Discussion Papers 2017

Local Integration as a Durable Solution? The Case of Rwandan Refugees in Uganda

Frank Ahimbisibwe, Bert Ingelaere and Sarah Vancluysen
IOB Discussion Paper 2017.02

Despite multiple attempts over the last 15 years, Uganda has been unable to find a durable solution for a group of approximately 17,000 Rwandan refugees living on its soil. The cessation of their refugee status has been repeatedly postponed and is about to come into effect at the end of December 2017. If invoked, Rwandan refugees will become illegal immigrants under Ugandan law and can face deportation. This paper argues instead that a policy facilitating local integration in the host country, even if not perfect, offers the best outlook for many Rwandan refugees currently residing in Uganda. In addition, taking into account the voices of these Rwandan refugees themselves, the paper analyses which obstacles still need to be overcome before local integration can be a real durable solution. Two suggestions are made. First, it is needed to move towards a situation of inclusive development for both refugee and host populations in order to guarantee socio-economic integration and avoid potential xenophobia and resentment. Second, Uganda’s conflicting laws need to be addressed in order for refugees to acquire citizenship, an essential dimension of local integration as a durable solution.

Water and local development in Huamantanga:  a pathway interpretation of opportunities and risks of the Law of Compensation and Reward Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services in Peru

Johan Bastiaensen, Patricia Velarde, Katya Pérez, Gert Van Hecken and Bert De Bièvre
IOB Discussion Paper 2017.01

Peru is one of the first countries in the world to introduce a specific law for the promotion and regulation of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). This ‘Law on Compensation and Reward Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services’ (MRSE-Law) mainly aims to protect and restore ecosystems that provide critical services to the Peruvian population, including hydrological services for year round water provisioning.  Since many of the water-related services are produced and affected by poor communities in the uplands of critical watersheds, the PES-arrangements under the MRSE-Law are also held to contribute to reduce poverty and exclusion of and within these communities. Through a case-study of an innovative water management initiative in the village of Huamantanga, which could potentially benefit from the new mechanisms under the MRSE-Law, this paper adopts a pathways perspective to study the risks and opportunities of a water-related PES-arrangement in line with the MRSE-Law. It shows how such an arrangement is inevitably articulated with and embedded within the on-going power-laden institutional bricolage that generates the currently dominant ‘alfalfa-cattle market pathway’, which tends to undermine peasant community control and increases privatization and social differentiation. This raises concerns about the ultimate impact of the proposed MRSE-project, which might end up dispossessing poorer local farmers from their access to the mountain pastures without providing adequate alternatives. However, the participatory and peasant-community based features of the incubating process and the flexible MRSE-legal provisions provide some opportunities to counterbalance this emerging risk.