Data

General Issues
Immigration & Migration
Specific Topics
Refugee Rights
Regional & Global Governance
Right to Representation
Location
Geneva
Geneva
Switzerland
Scope of Influence
Multinational
Links
Global Refugee-led Network Homepage
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
Repeated over time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Co-governance
Civil society building
Spectrum of Public Participation
Collaborate
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
Planning
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Propose and/or develop policies, ideas, and recommendations
Recruit or select participants
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Decision Methods
General Agreement/Consensus
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Traditional Media
Independent Media
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in how institutions operate
Changes in civic capacities
Changes in public policy
Implementers of Change
Stakeholder Organizations
Formal Evaluation
No

CASE

Global Refugee-led Network

April 18, 2022 jennahong
General Issues
Immigration & Migration
Specific Topics
Refugee Rights
Regional & Global Governance
Right to Representation
Location
Geneva
Geneva
Switzerland
Scope of Influence
Multinational
Links
Global Refugee-led Network Homepage
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
Repeated over time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Co-governance
Civil society building
Spectrum of Public Participation
Collaborate
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
Planning
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Propose and/or develop policies, ideas, and recommendations
Recruit or select participants
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Decision Methods
General Agreement/Consensus
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Traditional Media
Independent Media
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in how institutions operate
Changes in civic capacities
Changes in public policy
Implementers of Change
Stakeholder Organizations
Formal Evaluation
No

The Global Refugee-led Network (GRN) is a coalition of refugee leaders and refugee-led organizations that seeks to increase the direct representation of refugees' voices and perspectives within regional and global governance structures [1].

Problems and Purpose

In the status quo, refugees are frequently excluded from policy-making, even when those policies directly affect their lives. They are brought to the table only after policies have been set or are included merely at a tokenistic, superficial level. As a refugee-led organization (RLO), GRN works to put the lived experiences and expertise of refugees at the forefront of decision-making in order to advance ethical and effective protections for their welfare. According to the GRN mission statement, their purpose is to:

(i) increase refugee participation in shaping policies,

(ii) build refugee capacity to engage locally, nationally, regionally, and globally, and

(iii) strategically advocate for and promote inclusive human rights approaches to forced displacement. [2]


Background History and Context

The Global Summit of Refugees took place in Geneva from June 25-26, 2018, in preparation for the 2018 UNHCR NGO Consultations. Organized by refugees themselves, the summit was the first of its kind and coalesced around the need for an international platform to further refugee participation and self-representation. The summit brought together 72 refugee-led organizations and advocates from six continents to propose solutions for more inclusive policy for forcibly displaced people and the creation of a framework that posited RLOs as equal partners in global, cross-organization conversations. The Global Refugee-led Network arose out of this summit. [3]

The GRN is one of few organizations of its kind. It was previously known as the Network for Refugee Voices, which is now one of the regional RLOs that operates within its scope. [4] However, there are other RLOs that similarly seek to connect refugee activists and change-makers. Forcibly displaced Colombians in Argentina, for example, have built Migrantes y Exiliados Colombianos por la Paz (Migrants and Colombian Exiles for Peace), a regional network of refugees, in response to the armed conflict in Colombia. [5] The Global Youth Advisory Council (GYAC), a group of 15 refugee youth leaders appointed by the UNHCR, promotes the youth perspective within UNHCR activities. [6]


Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

Broadly, GRN is partnered with and supported by: Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Oxfam International, Open Science Framework, Settlement Services International, Independent Diplomat, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the IKEA Foundation. [7] These organizations provide funding, collaborate to produce research, and support the contents of said research. Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Open Society Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the International Federation of the Red Cross, Oxfam International, and Independent Diplomat helped launch the Refugee Participation Pledge, one of the GRN’s first actions. [8] Additionally, GRN partners with other institutions, such as the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility or the Center on International Cooperation, for individual projects. [9] Regional summits are convened and organized alongside relevant regional RLOs, such as the Diaspora Networks Alliance, New Women Connectors, and the Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands for the European Summit of Refugees and Migrants. [10] This summit was also supported by Independent Diplomat, the Dutch Refugee Council, the Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam International, the Open Society Foundations, and the European Programme on Integration and Migration. [11]


Participant Recruitment and Selection

The GRN is headed by a steering committee of 18 representatives, three from each of the six regions (North America, South America, Europe, Africa. MENA, Asia Pacific) GRN is engaged with. [12]

At the time of writing, no further information could be found.


