Ahead of officials meeting on 14-15 December to take stock of progress towards the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns of dire gaps in international support for refugees and the communities that host them.

A recent report from the IRC, in collaboration with Danish Refugee Council and Norwegian Refugee Council, shows that in the three years since the United Nations General Assembly agreed the Compact:

In addition, the IRC remains concerned that forcibly displaced women and girls are being left behind in the global effort towards the ambitions of the Compact. The IRC and the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security today published a briefing highlighting the disadvantages they face in terms of their justice, inclusion and safety and calling for targeted support. It shows that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, displaced women generally faced much higher risks than host community women of violence at home, were consistently less likely to be financially included, and often experienced less freedom of movement. Households headed by displaced women were also more likely to be poor than those headed by displaced men. The pandemic has only compounded these disadvantages, but despite the growing needs of displaced women, UNHCR’s own progress report on the Compact provides very limited gender-disaggregated data and none on economic inclusion indicators. 

Farida Bena, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the IRC, said: “Time is running out to get the Global Compact for Refugees back on track, and the pandemic has only made the need for progress more urgent -- especially for women and girls. 

“The IRC is calling on the international community to rapidly reprioritise and recommit to global responsibility sharing, increase resettlement levels and the number of resettlement countries. More and better funding from a variety of actors, including multilateral development banks beyond the World Bank, is needed to meet the ambitions of the Compact.

“Across all of these efforts, the international community must prioritise commitments to empower and protect displaced women and girls. That means implementing commitments on self-reliance, financial inclusion and protection from violence, and explicitly monitoring progress for women when collecting data on progress toward the Compact’s objectives.”