AJUMUN President Remarks
On 21 April 2019, Fr. Arturo Sosa, Father General of the Society of Jesus, through the Second Universal Apostolic Preference of the Society of Jesus, called all Jesuits and all Jesuit institutions to “Walk with the Excluded: walk with the poor, the outcast of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice.” In 2020, Arrupe Jesuit University (AJU) heeded this call by establishing Arrupe Jesuit University Model United Nations (AJUMUN), a platform through which AJU students host a conference that emulates the proceeding and structures of the United Nations General Assembly in discussing prevalent issues concerning refugees and displaced persons throughout the globe. The students, thus, have the opportunity to fight for justice for the displaced persons by shaping the future of the said displaced persons through the resolutions drafted in the conference which are submitted to the UNHCR. In this background, AJUMUN has since 2019 held an annual 2-day conference with the 2022 annual conference being the most recent of the said conferences. In the said 2022 conference, which had 35 delegations representing different 35 member states of the United Nations General Assembly, AJUMUN participants discussed two major issues concerning displaced persons. On the first day, the members discussed the theme of “Finding Durable Solutions for Refugees,” whilst on the second day, they discussed the theme of “Climate change and displacement”. This page makes you part of the 2022 conference by presenting the speeches, position papers, and resolutions that were made and adopted at the conference. Your journey through this page makes you interact with the opening speeches delivered to the assembly by the Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe His Excellency Paolo Rudelli, The Ambassador of Australia to Zimbabwe, the UNCHR representatives to Zimbabwe, and the position papers presented by the various delegations in this conference. Thank you for being part of the journey in 2022; let’s walk together in the coming journey of 2023 and beyond!
Joseph Kachitsa, SJ
AJUMUN President (2021-2022)
Your Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Your excellency the Ambassador of Australia to Zimbabwe, Your Excellency the Ambassador of Kenya, to Zimbabwe, Your Excellency the Ambassador of Ghana, to Zimbabwe, Pro- Vice chancellors, Representatives of other Universities, Lecturers and Students of Arrupe Jesuit University, participants who are following us online, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning! May I welcome you all to The Model United Nations Conference at Arrupe Jesuit University.
In this year’s Conference, we are reflecting on the plight of refugees with the desire to find a durable solution to this menace. During this year, the Model United Nations delegates is challenging young people to be part of the solution of discrimination and mistreatment by addressing themselves to finding durable solutions for refugees; climate change and displacement; ending statelessness and protecting LGBTIQ and refugees. Yes, young people can be part of the solution instead of propagating the suffering and humiliation. This demands serious reflection by objectively considering all the factors that have contributed to the challenges we are facing now with the refugees and the displaced persons with the aim of minimizing or eradicating them completely and promoting peace building and alternative means of conflict resolution and reconciliation of our world. They have to reflect on the causes of war and identify ways of eradication, production of ammunitions and generation of hostilities across the borders.
Individuals flee their mother land because of insecurity, unjustified intimidation and war. These are consequences of bad governance, quest for power and greed among those who lead these countries. These practices contribute to injustice, oppression, and discrimination in sharing the national resources, and intimidation of those who have the courage to voice their concerns on behalf of the weak and the vulnerable in the specific locale. UNHCR was established after the Second World War to address the challenges encountered by the displaced. It was meant to operate for a short time but the body is still with us, addressing the predicaments of refugees the internally displaced persons.