Methods and Tools Used

In order to increase refugee representation and agency, the GRN supports the development of a robust refugee civil society. Regional chapters of the GRN organize discussion-based summits and conferences in order to develop policy recommendations and build a coalition of RLOs and advocates capable of influencing policy. [13] They also share the outcomes of those summits at larger, international meetings with other stakeholders, including national governments and international financial institutions, as they did at preparatory meetings for the 2019 GRF. [14]

At the time of writing, no further information could be found.


What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

Refugee Leadership in Response to COVID-19 Online Conference

This conference was held online April 8, 2020. Over 100 refugee leaders from around the world participated. [15]


European Summit of Refugees and Migrants

This summit was held May 4-6, 2019, in Brussels. The summit reached out to refugee advocates through a survey on the European Commission website ahead of the event and offered potential financial assistance for those invited who were unable to attend. [16] Over 60 refugee and migrant representatives from each of the EU countries, and over 40 delegates from international NGOs, the private sector, academia, EU institutions, the UNHCR, and foundations attended. [17]


Africa Refugee Summit

This summit was held December 2, 2019, in Addis Ababa. Approximately 70 refugee leaders from 11 African countries attended. [18]


Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

One of the GRN’s first actions was to submit the Refugee Participation Pledge and encourage governments and other organizations to sign on ahead of the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF). The pledge reads: “We pledge to support the meaningful participation of refugees and host communities in decisions that affect their lives. Participation should take into account the diversity within communities, including age, gender, and disability. This pledge will support the agency of those we seek to assist while improving the relevance, quality, transparency and accountability of that assistance. We furthermore commit to share experiences on the implementation of this pledge at subsequent Global Refugee Forums and/or high-level officials’ meetings.” [19] As of January 2022, the pledge had 17 signatories. [20]

In tandem with acts like the pledge, there is a growing push towards meaningful refugee inclusion. In 2019, Canada’s delegation to the GRF was advised by and included a refugee. In 2021, the United States and Germany included a refugee in their delegation to the UNHCR High-Level Officials Meeting. [21] The GRN has also successfully restructured the Annual Tripartite Resettlement Consultation on Refugees, leading to the establishment of the first-ever Refugee Steering Group. [22] On a national level, RLOs are gaining ground and becoming more involved in local policy-making. In Uganda, members of the GRN’s Africa chapter partnered with the International Refugee Rights Initiative to advance refugees’ rights to employment. The Africa chapter also secured an invitation to the 8th Annual African Union Humanitarian Symposium, where they presented recommendations from refugee communities about topics ranging from climate change to COVID-19. [23]

The GRN has also led to the creation of other initiatives that seek to facilitate and empower refugee leadership. These include:

  • Mapping project - The Latin America chapter of the GRN has begun mapping RLO initiatives within the region and plan to share the results on an open-access webpage in 2022. This will both assist displaced people in more easily accessing critical resources and increase the visibility of Latin American RLOs to governments, international organizations, and donors. [24]
  • Emerging Leaders initiative - the European chapter of the GRN has launched an initiative to provide eight months of capacity development and skills-building to refugee leaders. [25]
  • Refugee Leadership Alliance - the Asia Pacific chapter of the GRN has launched a consortium of RLOs that pools funding for under-resourced RLOs in the region to provide them with greater, more reliable funding. [26]


Analysis and Lessons Learned

The GRN’s successes even as a relatively young institution, serve as evidence that RLO initiatives can succeed. However, there are significant roadblocks to increased meaningful refugee participation. Due to issues with travel documents or legal status, refugees face high barriers to participation for in-person fora or meetings. Those who participate without secure legal status issued by the host government are likely to be at risk of detention, deportation, or violence, particularly for women. Even when refugees can participate safely, they are also systematically disadvantaged in terms of experience. [27] For example, although an effort was made to increase refugee representation at the 2019 GRF, refugees constituted only 2% of participants and were limited to advisory roles as opposed to direct participatory ones. The GRN managed to secure access to the drafting process for a UNHCR report that would outline the benchmark for evaluating the Global Compact on Refugees’ (GCR) implementation. However, their representatives lacked the connections to directly influence the report and frequently had their legitimacy questioned. [28] In general, RLOs do not have the connections, resources, or expertise necessary to execute the type of strategic private lobbying that other actors can take advantage of. [29] As a result, it is insufficient for refugees to simply be invited into conversations about their lives–other actors must take proactive measures to ensure that that invitation is more than an empty gesture or tokenization.

