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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Afghanistan: Repatriation and Resettlement

The current Afghan refugee crisis is a humanitarian disaster and a threat to international security. Up to 5 million Afghans live in various forms of refugee camps on border regions, predominantly in Iran and Pakistan. The link between refugee populations and the extremist groups that the US and its allies have been combating is explored. It is concluded that the repatriation and resettlement of the refugee populations is fundamentally in the interests of all parties, as it is a critical aspect of Afghanistan’s future stability.
The problem of repatriating and resettling Afghan refugees is fraught with difficulties.
The instability within the country itself and the surrounding region is testament to the deep divisions that still remain. The traditional response to a refugee crisis is to create new settlements for refugees. The focus of this piece has been to enable the decision makers for any development to best define the problem they wish to solve. The logic follows that any settlement must be sympathetic to the tree pillars of sustainability, society, environment and economics. The risk of an inappropriate response is high and so this thesis proposes a Guidance Document, which ties together all of the different aspects of refugee settlements, which are deemed relevant, into one document, which can be used to better define the problem.
The combination of good problem definition, with the multitude of engineering technologies that currently exist can enable an engineering solution that is appropriate and context specific to be found.

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.