What is the Global Compact on Refugees?
Last Updated: Jan 08, 2020
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (A/RES/71/1) paved the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018: the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (A/CONF.231/3) and the Global Compact on Refugees (A/73/12(PartII)).
The Global Compact on Refugees was endorsed by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2018 (A/RES/73/151). It is not legally binding, but the adoption "represents the political will and ambition of the international community".
Although the processes leading to the two agreements were run at the same time, they address two closely related, but distinct groups: migrants and refugees. A definition of "refugees" is provided in the 1951 Refugee Convention and regional refugee instruments, as well as the Statute of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "A uniform legal definition of the term 'migrant' does not exist at the international level. [...] 'Migration' is often understood to imply a voluntary process, for example, someone who crosses a border in search of better economic opportunities." (UNHCR website, see link below)
The Global Compact on Refugees intends to forge a stronger and fairer international response to large refugee movements, to provide better support for the individuals fleeing their homelands and for the countries that take them in, which are often among the poorest in the world. (UN News website, see link below) The Compact builds upon the comprehensive refugee response framework (CRRF) contained in Annex I of the New York Declaration and provides a set of tools for reaching its four main objectives:
- Easing pressures on host countries
- Enhancing self-reliance of refugees
- Expanding access to third-country solutions (through resettlement and other pathways of admission)
- Supporting conditions in countries of origins to enable refugees to return
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