The global refugee system is facing pressing challenges as a result of ineffective governance, a lack of political will, insufficient and inefficient financing, and an absence of accountability. As of June 2018, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, including 40 million IDPs and 25.4 million refugees. In recognition of the urgent need to fill gaps in the international protection system for refugees and IDPs, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants on September 19, 2016. Member states agreed to work toward the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).
The WRC was launched in May 2017 by CIGI to complement the GCR process and in recognition of the need to work beyond the confines of the UN system to enact transformative systemic change through a series of recommendations supported by a wide range of actors and institutions. The WRC consulted with hundreds of experts from around the world, including civil society, private sector and government actors; refugees and other forcibly displaced persons; and representatives of international and regional organizations. Their names appear in the Acknowledgements at the end of this document. This consultation process involved more than 10 conferences, workshops and site visits on five continents. As a result of these consultations, the Council focused its recommendations on seven key areas — governance, responsibility sharing, political will, gender, finance, technology and accountability — in order to enact the changes needed to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of the system. Lloyd Axworthy, former foreign minister of Canada, chaired the Council, joined by 23 distinguished individuals representing a wide range of stakeholders from around the world.
The Council commissioned more than 20 papers on topics including financing for host states, accountability, gender equality, the impact of hosting refugees, xenophobia, cities and refugees, political will, responsibility sharing, governance, durable solutions, refugee entrepreneurship, IDPs, technology, youth engagement and other research areas relevant to refugees and IDPs. This scholarship informed the deliberations of the Council and the recommendations put forward in this report. The Council’s diverse expertise and its concerted efforts to engage with key stakeholders have given the Council a unique opportunity to create an actionable vision for a well-functioning global refugee and IDP system.