Overwhelming support for Global Compact on Refugees

gcr - Photo:kjetil Elsebutangen
From left to right: Kjetil Elsebutangen, Stian Nordengen Christensen, Marit Jenny Rosenvinge og Alexandra Solheim. Photo: Kjetil Elsebutangen.

4 July 2018 marked the conclusion of the formal consultations in Geneva on the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, concluded that this last round of formal consultations with states had shown an “overwhelming support for the final text”.

The starting point of the GCR was the adoption of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (Resolution 71/1) and the sixth and last round of formal consultations on the GCR took place on 3 – 4 July 2018 in Geneva. The New York Declaration tasked UNHCR to engage with States and “consult all relevant stakeholders” to apply the comprehensive framework, and to further develop it in “each situation involving large movements of refugees”,  including a process of drafting the text of the GCR in the UN High Commissioner of Refugee’s report to be presented to the GA in 2018. The Compact is intended to mobilise a more fair and equitable burden and responsibility sharing in hosting, protecting and assisting refugees.

Thematic meetings and formal consultations with states and other stakeholders have taken place over the last year and Norway has been actively engaged in the process leading up to the final draft presented this week in Geneva.

“We join other delegations in expressing our sincere appreciation for UNHCR’s tireless efforts in trying to find common ground and consensus around a global compact on refugees, and […] believe the final draft reflects a willingness to meet states’ demands,” Ambassador Brattskar said in his statement.

He added that “[t]he development of a global compact on refugees has been a long and interesting journey. We have had many opportunities to express our views and listen to those of other delegations. This has been valuable in itself. Norway believes that we – the international community – must seize this opportunity to agree on a basis from where we can work to close the existing gap in burden- and responsibility sharing. Not doing so, would be a mistake.”

Ambassador Brattskar concluded his statement by affirming that “[Norway] believe[s] that the GCR provides a platform to deliver concrete results. It also sets the course for keeping the needs of refugees and host countries high on the political agenda in the years to come.”

The formal adoption of the GCR will happen through the annual resolution on UNHCR (the ‘omnibus resolution’) at the UN General Assembly later this year.

Further reading:

-          The New York Declaration

-          The UNHCR Omnibus resolution

-          The Global Compact on Refugees