The research conducted identified five core challenges in financing responses to refugee crises, namely the speed of the arrival of financing, the sustained duration of financing, the use (shape) of financing, the incentivisation of host countries through financing, and the increasing global frequency and severity of crises placing further demand on current humanitarian financing. In this strained financing context, the role of innovative finance has become increasingly important. Innovative financing for responses to refugee crises could include the development of new financial mechanisms, or the adaptation and application of non-traditional mechanisms (particularly those from capital and insurance markets) to meet humanitarian and development financing needs.
In response to these challenges and opportunities, an Innovation Lab was co-convened by the Centre for Disaster Protection and the International Rescue Committee Airbel Center, with sessions hosted in London and New York City in late 2018 bringing together experts from the humanitarian, development, finance, insurance and policy fields. The Innovation Lab aimed to generate a broad range of innovative financing solutions, with the most feasible to then be developed further.