Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Refugees Released: Discussion

UNHCR has released the “Zero Draft” of the Global Compact on Refugees.  I would like to start a thread for commenting on the draft.  What’s in the draft of significance; what’s left out?  What amendments would you propose? What is the likelihood of state adoption?  Let’s get a conversation going.

My first questions: What is the difference between the “global platform” proposed in para. 16 and the concept of a “solidarity conference” in para. 17?  Should either be a standing function rather an ad hoc arrangement?

Click below to read the Zero Draft and provide comments on this page.zerodraft gcr

6 thoughts on “Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Refugees Released: Discussion

  1. What strikes me in this draft is the absence of any firm and ‘monitorable’ commitment, except at the extremely high level of abstraction found in the New York Declaration itself…Personally, I cannot find a plan of action in this document. It reads more like a recipe book, which is not uninteresting but definitely not novel – especially since all responsibility-sharing recipes presented herein have been tested at least once in historical, recent or current refugee situations. To write ‘UNHCR could’ or ‘states could’ is not only a very weak commitment; it also seems to ignore that those formulas, mechanisms and arrangements are in the toolbox already, and it evades the only real question, which is: how do we assess their effectiveness? For let us face it: had those ‘recipes’ delivered fair and effective responsibility-sharing, there would be no need for a new ‘compact’…..


  2. Nothing much to add to the excellent comments of Jean-Francois. I gave up counting the number of times the document uses the word “could.” I also agree that the NYD, CRRF and GCR are all essentially a repackaging/rebranding of existing ideas and initiatives, dressed up to look as if they are something ‘new’.


  3. Absent is any discussion of the right to seek asylum and the principle of non-refoulement. The document over emphasises repatriation as the preferred “solution” without any real plan for refugees who can’t return. Again, it seems to be very state centric without the voices or views of refugee communities. And as others have pointed out, no sign of a commitment or plan to make any difference.


  4. I fully agree with the above commentators. There seems to be no intention to achieve ‘ a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility’ – to use the NYD language.

    Couched in hortatory language, the zero draft looks to me as a best practice document, offering states with a variety of options to pick and choose according to their national priorities and agendas.

    Paragraph 68 of the NYD (‘taking account of existing contributions and the differing capacities and resources among States) containing the tool of ‘differentiation’ in states’ roles and responsibilities according to capacities and resources is merely restated in the zero draft in paragraph 16 (taking into account differing capacities and resources), without any further elaboration on how such differentiation in protection responsibilities can be operationalised in practice. if one thing the global compact on refugees should elaborate,or at least attempt to sketch, in my opinion, is the criteria for allocating responsibilities according to capacities and contributions.

    Likewise, I do not fully understand the functional difference of the ‘global platform’ and the ‘solidarity conferences’ apart from the latter focusing perhaps on a specific displacement situation on an ad hoc basis.

    Overall, I see that the main focus still remains to provide protection of refugees in their regions of origins whilst at the same time mobilising finance from ‘all interested stakeholders’ in support of refugee receiving states. there is no intention, as it stands, to share protection responsibilities more equitably and effectively among states.


  5. Pingback: Join the Conversation: The Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Refugees | Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility

  6. Pingback: Making the Global Compacts work for all? A matter of information in the right language | Forced Migration Forum

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