UNHCR Recommendations to the European Union: EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027: Addressing forced displacement effectively

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Today over 65 million people are forcibly displaced, including 22.5 million refugees, many of whom have been driven from their homes by a historic rise in conflict and violence. The global responsibility to respond to this mass movement has largely been shouldered by a small number of countries hosting refugees and other forcibly displaced as well as donors providing support to them.

The EU is a central partner to address forced displacement globally and assist the forcibly displaced and their hosts abroad and at home. With progressive policy frameworks in place, the EU seeks to find political solutions to the root causes of forced displacement, to ensure the operationalization of the humanitarian and development nexus and to pursue a development-led approach to forced displacement. Moreover, the EU has put mechanisms into place which address forced displacement through a whole of institution approach.

These encouraging trends speak to the principles of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) considers the EU as an important actor in the implementation of the New York Declaration’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and of the future global compact on refugees (GCR). The GCR is a historic opportunity to apply a new global approach to refugee situations. It seeks to bring humanitarian and development aid, economic and legal measures, as well as the resources of refugees and hosting communities themselves together so refugees and their hosts can be better in control of their lives. They can thrive rather than survive and forcibly displaced can stay closer to their home rather than risking their lives in dangerous secondary movements.

A key condition for the successful adoption and application of the GCR is the successful mobilization of predictable and additional funding to match renewed efforts of large refugee hosting countries. As a humanitarian donor, the EU continues to provide reliable financial support to assist people forced to flee and the communities that host them. As the biggest development donor globally, the Union has also taken action and mobilized additional funding under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 to ensure that neither forcibly displaced nor host communities are left behind as we progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

While UNHCR appreciates this increased commitment, it appeals to the EU to use the next MFF 2021-2027 to systematically consolidate and scale up its engagement in forced displacement. Its financial engagement should be needs- and rights-based, and as predictable as possible. This would send a strong signal of the EU’s firm pledge to deliver on the paradigm of global responsibilty-sharing enshrined in the New York Declaration and the future GCR.

Further, the EU’s engagement does not stop at its external borders. Maintaining the integrity and efficiency of asylum systems within the EU is also key and represents a major and costly endevaour. As a democratic union, founded on the respect for human rights and the dignity of the person, the EU should in compliance with its own Charter on Fundamental Rights and in particular its founding Treaty, sustain its engagement to ensure that persons in need of international protection can access and benefit from asylum in Europe. In this context, addressing asylum and protection needs (including integration) inside the EU should remain a financial priority of the EU Member States and of the EU itself for its next budetary period from 2021 to 2027.