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The nature of assistance provided to forced migrants has evolved over the years.  In the past, the humanitarian community tended to focus on emergency relief, or addressing the immediate needs of displaced persons such as food, water, shelter, and health care.  In the 1980s, attention shifted to a development approach, and to transitioning from short-term relief to longer-term development in a seamless kind of continuum.  This model assumed that the source of displacement would eventually end, and the recipients of assistance would eventually return home and rebuild their livelihoods.  Today, many argue that the relief-to-development continuum is less relevant in situations of complex emergencies, protracted crises, and involuntary resettlement.  Moreover, with fewer resources available for humanitarian assistance, greater emphasis is now being placed on adopting a livelihoods approach to enhance the productivity of forced migrants, promote greater self-reliance, and help people to either regain sources of living lost during displacement or to cultivate new ones.


This resource page complements Forced Migration Review, no. 20, the theme for which is “Sustainable Livelihoods: Seeds of Success?”.  The references below have been selected from Forced Migration Online (FMO), and include full-text documents, journal articles, web resources, and organizations.



Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the FMO Digital Library)


Journal articles

Selected articles (for more, search in FMO’s Journals section)


Web resources

Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)


Relevant Organizations

Contact details for relevant organizations (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)


creative commons logo (CC) BY-NC-ND This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Photograph of women exhibiting handicraft products at a refugee camp in Kenya.

Founding members of a plastic-recycling handicraft project in Hagadera camp, Dadaab, exhibit some of their products.
© UNHCR/K.McKinsey

Last updated Sep 06, 2011