Global Migration Centre
08 June 2021

Interview with Perveen Ali

Perveen Ali, Senior Policy Advisor /Team Head of the Global Compact on Refugees Coordination Team, was our guest for the Global Migration Lecture where she discussed the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees in light of the UNHCR 70th anniversary celebration and consitution of the 1951 Convention for Refugees.

We are pleased to share her interview as well as the recording of the conference, 'Refugee protection and responsibility-sharing : the quest for international solidarity'  featuring, Sergio Carrera, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Justice and Home Affairs unit at CEPS. And Professor at the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) in the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (Italy).  And Guy S Goodwin Gill, Professor of Law at UNSW.

Global Migration Lecture Series
Refugee protection and responsibility-sharing : the quest for international solidarity


What brought you to the field of Refugee protection and international solidarity?

I first become involved in the field of human rights and refugee protection in 1992 when, during my second year of university, I worked as a volunteer in a camp for Bosnian refugees, many of whom had survived extreme violence and trauma. That experience was formative and led to my decision to work in this field both as a researcher and practitioner.

What is the key idea of your lecture?

The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) has the potential to transform the way that we respond to refugee situations. In a world where 85 per cent of refugees are hosted in developing countries, the GCR is a recognition that more equitable and predictable responsibility sharing is needed to ensure that host countries have the support they need and refugees have access to protection, assistance, and solutions from the outset. Underpinned by an expanded approach to multilateralism, the GCR sets out a blueprint for how States and a wide range of other stakeholders can work together to ease pressures on host countries, build resilience, expand opportunities for resettlement and complementary pathways, and foster conditions for voluntary repatriation of refugees in safety and dignity.

What are your future projects?

In the spirit of the “whole of society” approach envisioned in the GCR, UNHCR is working with governments, international organizations, humanitarian and development actors, the private sector, academics, local authorities and local actors, networks of cities and municipalities, parliamentary networks, faith-based actors, civil society organizations, sports and cultural organizations, and most importantly refugees, to translate the vision and ambitions of the compact into concrete improvements in the lives of refugees and host communities. Together, we are learning from and building on the commitments, promising practices, and arrangements set out in the GCR to:

  • Expand support for refugees and host communities by bringing more actors to the table, facilitating innovative approaches to partnerships and solidarity, strengthening national arrangements and whole-of -government approaches, and leveraging regional arrangements set out in the GCR, such as the support platforms.
  • Ensure that pledges made by all of these actors at the first Global Refugee Forum, the key arrangement for facilitating responsibility sharing set out in the GCR, are implemented, with a particular focus on ensuring that pledges of financial, technical, and material support are directed to support the implementation of policy pledges made by host countries to protect and include refugees.
  • Prepare for the medium to long-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a view to addressing the socio-economic and protection impacts on refugees and the communities who host them.
  • Encourage the replacement of camp-based responses with approaches that facilitate freedom of movement and access to work and basic services with a view to enhancing self-reliance.
  • Further integrate refugee protection and solutions objectives in national development, peace, and recovery planning processes, and in work aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Further operationalize the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, recognizing that in addition to humanitarian support based on humanitarian principles in times of emergency, development cooperation, which is complementary, can help ensure a more sustainable response over the longer term.
  • Strengthen data collection and analysis to provide the evidence base necessary for effective policy development and to inform the cultivation of future pledges and commitments towards the objectives of the GCR.