Q: What is the “global refugee crisis”?

A: Today nearly 80 million people around the world have been forced from their homes. 26 million are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. These numbers continue to rise and refugees are spending longer in exile than ever before. The international response has been uneven and the number of states willing to take in refugees continues to shrink. As it stands, 50 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by 10 states in the Global South, and three states account for 73 percent of global refugee resettlement efforts. Less than 0.5 percent of refugees are currently being resettled.

Q: What is driving the crisis?

A: The global refugee system, established in the aftermath of World War II, is simply inadequate. The current global refugee system is failing to meet the protection and provision needs of those forced to flee their homelands. When conflict erupts, countries of first asylum unexpectedly find themselves coping with millions of refugees within their borders, while support from the international community is typically ad hoc, sporadic and woefully inadequate.

Q: Why has there been an uneven response to crises?

A: One of the key shortfalls of the current refugee protection system is that while countries of first asylum have an obligation to receive refugees and not to forcibly return them to a country where they legitimately fear for their lives, other states have no comparable obligation to share the responsibilities and costs associated with the provision of asylum.

Q: What progress has been made?

A: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is leading the global coordination of responses to refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. New progress began with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which paved the way for a consensus-driven effort that resulted in the UNHCR affirming a new Global Compact for Refugees in December 2018.

Q: What does the World Refugee & Migration Council do?

A: The World Refugee & Migration Council is a group of leaders, innovators and influencers aimed at devising a new, predictable and cooperative refugee system. The Council researches and offers recommendations on how to best manage refugee movements proactively and comprehensively, based on the principles of international cooperation and responsibility sharing. Specifically, the Council’s work draws on technology, financing and international refugee law to advance a new vision for global cooperation for refugees.