foundations for durable solutions through return, relocation, and local integration in accordance with the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons and IOM’s Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS), amongst others. According to these cornerstone documents, “A durable solution is achieved when IDPs no longer have specific assistance and protection needs that are linked to their displacement and such persons can enjoy their human rights without discrimination resulting from their displacement.  

A durable solution can be achieved through: 

  • Sustainable reintegration at the place of origin (hereinafter referred to as “return”); 
  • Sustainable local integration in areas where internally displaced persons take refuge  
  • (local integration); 
  • Sustainable integration in another part of the country (settlement elsewhere in the country).” 

IOM is increasingly assuming a leadership role on integrated and coordinated Durable Solutions programming in various country offices. While the initial understanding of IOM’s role on Durable Solutions was informed by the PRDS, an expanded number of toolkits are now being developed that offer practical steps to resolve internal displacement and allow communities to recover sustainably and engage in development pathways. 

Key Considerations

IOM's approach is guided by a set of key principles and considerations, which need to be reflected across any DS-related programme. This begins with recognizing that states are the prime duty-bearers and that IOM’s role is to support states to fulfil their responsibilities to protect and assist crisis-affected populations, including through measures that support recovery and durable solutions. It will also be important for IOM to support the freedom of choice of affected persons to identify appropriate solutions, including those that embrace mobility, and to facilitate a strong element of participation in designing and promoting (re)integration solutions. Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) emerges as a cornerstone framework in this regard. IOM will also need to recognize how individuals, households and communities transition from crisis to stability; support the modalities of this process, acknowledging that affected populations themselves are agents, enablers and drivers of their own resilience, recovery and development.  

Relevance to IOM’s Emergency Operations

To effectively support longer-term recovery and durable solutions objectives, IOM emergency responders will need to plan early for Durable Solutions-related initiatives to ensure that measures supporting return, reintegration or local integration are integrated into the emergency architecture wherever conditions permit. Such support should be included from the very beginning of crisis response and geared toward assisting affected populations, including host communities, to shift from a state of dependency toward incrementally achieving recovery and self-reliance.  


The IASC Durable Solutions Framework is considered the new way forward when it comes to resolving internal displacement. There is general recognition that the three solutions (return, reintegration and local integration) represent a way forward but tools that allow for operationalization of the three solutions are required to help address this gap.

The IOM Iraq Durable Solutions Toolkit (Vol. 1 Facilitated Voluntary Returns, 2021) includes four phases that cover in-camp activities, area of origin activities, the facilitation of departures and long-term support for achieving durable solutions. While tailored to the context of Iraq, this toolkit offers valuable contributions to the operationalization of Durable Solutions in situations of protracted displacement. Go and See Visits and Come and Tell Visits can be used to ensure that IDPs’ decisions are well-informed and voluntary. Data collection and analysis can be used for in-depth risk assessments that inform the overall process and ensure that conditions are sufficient for solutions to take place. And monitoring and evaluation systems must complement the longer-term nature of activities in order to ensure the viability of the solution.   

The Iraq Durable Solutions Toolkit builds on the broader PRDS Framework of IOM. Within this Framework, four programmatic pillars are used to support progression towards durable solutions. These include (1) protection, safety and security, (2) an adequate standard of living, (3) access to sustainable livelihoods and employment and (4) inclusive governance. All four programmatic pillars, in relation to (re)integration assistance, are elaborated upon in this entry.  

Finally, an approach that can help advance Durable Solutions in all contexts is inclusive, participatory, community-based assessment, planning and recovery, entitled Community Based Planning (CBP). CBP intends to complement both humanitarian response and development approaches by empowering those most impacted by crisis to define, own and drive recovery processes. It is a step-by-step process that allows for dialogue, community-level decisions and ultimately local development plans that durable solutions programming can feed into. 

Activities that IOM defines as related to Durable Solutions broadly include:  

  • Social, economic, infrastructure and basic services support to resolve displacement sustainably 
  • Pre-departure or post arrival assessment and preparedness for return, local integration or relocation 
  • Facilitated movement to pursue solutions 
  • Durable Solutions training, coordination and governance (inter-agency, governments) 
  • Community Based Planning and Recovery 
  • Restoration of housing land and property 
  • Advocacy for the application of standards 



Please contact the Transition and Recovery Division at: TRDCoreGroupHQ@iom.int.