There are over 70 million displaced people in the world today, with numbers steadily increasing each year. More than two thirds of them never have a chance to leave their own countries, adding to the ranks of internally displaced persons. Out of all those displaced, over 84% are being hosted in countries of the Global South. Not only are the numbers of displaced people increasing, so is the average duration of their displacement, which now stands at 17 years. The intractable nature of conflicts is producing increasingly protracted situations of displacement around the globe, without durable solutions in sight for those affected.
On 19th September 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (NYD), which mandated member states to develop a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). These two agreements were officially adopted by the General Assembly at the end of 2018. Although formally non-binding instruments, the two Compacts offer important frameworks for enhancing international cooperation among states and for increasing the availability of protection and access to rights for refugees and migrants.
The GCR attempts to strengthen the concept of responsibility sharing among states for the plight of refugees through its four main objectives, i.e. easing pressures on host countries; building self-reliance of refugees; expanding refugees´ access to third countries through resettlement and other pathways; and supporting conditions for voluntary return.
In order to help implement their commitments under the GCR, member states agreed to create a Global Refugee Forum (GRF), to be held at highest government level every four years. The first ever GRF is taking place this year in Geneva on 17-18 December, starting with side events on the 16.
States and other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector, prepared for the GRF by organising a number of pledges to improve refugee protection under six themes:
- Burden- & responsibility-sharing
- Jobs and livelihoods
- Protection capacity
- Energy & infrastructure
Stakeholders were encouraged to engage in joint pledging, a process that is still underway and is expected to be further enhanced by the activities at the GRF, as well as during the follow-up period. Many states and organisations will announce their pledges, which can include material and/or organisational support in a variety of ways, at the Forum this week.
While many ACT members have each been preparing their own pledges ACT Alliance has decided to join different initiatives and pledges.
For instance, together with Act for Peace, Act Alliance made a pledge to “Strengthen informed refugee decision-making and effective preparedness by refugees and other actors for multiple refugee futures, including durable solutions” in the thematic area of Solutions.
Building upon our programmatic and policy work with existing partners, including refugee-led organisations, and members across diverse contexts, this pledge aims to strengthen informed refugee decision-makingand more effective preparedness, by refugees and other actors, for multiple refugee futures, including durable solutions. Amongst other elements, this will include:
- Strengthening age, gender, and diversity (AGD)-responsiveness, in particular our focus upon women’s empowerment and gender equity, in our programming, policy and advocacy work in this area;
- Ensuring that the leadership and meaningful participation of refugees is promoted and enabled to the maximum extent in all of our programming, policy and advocacy work in this area; and
- Extending our existing focus upon informed refugee decision making and refugee preparedness for safe and dignified voluntary repatriation and reintegration to include further work on informed refugee decision making and diverse actor preparedness for all durable solutions and ‘alternative pathways’
- We will dedicate financial, technical and other resources to deliver this pledge and will seek proactively to broaden the base of support for innovation, replication and scaling in this area
- We will develop and report against indicators, and will share lessons learned.