UNHCR Issues Final Draft of Global Compact on Refugees
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees issued the final draft of the global compact on refugees, providing the basis for the final round of negotiations in Geneva.

Among the changes in the final draft, the document indicates that the Global Refugee Forum will convene every four years, beginning in 2019.

26 June 2018: The office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees has issued the final draft of the global compact on refugees, providing the basis for the final round of negotiations in Geneva. Among the changes in the final draft, the document indicates that the Global Refugee Forum will convene every four years, beginning in 2019.

As of the previous round of formal consultations on the text, in early June 2018, governments had not reached consensus on: the indicators by which to measure the compact’s success; the periodicity of the Global Refugee Forum, which will serve as the main vehicle for measuring progress towards the compact’s objectives; or references to the humanitarian-development nexus. The 26 June draft of the compact includes language aiming to resolve these outstanding areas of divergence, along with other changes representing a “fine-tuning” of the text, according to an explanatory memorandum on the changes issued by UNHCR.

On the Global Refugee Forum, the final draft calls for the Forum to convene every four years beginning in 2019. In addition, high-level officials’ meetings will take place every two years between the meetings of the Forum, beginning in 2021, in order to provide “mid-term review” and effectively allow for stock-taking every two years. UNHCR will also report annually to the UN General Assembly, the text notes.

On measuring the compact’s success, the final draft of the compact proposes that indicators be developed for each of the four key objectives of the compact. The objectives are: ease pressures on host countries; enhance refugee self-reliance; expand access to third-country solutions; and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity. The indicators would be developed ahead of the first Global Refugee Forum in 2019. The text adds that the Forums also will be informed by the results of a process coordinated by UNHCR to measure impacts arising from hosting, protecting and assisting refugees.

Additional changes in the final draft include language to address the “interrelationship between humanitarian action and development cooperation.”

The last round of scheduled formal consultations on the text convenes from 3-4 July 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNHCR office will provide a briefing for Member States in New York, US, on 17 July, on the outcome of the consultations. [Final Draft, 26 June] [Explanatory memorandum on changes] [UNHCR website on compact consultations] [Statement by Volker Turk, UNHCR Office, on changes to final draft] [Non-paper on indicators for compact objectives] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on discussion of June draft compact] [Letter announcing 17 July briefing]

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