The traditional accommodation option for both internal displacement and those seeking safety abroad has been for several decades the establishment of formal camps in rural zones, which allowed for organized management of assistance and services, control of movement and maintaining security (of the host population, while providing some to the displaced).

With the protraction of displacement and the associated burden on the host communities, limited funding and more permissive governmental policies on movement, governments are often reluctant to establish formal camps. Increasing numbers of displaced people find shelter and livelihood opportunities outside traditional camps, and by end 2017, over 70% of internally displaced people were accommodated in informal settlements or remained dispersed in host community homes and in rural, peri-urban and urban environments; these last seen as places of sanctuary and locations of opportunity.

In addition to general urbanization trends, other drivers account for the occurrence of displaced people finding refuge in alternative collective settings or preferring non-formal camp environments. These include the limited availability of land to legally occupy and use for generating livelihood, restrictive access to markets, security considerations and coping strategies. Families may get by squatting in informal areas, unfinished buildings or marginalized neighbourhoods, such as slums and informal settlements.

All collective settings need some form of management to create safe and secure living environment in order to meet the basic human rights of displaced populations, as the main objective of Camp Management. Increasing diversity in modalities of settlement scenarios requires an adaptable approach to camp management, that can be applied to rented accommodation and spontaneous settlements, in communal collective and/or unplanned settings as well as in dispersed host communities.  

The guidance here results from a request made in the 2017 CCCM Global Retreat by participants to reflect CCCM experience and best practices of mobile Camp Management (CM) approaches from the global and field levels. This guidance serves as a departure point for continued learning and adaption by CCCM practitioners as well as of interest to the wider humanitarian community and sectorial specialists.