When the refugees abandon their homes, they find themselves homeless and at the mercy of the host country and their immediate host at the place where they settle temporarily. Even though there is a cardinal rule that the displaced people should not be returned to where they are fleeing, reports of Ukraine where the soldiers blocked Africans from boarding trains to flee for safety remains a disturbing phenomenon. In many occasions, especially in developing countries where the resources are limited, the refugees find themselves in refugee camps with very inhuman conditions. Some of these refugees are humiliated and discriminated against like what we have seen at the border of Poland and Ukraine. Selective approach to those who have maltreated the refugees and displaced persons especially by the UN has not made the work of ending the refugee situation in the world any easier. These are situations that no human being should be subjected to. There are however people of good will found in every place that these incidents occur. They put themselves at the service of the refugees. Pope John Paul II, in visiting the refugees at Morong, expressed gratitude to such people saying:
I am thinking of all the volunteer personnel who work in the camps and receiving centres, men and women who have extended hospitality in circumstances which often are very trying and difficult. To these volunteers and to the organizations which they represent, as well as to all those who work day after day and week after week assisting the refugees in the process of adapting to their new situations, I extend a special word of encouragement and praise… Finally, I ask everyone to join me in a heartfelt appeal to the nations. I appeal, in the presence of the Lord of history and before the Supreme Judge of human hearts, on behalf of all the displaced persons throughout the world. I appeal for increased aid for them, so that present efforts may be sustained, strengthened and reinforced. I appeal for continued prayers for all the refugees throughout the world and for the warmth of human concern and fraternal love towards every brother and sister who needs our solidarity and support. (Pope John Paul II, 1981)
This appeal of John Paul II reflects that the concern for refugees and the appeal for a definitive solution to this crisis has always been at the heart of the Church. Recalling the stand of Vatican II on Migration, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated:
One of the recognisable signs of the times today is undoubtedly migration, a phenomenon which during the century just ended can be said to have taken on structural characteristics, becoming an important factor of the labour market worldwide, a consequence among other things of the enormous drive of globalization… Naturally in this “sign of the times” various factors play a part. They include both national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, and legal and illegal migration, subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings. (Pope Benedict XVI, 2005)
The Pope is appalled by the suffering of these people. He laments that often when things seem to have settled down, we abandon reflecting on these situations and fail to stretch our minds to the causes of these human plights and suffering.
The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service(JRS) is to “seek to accompany, serve, and advocate the cause of refugees and other forcibly displaced people, that they may heal, learn and determine their own future”. Commenting on the fast deteriorating condition in Ukraine, it affirms, “JRS stands close in thoughts and prayers with people being forced to leave their homes… The majority of them intends to reach the Polish border and often need support or a place to spend the night on their way there. JRS refugee house, with a capacity of about 20 people, is currently been used to that end”.
JRS was founded by Father Pedro Arrupe of the Happy Memories following the plight of the South Vietnamese boat people who were exposed to the pirates in the high seas as they fled from the war in their motherland. Father Arrupe himself had seen the devastation and suffering after the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. JRS has continued being present to the refugees and the internally displaced in different parts of the world depending on meagre resources, generously contributed by people of goodwill and several Jesuits, men and women religious and other lay men and women accompany these suffering people thus giving them hope. Appreciating JRS in their 35th Anniversary, Pope Francis said:
The Jesuit Refugee Service works to offer hope and prospects to refugees, mainly through the educational services you provide, which reach large numbers of people and are of particular importance. Offering an education is about much more than dispensing concepts. It is something that provides refugees with the wherewithal to progress beyond survival, to keep alive the flame of hope, to believe in the future and to make plans. To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give. All your projects have this ultimate aim: to help refugees to grow in self-confidence, to realize their highest inherent potential and to be able to defend their rights as individuals and communities… Education affords young refugees a way to discover their true calling and to develop their potential. Yet all too many refugee children and young people do not receive a quality education. Access to education is limited, especially for girls and in the case of secondary schools. (Pope Francis, 2015)
The Pope laments, “In our day, the Church is called to go out into the streets of every existential periphery in order to heal wounds and to seek out the straying, without prejudice or fear, without proselytising, but ready to widen her tent to embrace everyone” (Pope Francis, 2021). Since the suffering of many people who end up being refugees is caused by bad governance, wanton greed and reckless quest for power and domination, and conscious that each human being has the potential of acting with brutality that would unsettle many, each of us has the responsibility of promoting peace in the world, starting with where we are. A violent and rude religious, unaccountable priest or bishop, and uncaring teacher, or employer are as good as those who have caused suffering of so many in our world. Individually and collectively, we have to work towards peace and harmony in our world. May I end by thanking all of you for participating in this conference.
May the Lord bless you abundantly.
