15 February 2018
Governments Consider Zero Draft of Global Compact on Refugees
Photo by IISD/ENB
story highlights

The draft compact is made up of: a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework; a programme of action for applying the Framework; and a section on follow-up arrangements.

UNHCR set out a road map of formal consultations on the draft, beginning on 13-14 February 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland.

5 February 2018: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi issued the zero draft of the global compact on refugees for consideration by Member States. The draft compact is made up of: a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF); a programme of action for applying the CRRF; and a section on follow-up arrangements.

The CRRF was negotiated in 2016 as part of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) at a high-level meeting in September 2016. Early experiences in applying the CRRF inform the compact draft, which was developed through a two-year consultation process with States and other stakeholders, including five thematic discussions and a Dialogue on Protection Challenges.

In September 2017, Grandi reported that the CRRF had been applied in 11 countries: Costa Rica; Djibouti; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Panama; Somalia; Uganda; and Tanzania. Some of these countries have also adopted legislative and policy instruments that expand the access of migrants and refugees to education and jobs and facilitate their social and economic inclusion.

According to the introduction of the zero draft, the global compact on refugees aims to ease pressures on host countries, increase refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions for safe return. The “perennial gap” in the existing system for refugee protection, which the compact aims to address, is the need for more predictable and equitable sharing of burdens and responsibilities among States and other stakeholders.

The introduction also notes that the compact’s success hinges on four areas for progress: sustained international financial and other forms of support to refugees and host communities; strengthened national refugee response capacity; improved socio-economic conditions for refugees and host communities, notably women and girls; and enhanced efforts to resolve protracted situations, resulting in increased prospects for durable solutions.

The programme of action is made up of two sections, with the first covering principal modalities for burden- and responsibility-sharing. The modalities discussed are: national arrangements and global platform; solidarity conferences; additional funding and efficient use of resources; regional organizations; a multi-stakeholder approach; and data and evidence. The programme of action also addresses support for the application of the CRRF.

On follow-up arrangements, the compact draft notes that UNHCR will develop a set of key indicators to monitor and evaluate progress and outcomes of the global compact, which will be “aligned with … the relevant goals of the sustainable development agenda.” In addition, Member States could include refuges in their progress reporting on the SDGs, the draft suggests. A first opportunity to assess progress of the compact’s application could be a ministerial-level meeting to be convened by UNHCR in 2021, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

UNHCR also set out a road map of formal consultations on the draft, beginning on 13-14 February 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. Following each session in Geneva, an informal briefing will take place in New York. The first briefing will convene on 16 February. [Zero Draft and Road Map] [Refugee Compact Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on New York Declaration negotiations] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on statements on refugee compact, September 2016] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on September 2017 update on compacts]

related posts