World: UNHCR Recommendations to the European Union: Resettlement Needs and Key Priorities for 2021, October 2020

In the past ten years, the number of forcibly displaced people has nearly doubled. In 2019, the number of people
forced to flee (inside and beyond the borders) grew to 79.5 million – the highest ever recorded. Refugee situations
continue to increase in scope, scale and complexity, whereas durable solutions provided to refugees are at levels that fall well below needs.

The Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways translates the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) into a global plan for action to build the structures to increase the number of resettlement and complementary pathways places. It also seeks to expand the number of engaged countries and improve the availability and predictability of third country solutions for refugees. The Strategy foresees resettlement of one million refugees and admission of two million through complementary pathways by 2028. More specifically, the Strategy calls for an incremental increase of 10,000 resettlement admissions per year. The global resettlement admissions target was set at 70,000 refugees for 2020 and at 80,000 for 2021. It will be reaching 150,000 refugees by 2028.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact with border closure and travel restrictions and placed a significant obstacle in securing third country solutions for refugees in 2020. The pandemic’s toll on European countries has been significant. Despite the major challenges caused by COVID-19, EU Member States remained engaged with UNHCR to find ways to keep resettlement programmes running: scores of refugees with emergency protection needs have been able to depart for resettlement; and innovative modalities have been adopted to maintain resettlement processing. UNHCR welcomes the support and assistance provided by EU Member States and local communities to refugees.

With the resumptions of travel and admissions since June 2020, UNHCR stands ready to support States in their efforts. UNHCR is very pleased to see several arrivals to EU countries, including from the Niger Emergency Transit Mechanisms and calls on countries to assist and expedite departures in order to continue evacuations from Libya.

UNHCR welcomes the Pact on Migration and Asylum and looks forward to working with Member States and the EU. The Pact is a foundation for growing resettlement and complementary pathways in 2021 and beyond in reflection of the goals of the Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways.

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