Status of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration

Governments around the world have a critical opportunity this year to make systematic improvements to how the world assists and protects refugees and migrants. In September 2016, UN member states adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, in which they committed to improve planning for and response to large movements of refugees and migrants. As part of this process, UN member states pledged to create and adopt both a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by the fall of 2018.

Refugees International drafted this issue brief to assess outstanding concerns connected to both the GCR and the GCM. So-called zero drafts of these compacts were released in late January and early February, respectively and are under review now. 

Both documents hold important promise, but also come with significant room for improvement. Member states are moving forward with negotiations and consultations to finalize the texts in advance of this year’s UN General Assembly session. They will need to make progress on a range of issues, from gender to governance to the protection of all vulnerable populations on the move, among others.

The Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Migration offer the prospect of a brighter future for many hundreds of millions of people around the world – refugees and migrants, as well as people from communities through – and to – which refugees and migrants travel. As we have indicted, the current versions of both draft documents have positive elements, but also pro-visions that should be strengthened considerably in the months to come. Refugees International looks forward to sustaining our engagement in this process.