Mott MacDonald unveils five-step plan for sustainable refugee camps

Mott MacDonald has set out a five-step plan for the creation of humane and sustainable settlements, which it says could help to ease the global refugee crisis

Mott MacDonald hopes that its five-step plan will help ease the global refugee crisis.
Mott MacDonald hopes that its five-step plan will help ease the global refugee crisis.

Mott MacDonald has set out a five-step strategy for the creation of humane and sustainable settlements for refugees.

The UK-headquartered consultancy’s Engineering Hope report calls for a broad-based coalition of donor governments, financial institutions, aid agencies, civil society organisations, and consultants to develop and implement a new generation of settlements.

The report was written in a bid to offer an alternative to camps of tents and flimsy shelters, which Mott MacDonald described as the “go-to model for some of the world’s 16.1 million refugees who are trying to escape conflict or humanitarian disasters”.

By employing the latest design and construction technologies, supply chain models, infrastructure financing mechanisms, and institutional knowledge, the company aims to help ease the global refugee crisis.

Commenting on the strategy, Keith Howells, chairman of Mott MacDonald, said: “We are confident that, with participation from key players, we can begin the process of transforming the way refugees are housed, treated, and perceived.

“Together, we can engineer hope and create a brighter and more prosperous future for millions of refugees worldwide, as well as the countries they seek haven in,” he added.

Step one of Mott MacDonald’s strategy involves the establishment of an advisory panel that disseminates knowledge, skills, and experience to create and promote a set of international standards for the new generation of liveable settlements.

The second step requires the creation of a specific fund and an inter-agency trust to manage it. This trust should be able to advise on the contracting and regulatory frameworks required to deploy funds effectively and accountably, according to the report’s authors. The funding model would also be developed around clear guidelines to ensure that the right private sector partners are selected, and relationships are managed on each side so that commitments are fulfilled.

Step three necessitates the development of off-the-shelf, scaleable, and flexible designs to enable developers to quickly plan and manufacture a city in the event of a crisis. The report advises that there should be a full, open-source building information modelling (BIM) component catalogue for buildings and infrastructure that can be delivered using design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA).

The fourth step involves the creation of a social infrastructure task force to address aspects such as governance, law and order, social inclusion, and the provision of education, training, health, and social care. This task force would provide a forum in which to share and promote best practice and innovation.

Finally, Mott MacDonald’s plan encourages the creation of a pilot project in a location that is welcoming of refugees and supportive of the idea of sustainable settlements. Established as a satellite of an existing town or city, this settlement would facilitate integration between refugees and local communities. In turn, governments and local communities would be made aware of the benefits of accepting the camp, and offered clear incentives for doing so, such as favourable trade packages or incentives for local companies to hire refugee workers.

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