Sharing the burden of the global refugee crisis

Refugee in Hoodiesource: Brookings
published: 27 January 2020

From December 16-18, 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organized the first Global Refugee Forum. The by-invitation event had two objectives: to serve as a platform to announce financial and other support, including opportunities for refugee resettlement; and to exchange good practices on refugee livelihoods, infrastructure, and protection.

According to UNHCR head Filippo Grandi, “The purpose of this meeting … is not just to talk but to rally international support for countries hosting refugees in a spirit and with the objective of sharing the burden more equitably.”

The Forum came exactly a year after the U.N. General Assembly affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees. Set in motion in 2016, the compact aimed at more predictable and equitable worldwide responsibility-sharing. It was to be a unique opportunity to transform how the world responds to refugees, benefiting them and hosting communities.

Building on existing international legislation—including the 1951 Refugee Convention and human rights treaties—key objectives were (i) to ease pressures on host countries; (ii) enhance refugee self-reliance; (iii) expand access to third-country solutions; (iv) support conditions in countries of origin for safe and dignified returns..

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