Reinforcing regional responses to forced displacement through Support Platforms
The Global Refugee Forum saw the launch of three Support Platforms, each of which aims to mobilize support for specific displacement contexts. As called for in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), the Support Platforms are led by States and seek to mobilize a wide range of actors for the regional response to a particular refugee situation. While the Platforms are working towards the same overarching aims - greater burden and responsibility sharing and increased technical, financial, and material support for host countries and communities - each Platform is tailored to the specific context on which it is focused.
As the third part of a series of progress updates since the GRF, this article will focus on developments that have taken place under each of the Support Platforms.
Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees(SSAR)
Following the launch of the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) in December 2019, UNHCR worked closely with the Governments of the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, to further refine the architecture, technical modalities, and practical aspects of the Platform.
In March 2020, the United Nations system committed, at the highest level, to pursuing area-based humanitarian, development and peace investments in the Priority Areas for High Return and Reintegration (PARRs), as a concrete confidence-building measure in support of the emerging peace process.
More recently, on 6 July 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees chaired a High-Level Meeting on the SSAR Support Platform to galvanize further engagement of the international community. During the event, a flagship document “A Partnership for Solidarity and Resilience”,developed jointly with the three Governments to identify the most urgent priority needs, was presented to encourage development investments and engagement by a wide range of partners, ensuring the most efficient and impactful use of resources.
Designed to be scalable, the portfolio of projects set out in the document is geared towards building the resilience of individuals and communities and enabling solutions. In the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan, the projects support generous Government efforts to include Afghan refugees in national systems and social services, notably in the areas of health, education, youth empowerment, and the development of human capital. In the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the projects focus on 15 priority areas of return and reintegration (PARRs).
A number of countries, UN partners, and civil society organizations reaffirmed their support for the Platform at the High-Level Meeting. The European Union, Denmark, Germany, the Republic of South Korea, the United States, and Japan, as well as the World Bank and UNDP, have formally confirmed their membership in the Core Group for the Platform, and more confirmations are expected.
The Support Platform for the Comprehensive Regional Framework for Protection and Solutions (MIRPS) aims to strengthen protection, encourage responsibility-sharing and develop lasting solutions in response to forced displacement in Central America and Mexico.
The government of Spain officially took the leadership of the Support Platform for the MIRPS during a High-Level virtual event on 29 June 2020. Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), El Salvador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (pro-tempore presidency), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees participated in the virtual launch.
In the coming 12 months, the three objectives of the Platform are to give visibility to this forced displacement situation, mobilize support for the MIRPS countries, and promote the exchange of good practices and lessons learned. Prior to the launch, the members of the Platform endorsed a Governance Note and outlined the Work Plan for 2020. A meeting to present the progress made to date was subsequently organised on 28 August 2020.
Support Platform for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
The Support Platform for IGAD aims to galvanize political commitment and advocate for solutions for people forced to flee. The objective of the Platform is to mobilize financial, material, and technical assistance, maintain a high-level overview, and ensure coherence of relevant humanitarian, development, and peace initiatives in the region. It also aims to play a convening role, bringing together Member States to provide an overview of gaps, challenges and progress made in the IGAD region with the goal of soliciting further engagement from donors and other stakeholders.
A virtual meeting of the Core Group of the Nairobi Process (IGAD, WB, GIZ, UNDP, EU, UNHCR) was organised by IGAD in early July to update on the IGAD COVID-19 response and discuss the agenda for the rest of the year.
Due to COVID-19, the Heads of State stocktaking meeting on ;the Nairobi Process originally planned for October 2020 will be moved to early 2021. A third thematic Ministerial conference on health (following the meeting on education in Djibouti in 2017 and the meeting on jobs and livelihoods in Kampala in 2019) is planned for the end of November 2020. A technical committee of the Core Group for the Platform was tasked to exchange further and recommend next steps, including the organization of a virtual Support Platform meeting at the end of October.
The Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, in Sudan’s role as Chair of IGAD, organized a consultation in Geneva in mid-July, at which the IGAD Secretariat presented an overview of progress made to date with the Nairobi Process, and IGAD Member States reiterated their support for the operationalization of the IGAD Support Platform. Meanwhile, several IGAD Member States and stakeholders also have submitted progress updates on the implementation of their GRF pledges in the region.
The Support Platforms are building the necessary momentum to strengthen and sustain the international community’s response to the most protracted and complex refugee situations. Embodying the spirit of burden and responsibility sharing integral to the Compact, the IGAD, MIRPS, and SSAR Support Platforms provide a vital mechanism for achieving the objectives of the GCR.