Resettlement Plus: Clearing the Path to Safety and Opportunity for Refugees
Elizabeth Collett, Director of MPI Europe and Senior Advisor to MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration
Preeta Law, Deputy Director, Division of International Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Paolo Naso, Professor of Political Science, La Sapienza University of Rome; and Coordinator of Mediterranean Hope (A project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI)
Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow, MPI
As Syria marks its fifth anniversary of civil war, the future of the 4.8 million refugees who have sought protection in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and farther afield looks ever more uncertain. In the face of the biggest crisis of displacement in more than half a century, innovative and actionable approaches to protection and self-reliance are critical.
How can governments deliver real change? On March 30, UNHCR hosted a meeting of global leaders to consider what can be done to connect Syrians with opportunities to settle, work, and live outside the immediate region of the conflict. Greater resettlement is important, but there is growing space—and demand—for new ideas that can work at scale. The conference encouraged governments to explore not only expanding traditional resettlement, but also using other pathways, such as humanitarian admission, family reunification, labor mobility, and scholarships to grant entry to Syrians in need. Success would alleviate the pressure on countries hosting millions of refugees, and may sow the seeds of a new era in international protection, where dependence is the exception, not the rule.
MPI Europe hosted a discussion, immediately following this ministerial meeting, to examine the outcomes of the conference, and provide an analysis of how states and civil society can work together to realize the intensifying calls for new pathways to support the safe and legal migration—and successful integration—of refugees in practice. Speakers consider what initiatives already exist to facilitate the legal mobility of refugee groups, and critically assess the potential and pitfalls that come with each. The discussion also examines new and creative ideas that have emerged in the wake of the Syria crisis.