Statement on the Global Compact on Refugees High Level Officials Meeting

Three years after the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) was endorsed by the UN General Assembly, DRC welcomes the opportunity of the High Level Officials Meeting 2021 to take stock of the progress made. With increasing global displacement and humanitarian needs growing year by year it is the right time to assess if relevant steps have been taken to provide better protection and assistance for displaced people and if a reduction of human suffering has been achieved.

The first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) convened in December 2019, presented a major breakthrough in international refugee protection in terms of the strong commitment of both states and non-state actors to a common agenda to increase refugee protection, self-reliance, responsibility sharing and solidarity with both refugees and refugee-hosting nations. However, at the same time we are witnessing stagnating or even counter-productive trends. DRC points to the following key aspects that need reinforced efforts in the future:

  • Better responsibility-sharing: Currently, many states primarily consider their commitment to the GCR an instrument of foreign policy. This undermines the spirit of the GCR. DRC also notes that the ambition to include new partners has not worked out as hoped for. Today, it is still a relatively small core group that proactively engages in the GCR implementation.
  • Creation of an enabling environment for social protection and livelihood opportunities: While this does not replace durable solutions to displacement it is a precondition for the dignity and stability of affected populations. For this effort we shall partner with all sectors of society, and we need states to respect rights and the fundamentals of protection of refugees. This means that states shall refrain from policies as externalization, refugee deterrence or premature return or deportation of people of concern.
  • Multi-stakeholder engagement and legal aid in asylum capacity development: Access to asylum and fair and efficient asylum procedures are cornerstones of refugee protection, and legal assistance for refugees and asylum-seekers are an essential component of a comprehensive response and solutions to forced displacement. Engaging a range of actors will improve both the quality and legitimacy of asylum procedures. DRC calls upon states to honour the commitment of multi-stakeholder engagement also when it comes to development of asylum capacity and access to legal aid.
  • Longer-term action is needed. DRC notes that the thinking about displacement solutions move away from emergency response to more medium- to longer-term perspectives. This is indeed much needed and shall go along with more predictable and more flexible funding mechanisms applied by donors.
  • We cannot lose our young people. Displacement, instability, and limited education are tremendous threats to the future of displacement-affected societies. We need to strengthen youth leadership and make young members of our society pillars of our future. Young people offer their partnership in creating solutions. We should accommodate this at all levels.

It is DRC´s hope that the upcoming event in Geneva can gain the renewed awareness and action of all actors and supporters of the GCR. DRC is committed to work on these critical aspects over the coming years.

Download the full statement here

Find a DRC study on self-reliance for refugees within a durable solution lens - released ahead of the HLOM