Refugee situations continue to increase in scope, scale, and complexity. The vast majority of refugees (85 per cent) are hosted in low- and middle-income countries facing economic and development challenges. Despite the generosity of host countries and donors, there is an urgent need to share the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s growing number of refugees more equitably.
While the resettlement landscape has witnessed important progress during the last few years, fluctuations in the availability of places and a doubling of the global needs to reach 1.4 million resulted in the resettlement of less than 5 per cent of refugees considered by UNHCR to be in need of resettlement in 2018. Simultaneously, although there have been efforts to increase opportunities for complementary pathways for refugees, their potential to offer solutions on the scale today’s context demands has not been fully realised.
The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which was affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, is a strong signal of the international community’s determination to strengthen solidarity with refugees and the communities that host them. Recognising that third country solutions are a tangible demonstration of solidarity and responsibility sharing, their expansion is one of the four objectives of the GCR. The GCR envisages the development of a three-year Strategy (2019 – 2021) on resettlement and complementary pathways (hereinafter, the Strategy), as a key vehicle to increase the number of resettlement spaces, expand the number of resettlement countries and improve the availability and predictability of complementary pathways for refugees.
This multi-stakeholder Strategy is the result of wideranging consultations with a large number of relevant stakeholders across different regions, including,
States, national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, private sector actors, academia, faith-based actors, refugees and other UN agencies.
Given the multi-faceted nature of third country solutions, the Strategy recognizes the need for comprehensive, solutions-oriented approaches and collaboration that transcends the current community of partners engaged in resettlement and complementary pathways. The expansion of resettlement and complementary pathways requires strong commitment to harness the power of partnerships to generate concrete collective actions and measurable results.
Achieving the goals of the Strategy will require leadership from a range of actors and a multi-partner approach that advances initiatives at the global, regional and national level. Implementation will be informed by the development of a stronger evidencebase related to the opportunities for expansion over time.
The Strategy is both a roadmap for expansion over the next three years (2019-2021), and an ambitious blueprint for the further development of third country solutions over the next 10 years (2019-2028) through a vision that will continue to be relevant to achieving the goals of the GCR in the longer term.
The 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) will be a first opportunity to report initial progress in the implementation of the Strategy and to galvanize future support through commitments from States and other relevant stakeholders.