in: Trialog (140/141), 4-9
As displacement is on the rise worldwide and protracted in many cases, cities and municipalities have become increasingly important for receiving and integrating displaced people. The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) adopted by the international community in 2018 acknowledges this and calls for related support for hosting countries and communities. In agreement with regional neighbours, refugee-hosting countries in the Global South, such as Kenya, are enhancing policies and opportunities for refugees' local integration in exchange for donor funding. In the Kalobeyei settlement in the country's marginalised Turkana West county, local economic and development planning are used as key devices for refugee integration. Drawing on extensive literature and other document review and semi-structured interviews with experts from local, national and international levels, this article is interested in how global norms are translated to local realities. It asks about the interests, alliances, resources and power of influential stakeholders as well as institutions driving the implementation of global policy frameworks on the ground. In Kenya, security interests and humanitarian funding shortages were key factors pressuring the national government to embrace local integration as a 'novel' approach to refugee management. The local government saw in it an opportunity to spur the development of a historically marginalised region. Against the background of persisting encampment and limited mobility of refugees in Kenya, local integration in practice is, however, partial and differs from conceptions underlying the GCR 'on paper'.