Pope Benedict XVI. (2005, October 18). Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Papal Addresses. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Pope Francis. (2015, November 14). Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Members of the “Jesuit Refugee Service”. Papal Address. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Pope Francis. (2021, September 26). Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021. Papal Address. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Pope John Paul II. (1981, February 21). Address of His Holiness John Paul II During His Visit to the Refugees Camp in Morong. Papal Address. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Speech by the Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe
| “We Are All in the Same Boat” |
Speech by the Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe His Excellency Paolo Rudelli
I would like to stand on the existing protocol to recognise the various distinguished delegates of the Arrupe Jesuit University Model United Nations: the distinguished Observer, Fr. Evaristus Ekwueme SJ – the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academics, the Vice-Chancellor, Fr. Joseph Afulo, SJ for organising and supporting this wonderful initiative at AJU.
I am happy to welcome the distinguished Ambassador of Australia to Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Moules Bronte, who will also address participants to this event.
I would like to express a special greeting to the UNHCR Representative to Zimbabwe, here present, Mrs. Mwongeli Makau and her team.
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
I feel greatly honoured to have been invited to this opening ceremony of the General Assembly of the Arrupe Jesuit University Model United Nations Conference (AJUMUN), which has now reached its third edition. In this year’s conference, you will be discussing two topics:
Finding durable solutions for refugees
Climate change and displacement
I must commend you for choosing these topics out of others given by the UNHCR for this year’s Model UN Refugee challenge. As you are aware, these two topics are at the heart of Pope Francis’ teaching. They are also part of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, as defined by the Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ.
On migrants and refugees, Pope Francis has made all over the last years a great number of interventions. I just mention here that in July 2013, a few months after his election, in his very first trip outside Rome, he wanted to visit the Italian island of Lampedusa, in order to shake the conscience of Europeans about the tragedy of migrants and refugees that were putting their lives at risk, and often found death, in crossing the Mediterranean Sea on makeshift boats.
On 29 September 2019, marking the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis attended, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, the unveiling of a sculpture, depicting a group of migrants of various cultures and from different historical times. On that occasion, the Holy Father reminded the world that Jesus Christ too was a refugee in the “flight to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13-15) and that a durable solution to the issues of refugees is only possible if we reject the dominant “globalization of indifference.”
In his most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (2021), the Pope made an appeal to build an “ever wider “we”, and I quote: “The truth is that we are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single ‘we’, encompassing all of humanity.”
On climate change, Pope Francis published in 2015 the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, a landmark text, which emphasizes the need for all humanity to protect our common home, the Planet Earth, and calls for an ecological conversion. I quote: “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”
As we can see, “bringing the whole human family together”, in other words, “fraternity” is at the core of Pope Francis’ vision, and it plays an essential role both in dealing with migrants and refugees and in facing climate change. I must therefore congratulate you for choosing these two major issues so dear to the Holy Father.
I will add a note about the methodology of your work. Drafting your resolutions for the Model United Nations Conference, you will have to speak the language of international law. In other words, you have to do the effort of translating in a juridical language the values you deem important, the goals you want to promote, the solutions you see as opportune.
This task might be a challenging one, since most of you come not from a legal, but from a philosophical or theological background. However, I encourage you to take up the challenge. It is, by the way, the same challenge that we, as diplomats of the Holy See, face daily, participating into the life of the International Organisations. In that environment, we have to do the effort of speaking the values of the Gospel in a language that can be understandable for everybody.
I will give you just two examples of that, related to the two topics you have chosen. In 2017, in view of the negotiation of the United Nations Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees, the Holy See published the document “Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points”. This document, drafted by the Migrants and Refugees Section (of the Dicastery for Promotion of Integral Human Development), is structured around four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate migrants and refugees. It translates into the appropriate language of international human rights law, the values that we as the Catholic Church want to promote. Pope Francis referred many times to these four verbs in summarizing his approach to the migration phenomenon. A second text, published by the same Migrant and Refugee Section, is entitled “Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People”. I am sure that you will find in these two documents, available on the web, important insights for your work.
The juridical language can be seen sometimes as too arid, legalistic, and even minimalistic. However, it has at least two great advantages: first, it is precise, and can therefore define concrete engagements, assuring as well their enforcement. Secondly, it is a universally shared language. From this point of view, the effort of translating our values into the language of international law is also a way of building fraternity, inasmuch as we participate in the same endeavour together with people of different cultures, religions and backgrounds.
