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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Global Compact on Refugees the Way Forward (1)

There are two important developments in the international arena that need strong attention and efforts from the developing countries especially in Africa. The first is the Global Compact on Refugees and the second the Global Pact for the Environment and which will be discussed in the United Nations General Assembly in the coming days.  In this article the focus will be in the Compact  

Global Compact

UN. member states are now more than halfway through a two-year process of developing a new Global Compact for Refugees (CGR)—one that is designed to improve responses to displacement by making them more comprehensive, predictable, and inclusive of relevant stakeholders. Although the process aimed to engage a wide range of actors, municipal authorities have been notably absent from the discussions. With approximately 60 percent of refugees and at least half of internally displaced people residing in urban environments, that is a consequential oversight.
On September 19, 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration that is directed at improving the way in which the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants, as well as to protracted refugee situations.
The New York Declaration sets out a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), with specific actions needed to ease pressure 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. It calls upon UNHCR to apply the framework to particular situations, in close coordination with relevant States and involving other United Nations agencies and stakeholders, and to assess its impact with a view to refining it further.
On the basis of this work, the High Commissioner for Refugees has been requested to propose a ‘global compact on refugees’ in his annual report to the General Assembly in 2018, to be considered by the Assembly at its Seventy-Third session.
The office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees on  26 June 2018,   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.”