Including the voice of refugees in the Global Compact

Photo: © UNHCR/Gordon Welters - Photo:Photo: © UNHCR/Gordon Welters
Ten-year-old Syrian refugee, Kamala, speaks up in class in Golzow, a village on the German-Polish border. Photo: © UNHCR/Gordon Welters

How do we ensure that refugee priorities remain central to the Global Compact on Refugees? This was one of the key questions when Norway and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) hosted a panel debate on refugee priorities for the Global Compact.

For many, 2017 has been a year of strong opinions and loaded arguments. Some voices – that is, the voice of those affected the most by crises and conflict - deserve to be heard, in particular. On Monday, Norway and NRC turned down the volume of a December-stressed Geneva, and tried to make room for a discussion on the importance of including refugee voices in the ongoing process on the Global Compact.

The Global Compact on Refugees is fundamentally a process about state commitment and action on refugees. It is about getting more states engaged and ensuring a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees. By default, it may, however, be a policy process with little space for refugees themselves. Norway believes, however, that it is important to make sure that refugees have a voice in this process.

 

In her intervention, Ms Trine Heimerback, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway, highlighted that we have seen a growing conversation about localization in recent years. This discussion revolves around ensuring the accountability to the people we serve and support. “By involving those affected in all phases of a response, Norway believes we have a better chance of meeting their actual needs. We therefore support efforts to ensure better community engagement and participation, something which is also a central part of the Grand Bargain,” Heimerback stated.

Read more about the Global Compact on refugees here: http://www.unhcr.org/towards-a-global-compact-on-refugees.html