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Sustainability in refugee camps: A comparison of the two largest refugee camps in the world

"Although the refugee phenomenon is not new and refugee camps are rarely temporary, in most cases, the procedures implemented within refugee camps have failed to apply principles of sustainability to ensure refugees’ dignity and improve their quality of life, thereby helping them become independent and self-reliant. This improvement, in turn, may help them return to their homes in the future or may, at least, reduce the high cost and negative coping strategies associated with refugee camps and instead increase refugees’ social integration within the host community. This paper discusses the procedures applied in both the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya and provides evidence regarding the extent to which they meet the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without leaving refugees behind. Furthermore, this paper shows how sustainable development goals (SDGs) are interconnected in a refugee camp setting. This study concludes that refugee camps not only failed to align with 2030 agenda but failed to ensure refugees’ basic rights where a more inclusive and sustainable approach is required to improve the refugees’ quality of life and to help them live in dignity and reach self-reliance that can benefit both refugees and their host communities."
Mai Wardeh, Rui Cunha Marques
Case Studies