Camp Set-up And Closure

Key Messages

  • Camps are a last resort and should be established only when other solutions are neither feasible nor preferable. In most circumstances they form spontaneously. In any case they are meant to be a temporary solution.
  • The raison d'être for Camp Management is to provide assistance and protection to displaced communities. National authorities are responsible for fulfilling these objectives at every stage with support from humanitarian actors. In certain contexts the national authorities have the role of the Camp Management Agency. 
  • Setting up and closing camps require a great deal of input from camp planners, technical staff, national authorities, the camp population and the host community. The role of the Camp Management Agency includes ensuring that all stakeholders are involved and participating in the set up and closure of the camp. 
  • The camp’s location, size, design and duration are context- specific. The location of a camp and how it is planned can significantly impact the residents’ protection and access to assistance, while also affecting decisions about camp closure and phase out. Ideally, the Camp Management Agency is involved in selecting the camp’s location, but in reality a large number of camps are self-settled and the Camp Management Agency’s task is more related to improvement of the present site. 
  • Camp closure should be linked to durable solutions and be planned from the very beginning of a camp operation. The Camp Management Agency must also ensure the effective management of the camp’s site as well as its environment, infrastructure and assets. 
  • Situations resulting from conflict and natural disaster are often unpredictable. People often remain encamped far longer than initially planned. Future eventualities and different scenarios need to be anticipated at the set-up stage. This includes allowing scope for population growth, repairs and upgrades, sustainability of resources and impacts on surrounding communities. 
  • Proper set-up or improvement of camp conditions is essential to prevent such occurrences as gender-based violence (GBV), floods and social tensions. Failure in setting up basic support structures has serious impacts on accountability and proper management of a camp.