Such measures could include:

  • Increasing access for refugees with limited mobility. This could take the form of providing support for obtaining travel documents or of arranging dial-in or video-in options for meetings. The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees offered a virtual participation option for a meeting in 2019 which allowed representatives from 10 countries to join the discussion. [30]
  • Developing RLO advocacy capacity. Different institutions can lend assistance in different ways. Donors can provide training and support in grant management; private consultants can offer their services pro bono; the UNHCR can provide training on programmatic and operational topics. Institutions should take inspiration from the Emerging Leaders initiative and provide refugees with the opportunity to develop policy advocacy, communication, and project management skills as well as foster mentor relationships. This is happening with a refugee mentorship program in Canada. [31]
  • Funding RLOs. In addition to compensating refugees for their participation in panels and other projects, institutions should provide core funding for RLOs. This reduces their reliance on one-off injections of capital and allows them to grow more sustainably and plan for the long term. [32]


See Also

References

[1]  Global Refugee Network, "About Us," Global Refugee Network, https://globalrefugeenetwork.org/index.php/en/about-us.

[2] Global Refugee Network, "About Us."

[3] Policy Discussion and Outcomes Paper, (Online: Global Summit of Refugees, 2018), https://www.networkforrefugeevoices.org/uploads/1/0/9/9/109923753/gsor_outcomes_and_policy_paper_final.pdf.

[4] Emily E. Arnold-Fernández (2019), "National Governance Frameworks in the Global Compact on Refugees: Dangers and Opportunities," International Migration, 57(6), pp. 188-207, https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12643.

[5] Policy Discussion and Outcomes Paper

[6] Hayley Drozdowski and Mark Yarnell, "Promoting Refugee Participation In The Global Refugee Forum: Walking The Walk," Refugees International, https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2019/7/11/promoting-meaningful-participation-in-the-global-refugee-forum-walking-the-walk.

[7]  Global Refugee Network, "Our Partners/Donors," Global Refugee Network, https://globalrefugeenetwork.org/index.php/en/about-us/our-partners-donors.

[8] Global Refugee Network, "Press Statements," Global Refugee Network, https://www.globalrefugeenetwork.org/index.php/en/publications-and-news/press-statements.

[9] A Trans-Border Manifesto: Five Pillars of Three-Year Change (Online: Global Refugee-led Network, 2018), https://zolberginstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2.-GRN-Manifesto_Final.pdf.

[10] "Interview on the European Summit of Refugees and Migrants: 'We Thought that Europeans Should Hear from Us,'" European Council on Refugees and Exiles, https://ecre.org/interview-on-the-european-summit-of-refugees-and-migrants-we-thought-that-europeans-should-hear-from-us/.

[11] "Interview on the European Summit of Refugees and Migrants."

[12] Global Refugee Network, "About Us."

[13] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation, (Online: Global Refugee-led Network, 2021), https://wrmcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/GRN-Power-and-The-Margins-The-State-of-Refugee-Participation.pdf.

[14] Refugee engagement and participation in the Global Refugee Forum, (Online: Global Refugee Forum, 2018), https://www.unhcr.org/5e8b2a107.pdf.

[15] Mustafa Alio et al. (2020), "By Refugees, for Refugees: Refugee Leadership during COVID-19, and Beyond," International Journal of Refugee Law, 32(2), pp. 370-73, https://doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eeaa021.

[16] Monica Li, "European Summit of Refugees & Migrants – Share your ideas and experiences!" European Website on Integration, https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/news/european-summit-refugees-migrants-share-your-ideas-and-experiences_en.

[17] "Interview on the European Summit of Refugees and Migrants."

[18] Tigist Gebru, "Africa Refugee Summit concludes with call for enhanced refugee participation and self-representation," Oxfam in Horn, East and Central Africa, https://heca.oxfam.org/latest/press-release/africa-refugee-summit-concludes-call-enhanced-refugee-participation-and-self.

[19] Global Refugee Network, "Press Statements."

[20] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[21] Global Refugee Network, "Press Statements."

[22] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[23] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[24] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[25] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[26] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[27] Meaningful Refugee Participation as Transformative Leadership, (Online: Global Refugee-led Network), https://globalrefugeenetwork.org/images/downloads/meaningful-refugee-participation-guidelines_web.pdf.

[28] Power & The Margins: The State of Refugee Participation.

[29] Arnold-Fernández, "National Governance Frameworks in the Global Compact on Refugees."

[30] Meaningful Refugee Participation as Transformative Leadership.

[31] Meaningful Refugee Participation as Transformative Leadership.

[32] Meaningful Refugee Participation as Transformative Leadership.


External Links

Notes