Dear friends, celebrating the last World Youth Day (21 November 2021), Pope Francis praised young people for their effort to protect the Earth’s environment and told them to “be free and authentic, be the critical conscience of society!” This is also my wish to you: be free, authentic and be the critical conscience of society through your debate in this Model UN Conference! I pray that you may have a fruitful meeting and come to meaningful resolutions.
Thank you for your attention.
I thank you all for your efforts and to give you my support in this endeavour. I thank you!
Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academics, Excellencies, distinguished guests, students, a very good morning to you all. All protocols observed
Delighted to have this opportunity to join you this morning. The subject for this first day of your model UN conference is an important and relevant one – all the more topical given current global developments and the tragedy we have been witnessing following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
I would also like to acknowledge the celebration earlier this week of International Women’s Day, and applaud Arrupe Jesuit University’s strong commitment to gender equality and social inclusion.
I’d like to talk first about refugee policy and provide a brief overview of Australia’s policy setting. But I know you’ll be hearing this morning from some real experts on refugee issues, from UNHCR, and I’m sure there’s some expertise among you as well. So I thought it would also be useful for me to share some of my experiences in multilateral work, particularly around the processes of negotiating resolutions, based on my previous overseas postings in Geneva and New York.
But first to touch briefly on refugee policy. It’s a vitally important and often sensitive humanitarian, social and political issue. Every country in the world has the right to determine who can enter their country and who can live in it. But at the same time, sadly there are millions of people around the world who for various reasons – including war, conflict, persecution – can’t stay in their home country and need alternative options in order to survive.
Australia has in place strict border control policies, but within this has traditionally accepted thousands of refugees each year for resettlement – around 15000 in 2019-20. Most have already been recognised as refugees by the UNHCR and have been referred to the Australian Government for resettlement. (These numbers are in addition to our migrant program for skilled and family migrants, and humanitarian program for refugees and humanitarian en-Australia works hard to ensure that refugees are supported comprehensively to settle into Australia when they arrive).
Resettlement is one of three durable solutions the UNHCR is mandated to implement in cooperation with countries – such as Australia and Zimbabwe – that have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. The other two durable solutions are local integration in the country of refuge, and voluntary repatriation, or return to one’s home country.
As I flagged, what I’d like to focus on this morning is sharing some of my own experience in the processes you’re going to be involved in today – that is negotiating a UN resolution.
I was involved in UN work on two of my previous overseas postings with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Geneva and New York. In both cases I wasn’t part of the UN Secretariat, but rather part of Australia’s permanent delegations to the UN in Geneva and New York – so I was representing Australia’s official positions in these multilateral fora.
Negotiating a UN resolution is a fascinating insight into what the UN is really all about. That is, broadly speaking, finding ways to develop and promote norms, principles and actions that are in our collective interests, in every country’s interest in peace, stability, sustainable growth, ending poverty and jointly tackling global challenges. It’s all about identifying and working together, about what’s in everyone’s best interests, rather than just the interests of one country or a small group of countries.
So a good resolution, one that stands a chance of having a good impact, is one which clearly identifies and reflects collective interests and goals. Of course, each country represented at the UN serves their respective national interests. But the goal at the UN is to bring common aspects of these interests together and work through different views as far as possible, for the common good.
Needless to say, negotiating this can be extremely difficult, because countries bring a lot of competing and conflicting interests to the table. So to try to help develop consensus on an issue, you’ll often see countries working in their respective regional groups – such as the African Group, the Latin American and Caribbean Group, or the non-aligned movement more broadly.
But you can also have a lot of impact by developing cross-regional coalitions – finding out where and how interests intersect between countries across different parts of the globe. From a personal perspective, I always found this sort of coalition building a particularly satisfying part of the job. And of course, consensus is all about compromise. Each country has to make tough decisions about where and how they might make trade-offs.
When consensus can’t be achieved, a vote on the resolution is needed, so lobbying gears up around voting patterns, as the resolution’s cosponsors work to maximise the number of countries voting in favour of the resolution.
Once a resolution is adopted, there is the question of what next? Why does it matter? Some resolutions do establish specific programs of action, or recommendations for actions, around various goals and aspirations.
