Global Compact on Refugees

Hassan Shan camp was opened by UNHCR in Iraq to accommodate people displaced by the Mosul military offensive. UN Photo/Sarmad Al-Safy

Hassan Shan camp, northern Iraq, was opened by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in 2016 to accommodate people displaced by the military offensive in Mosul. UN Photo/Sarmad Al-Safy

As part of the follow up to the 2016 New York Declaration, the High Commissioner for Refugees will propose a Global Compact on Refugees in his annual report to the General Assembly in 2018. 

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 Global Compact on Refugees

UNHCR envisages that the Global Compact on Refugees will comprise two complementary parts:

  1. The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, as agreed by Member States in Annex I to the New York Declaration, supplemented by preambular and concluding paragraphs; 
  2. A Programme of Action underpinning the Framework that sets out actions that can be taken—both by Member States andby other relevant stakeholders—to ensure its full implementation.

What are the next steps?

Work towards the Global Compact on Refugees is taking place in cooperation and consultation with Member States another relevant stakeholders, in a number of interconnected areas, including:

  1. The application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework to specific countries or situations, including by drawing lessons from existing or past refugee situations;
  2. Informal thematic discussions to identify the actions that are essential to the type of refugee response envisaged in the New York Declaration and thus inform the application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the development of the Global Compact on Refugees. The programme for these discussions will be developed in consultation with Member States and other relevant stakeholders and will utilize existing meetings and processes where possible; and
  3. Stocktaking will take place in late 2017 (including at the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in December) to assess progress made, identify lessons learned, and lay the groundwork for the Global Compact on Refugees.

All of this work will be undertaken in accordance with the multi-stakeholder, ‘whole-of-society’ approach endorsed by the General Assembly in the New York Declaration that involves ‘national and local authorities, international organizations, international financial institutions, regional organizations, regional coordination and partnership mechanisms, civil society partners, including faith-based organizations and academia, the private sector, media and the refugees themselves’.

By February 2018 UNHCR will prepare a draft of the Global Compact on Refugees and formal consultation with Member States and other relevant stakeholders will commence.

Following consultations, the Global Compact on Refugees will be presented in the High Commissioner’s 2018 Annual Report to the General Assembly.