The current global refugee system is failing refugees and the states that host them, despite the often-heroic efforts of sympathetic states, international organizations, civil society, and refugees themselves. The 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees highlighted the fact that: “no routine mechanism exists yet to facilitate the kind of voluntary responsibility-sharing for refugees…or to more comprehensively address other challenges arising from large-scale refugee crises.”
In response, states participating in the Summit committed themselves to “…develop tools and institutional structures to improve the international architecture and lay a foundation for addressing both the immediate and the long-term challenges of managing refugee flows effectively and comprehensively.” States also adopted the New York Declaration, which outlined key principles relating to large movements of refugees and migrants, and began a process to negotiate a global compact on refugees and a global compact on migration, both by mid-2018.
The World Refugee Council was created to build on the momentum generated by the summit to confront the structural and political constraints of the current refugee system, to develop effective, predictable, fair, and just approaches to international cooperation, and to promote its findings globally and regionally during the negotiation of a global compact for refugees.
This project, implemented by the Waterloo, Ontario-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, seeks to promote evidence-based analysis that will lead to the development of actionable recommendations aimed at transforming the refugee response system. It will facilitate dialogue between a wide range of actors on the deficiencies and limitations of the current global refugee regime; identify, develop, and propose approaches, mechanisms, innovations, and instruments to address gaps in the current regime and shortcomings in state compliance with it; and generate the necessary political support for implementation of the Council’s recommendations.