They won’t always result in immediate action, especially if the resolution isn’t adopted by consensus. But they can still help promote action and build up global standards for the common good. This might take place only bit by bit, over time, sometimes through annual resolutions over many years.
Nevertheless, establishing frameworks and principles which most countries agree are good for the global community, for global security and development, is worthwhile. When resolutions succeed in doing this, over the short or long term, it does reflect part of the UN’s founding purpose.
One important point to remember when negotiating resolutions, and in multilateral work generally, is that although delegates from each country work off the basis of instructions and the policy settings of their headquarters, they are still individual people with their own characters, personalities and styles of interaction.
This can have a significant impact on the resolution negotiating process. For example, some negotiators might be a bit combative by nature, or they might be natural peace builders, or charismatic and charming.
All of this can have some bearing on the negotiating process. It can make things quite difficult at times, and at times quite entertaining. But generally speaking, people who have the ability to empathise, and to see and understand other points of view – even if they don’t agree with them – tend to be more effective negotiators.
A final point, in my experience, is that good negotiators tend to be the people who’ve thoroughly done their homework – they know a lot about the issues under consideration, they know the history of the resolution, what different countries have done in the past, what the sticking points or intractable issues are. A really good knowledge of this helps a negotiator to work through the tough issues and broker compromises and solutions where needed.
All this takes patience and creativity. There can be a lot of stubbornness in multilateral negotiation, and it sometimes requires long, hard hours to get results. But it’s usually worth it.
I wish you all the best for this model UN conference and for your future careers in global affairs.
Day One: Finding Durable Solutions for Fefugees
|Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) |
Country: Republic of Turkey
Topic: Finding Durable Solutions for Refugees from Syrian
Although the conflict in Syria has calmed significantly since 2020, the country remains mired in a long running crisis, with a political solution still a long way off. As a result, relief workers must adapt to changing humanitarian demands. In order to do so, they must acknowledge that the Syrian situation is undergoing a paradigm shift. While conflict-related violence continues to be a significant part of the humanitarian landscape, other challenges of a deeper, systemic nature are becoming increasingly prominent. Threats to the cross-border system, the implementation of early recovery number programming, new realities surrounding refugee repatriation, and rising economic volatility and food shortages are just a few of them.
It should be pointed out that the Republic of Turkey is a major recipient of refugees from the Syrian crisis. Turkey is home to close to 3.6 million refugees, making Turkey the country with the highest of refugees in the world. The nature of the Syrian refugee crisis necessitates durable solutions in order for refugees to have hope and dignity in the future. The government of Turkey proposes the following comprehensive protection and durable solutions: supporting host country resilience; ensuring planning and support for voluntary, safe, and dignified return; increasing access to resettlement and other safe (complementary) pathways to a third country; and expanding and promoting local solutions and durable refugee protection, such as access to basic social services, well-being, and self-reliance. Local solutions and chances are an important type of protection because they give refugees with durable opportunities that reduce the need for destructive coping mechanisms.
Durable Solutions to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
The key durable solutions for refugees from Syria are resettlement to a third country, voluntary return to Syria in safety and dignity, and protection and assistance in countries of asylum. The following policy, programmatic, and strategic directions are being pursued across the area to promote access to durable solutions and informed decision-making while preserving asylum space:
- Expanding resettlement and alternative admittance channels to third-country destinations, such as family reunion, labour mobility, and academic scholarships;
- Advocating for Syrian refugees who are studying or working, visiting relatives, or have other legitimate reasons to travel to a third nation to be readmitted to host countries;
- Advocating for the regularization of short-term visits to Syria, as well as readmission to host nations.
- Working with the Syrian government and other agencies on housing, land, and property (HLP), civil registration and paperwork, and other protection problems inside Syria that could benefit Syrian returnees, displaced people, and affected communities;
- Supporting vulnerable self-organized returnees on a case-by-case basis, including by assisting individuals and through community-based interventions;
- Advocating for international assistance to refugee-hosting countries so that they can continue to provide a dignified environment for refugees.
