Global Compact on Refugees – taking responsibility and sharing the burden
Six months ago, the international community adopted the Global Compact on Refugees. What happens next?
Six months ago, the vast majority of the world’s countries reached agreement for the first time on a comprehensive framework on refugee issues. The aim of this Global Compact on Refugees is to improve international cooperation on refugee issues and to achieve more equitable burden-sharing. Both are urgently needed. The number of refugees around the world has grown to over 70 million people during the last few years as a result of wars and other conflicts. However, just ten countries are home to 80 percent of all refugees worldwide.
This challenge can only be met by joint efforts. How can the Global Compact on Refugees help to achieve this? And what happens next as regards its implementation?
Why is implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Germany’s interest?
The Global Compact on Refugees and its implementation are in Germany’s interest because the aims are to share the burden and responsibility in the refugee context among more countries around the world; to do more to support the countries that take in large numbers of refugees, particularly in crisis-hit regions; and to solve major refugee crises.
Germany is an important host country and the second-largest donor to UNHCR. Its role in protecting refugees is internationally recognised and valued. The German Government would like to use this recognition to encourage Member States that have so far not been (particularly) active as regards accepting and protecting refugees to take on greater responsibility.
How will the Global Compact on Refugees now be implemented?
The Global Compact on Refugees has set up the Global Refugee Forum in order to ensure that the burden and responsibility are shared more equitably through international agreements. UNHCR and the UN Member States will hold the Global Refugee Forum every four years in Geneva, where the Member States and other relevant interested parties will review to what extent the Global Compact’s goals have been achieved and make further commitments as regards reaching these goals. The commitments will be voluntary. The idea is that they will mainly be made by countries that have only met their responsibility to protect refugees worldwide to a limited extent so far.
The first Global Refugee Forum will take place in Geneva on 17 and 18 December 2019, with Germany, Turkey, Ethiopia and Costa Rica as its current co-conveners. UNHCR and other Member States are exploring the idea of getting further co-conveners on board. As a co convener, Germany’s role is to consistently continue the German Government’s engagement to date. This role also enables Germany to influence the further development of the Global Compact. As the country where the event will be held, Switzerland will join UNHCR as co-host of the Global Refugee Forum.
Alongside measures to share the burden and responsibility more equitably, the Global Compact on Refugees includes initiatives to establish a global academic network and to draw up joint standards for gathering, analysing and disseminating data on refugees. Working as partners, various stakeholders, such as local authorities, members of civil society and refugees themselves, will play a part in these processes.
How will the Global Compact on Refugees be implemented at the national level?
The situation facing refugees and host countries would improve if the Compact were implemented in most Member States. Germany already meets the main goals of the Compact, and in fact does more than required in many areas. The German Government will decide on and carry out possible additional measures. In doing so, it will take reality and capacities in Germany, as well as national and European law, into account.
The Global Compact on Refugees is not an international agreement and is not legally binding. The Member States are responsible for deciding which measures to support and implement politically, and to what extent to do so. The Global Compact’s measures are funded entirely by voluntary contributions. However the Compact expresses the international community’s shared conviction on how the challenge of global refugee flows should be addressed and how the protection of refugees worldwide can be improved. It is thus of considerable political importance and can serve as impetus for various countries to take on more responsibility for refugee issues. Germany already meets the main goals of the Compact, and in fact does more than required in many areas.
How will implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees be monitored in the future?
The Global Compact on Refugees will mainly be followed up and monitored by the Global Refugee Forum, meetings at senior official level, and the annual report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to the UN General Assembly. To this end, UNHCR is currently working closely with the Member States and other relevant stakeholders to define indicators for each of the Compact’s goals.
How can I find out about the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees?
The German Government provides information for the public on its websites and on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. It also keeps German civil society and experts informed by taking part in relevant specialised events on current developments.
Further information on the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees and on the first Global Refugee Forum is also available on UNHCR’s websites.
https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/flucht-und-asyl (in German)
Federal Foreign Office
Twitter: @GermanyDiplo #RefugeeCompact
https://www.unhcr.org/dach/de/was-wir-tun/globaler-pakt (in German)
Twitter: @refugees #RefugeeCompact #GCR