From 24-26 June 2014, the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Led by the Danish Chair, Jakob Dam Glynstrup from the Danish Immigration Service, and the NGO Chair, Eva Singer from the Danish Refugee Council, the meeting brought together over 200 participants from resettlement States, international and national NGOs, IOM and UNHCR. It was well attended by European State representatives (17), while representatives from EASO and the European Commission were also present.
The ATCR was opened by Renata Dubini, Head of UNHCR’s Resettlement Service and Deputy Director to the Division of International Protection, who noted that this was the 20th anniversary of the ATCR. In that time, some 1.3 million refugees have been resettled. UNHCR proceeded to provide an update to participants on the key developments and challenges for resettlement in the global context, including resettlement targets and projections for 2015 based on the updated Projected Global Resettlement Needs publication. In this regard, UNHCR estimates global resettlement needs to be almost 960,000 persons, including the resettlement needs of refugees in a protracted situation where resettlement is envisioned over a period of several years. As noted by UNHCR, this figure represents a substantial increase of 39 per cent compared to the total projected resettlement needs in 2014 (approximately 691,000 persons), which is mainly due to the inclusion of the resettlement needs of Syrian refugees. In addition, for 2015, some 150,000 persons are in need of resettlement from Europe, representing a 610 per cent increase from 2014 due to Syrians in Turkey. Nevertheless, despite such increases, the number of resettlement places available globally remains at 80,000 persons.
A novel element on Day 1 of the ATCR was to create four break-out groups with panels comprised of UNHCR field staff from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa, respectively. This allowed UNHCR delegates from the relevant field operations and Bureaux to provide brief presentations on regional developments. Sessions were held in an “open house” format to allow participants the opportunity to network and discuss issues of interest with UNHCR field representatives.
Day 2 featured a panel discussion on Innovative Solutions Strategies for the Syria Situation, which was devoted to a discussion on how to increase the response mechanisms for Syrian refugees through collaboration between UNHCR, States and NGOs. The aim of the session was to provide clarity on the appeal for 100,000 places for Syrian refugees in 2015-2016, with a focus on alternative forms of admission to resettlement and humanitarian admission. In this regard, the panel greatly benefited from the participation of State representatives from Austria, Germany and the UK, who provided an overview of their respective humanitarian programmes and the associated status and rights. A subsequent session, and a recurring theme, focused on the reform of the ATCR and the Working Group on Resettlement (WGR), as well as how to better mobilise Core/Contact Groups to facilitate the strategic use of resettlement.
Tied into the effort to make the ATCR more practical and interactive for participants, the afternoon sessions on Day 2 were divided into two parallel tracks on Resettlement Case Processing, and the Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees. A number of key issues were prioritised through these sessions, including UNHCR Field Perspectives on NGO Identification of Resettlement Needs, the Role of the Media to Mobilise Community Support, Perspectives and Experiences of New Resettlement Countries, and the Integration of Somalis: Perceptions and Realities, amongst others.
The ATCR concluded with a discussion on a solutions-based approach to refugee crises, with the strategic use of resettlement identified as one element of that response.
For your information, the following documents were shared at the ATCR:
Global Initiative on Somali Refugees (GISR):
Global Updates and 2015 Resettlement Priorities:
Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees: