Introducing a Related Project: TRAFIG - Transnational Figurations of Displacement

Connectivity and Mobility as Solutions to Protracted Refugee Situations

New international research project looking into Transnational Figurations of Displacement

Between 2000 and 2018, the world witnessed a threefold increase of the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs)—from a total number of 22.8 million to 70.8 million. In 2018 alone, 13.6 million people were newly displaced—both within their countries and across borders—due to armed conflicts, human rights violations and oppressive regimes. While global displacement grew, repatriation, resettlement and local integration only provide a sustainable solution for a small number of affected people. UNHCR estimates that there were about 15.9 million refugees who had been in exile for five consecutive years or more in a given asylum country by the end of 2018, thus living in protracted refugee situations. This corresponds to three-quarters of all refugees. The total number of people in protracted displacement is, however, far higher. Yet, there are no comparable figures on long-lasting displacement of IDPs.

TRAFIG (Transnational Figurations of Displacement) is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 research and innovation project. From 2019 to 2021, 12 partner organisations are investigating long-lasting displacement situations at multiple sites in Asia, Africa and Europe and options to improve displaced people’s lives. The project aims to generate new knowledge to help develop solutions for protracted displacement that are tailored to the needs and capacities of persons affected by displacement.

Five key themes

  • 1 | Asylum policies and humanitarian aid

    How do displaced people manage to navigate through the complex legal and administrative systems of aid and asylum?

  • 2 | Everyday lives and livelihood strategies

    How do displaced people sustain their living in long-lasting situations of existential uncertainty and insecurity?

  • 3 | Transnational connectivity and mobility

    How do connections and networks beyond the current place of residence affect the lives of displaced people and their mobility?

  • 4 | Social relations between refugees and hosts

    How do displaced people and receiving communities interact, and in which ways is local integration contested?

  • 5 | Economic interactions and development

    What are the wider economic impacts of displacement, and which opportunities exist for economic development?

TRAFIG undertakes comparative research in Africa, Asia and Europe to advise policy-makers and contribute to public debates. The project applies both qualitative and quantitative research methods in refugee camps and cities in Africa (DR Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania), the Middle east (Jordan, Pakistan) and Europe (Greece, Italy, Germany).

TRAFIG published a Working Paper “Transnational Figurations of Displacement. Conceptualising protracted displacement and translocal connectivity through a process-oriented perspective” which describes the central concepts and key terms of project. These are also summarized in the Practice Note “Transnational Figurations of Displacement. Exploring new solutions to protracted displacement”. 

If you want to learn more about the TRAFIG Project, please visit