A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System

Launched today by the World Refugee Council (WRC), A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System is a compendium of evidence and ideas that converge in a series of recommendations, which, taken together, comprise a plan of action for the next decade and can bring about a refugee regime that is fair, properly funded and capable of managing a system in an orderly way. It goes beyond the traditional practices of humanitarian aid or even development practices and brings to bear recommendations utilizing contemporary measures in trade, finance, judicial and political accountability, peacekeeping, technology, and governance reform.

The underlying premise of the WRC’s work is that there is a basic framework of universal justice that both defines our common humanity and promotes our common progress. This is the template of refugee reform.

[ Download the full report A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System.pdf ]

Notable recommendations from the report:

  • The WRC calls for the establishment of a new independent partnership to promote changes to the global system for refugees and IDPs: the Global Action Network for the Forcibly Displaced (“The Global Action Network”).

    The Global Action Network will be an independent political process operating outside the formal intergovernmental context. It will begin as a small group of committed governments and other actors who are willing to work together to bring about fundamental change in the way we respond to the needs of the forcibly displaced — both refugees and those displaced internally.

    The Global Action Network will champion and lead change in the global refugee system — change that builds on and goes well beyond the GCR. As its momentum develops, others will join in. This approach draws on the political experience of members of the WRC who have seen first-hand what can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time by a nucleus of committed people working “from the outside in” for change in the world.

[ Read: A Global Action and Fund for Force Migrants: A Proposal ]

  • The WRC recommends that the World Bank, the IMF and regional financial institutions develop fair and effective means of reducing allocations to countries causing displacement and that they reallocate these funds to support governments hosting refugees, with requirements mandated to ensure a gender-responsive approach.
  • The WRC believes that financial measures should be used as a tool for holding governments accountable for displacing people, specifically, by repurposing frozen assets and working with international financial institutions.


About the World Refugee Council

The World Refugee Council (WRC) is an independent group of individuals with experience in government, politics, business, academia and civil society, who have come together at the invitation of the Centre for International Governance Innovation and with the support of the Government of Canada and major foundations. NYU CIC Director Sarah Cliffe has been a councillor on the WRC since 2017.

The WRC’s mission has been to work together to build a political network of like-minded governments and civil society entities to pursue substantive reform of the refugee regime. The WRC follows in the path of similar collaborative efforts to promote international reform, such as the “Ottawa process” that achieved international agreement to ban landmines, the establishment of the International Criminal Court and the development of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept for protecting civilians. In these reform initiatives, the challenge was always to balance strongly entrenched views on sovereignty with the necessity of working collegially on global issues.

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Jan 24, 2019
Humanitarian Crises