Update: Durable Solutions for Syrian Refugees – ReliefWebReliefWebhttps://reliefweb.int › report › turkey › update-durable…ReliefWebhttps:// reliefweb.int › report › turkey › updatedurable…Aug 8, 2017
|Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees |
Country: The Democratic Republic of Congo
Topic: Finding Durable Solutions for Refugees
Learning from Experience of being Source and Host Nation of Refugees
In the past few years, The Democratic Republic of Congo has had its own share of civil wars which has led to The DRC contributing to the number of refugees in the Eastern and central parts of Africa. In the same vein, the Democratic Republic of Congo has also been found to be a place of safe haven by our neighbouring countries when they also find themselves fleeing from war. This is to point the house to the fact that The Democratic Republic of Congo is a nation that can be seen as one that is both a host nation for refugees and a nation of origin for refugees. The solutions, therefore, given by the Democratic Republic of Congo, are more centred on the experiences of this country, both as a country of origin for refugees and also as a host nation for refugees. The Democratic Republic of Congo plays host to a little over 500,000 refugees (UNHCR). Whilst it has produced a little over 1 million refugees spread across Africa also, therefore, for us as a country, this delegation finds it very crucial to talk about the refugee situation and find durable solutions for them.
Three Major Durable Solutions
The DRC, in partnership with other stakeholders, have come up with plans in resonance with the three major durable solutions for refugees according to the rand campaign. They state that, “Humanitarian agencies aim for one of three durable solutions for them: voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement, with repatriation being the preferred solution.” (Rand Agency). This DRC believes that the rand agency has pointed out the three major durable solutions for refugees. Further, The DRC has tried its best in terms of adhering to these three durable solutions for refugees who find themselves within our borders and for citizens of our nation who find themselves as refugees in other countries.
Work that the DRC is doing in terms of repatriating refugees back to their countries of Origin.
The DRC has partnered properly with UNHCR in order to make sure that the three durable solutions for refugees will work out among refugees living within our borders. For instance, in 2021: UNHCR and partners facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 435 Burundian and Rwandan refugees to their country of origin; Between 15 and 20 November, UNHCR and the DRC government facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 568 CAR refugees from Inke camp North Ubangi Province by UNHAS flight; UNHCR and partner AIDES distributed core relief items to7,851displaced people and vulnerable host community members in Fizi Territory, South Kivu Province; In November, 488 displaced households and host community members received core relief item kits in Lubero Territory, North Kivu Province; In November 2021, UNHCR and its partner CNR facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 162 Rwandan refugees and 273 Burundian refugees from North and South Kivu Province to their countries of origin. So far 1,749 Rwandan refugees and 7,288 Burundian refugees were repatriated from the DRC in 2021. For those who do not want to be repatriated, the government has made sure that NGOs who wish to provide for them have access to the refugees in order to provide the necessary physical, mental and emotional support to them.
Protection and Preservation of Lives of Refugees Within the DRC
The DRC has in many ways, partnered with so many NGOs and has helped protect and preserve the lives of refugees who live within our borders. For instance: During the month of November, UNHCR and CNR distributed refugee identity cards to an additional 2,691 Central African refugees in North and South Ubangi and in Bas Uele Provinces. The identity card is equivalent to a residence permit. It grants its holders the rights to work, education, access to healthcare, and freedom of movement within the country. Over 15,360 refugee ID cards have been distributed so far by the UNHCR in the three provinces affected by the CAR refugee influx. Secondly, Between 1 and 12 November, UNHCR and its government partner the CNR completed the registration of 882 newborns in the Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement (South Kivu Province) hosting Burundian refugees. UNHCR and the CNR also completed the registration of 546 asylum seekers at Monge.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on the experience from DRC, finding durable solutions for refugees is very feasible. However, every government ought to collaborate with NGOs in order to reach the point where durable solutions will be found for refugees.
Democratic Republic of the Congo – Operational Data PortalUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugeeshttps://data.unhcr.org › documents › download United Nations High Commissioner for Refugeeshttps:// data.unhcr.org › documents › downloadPDFNov 15, 2021
Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Country: The Republic of Ethiopia
Topic: Finding Durable Solutions for Ethiopian Refugees from the Tigray Region
Brief Background to the Tigray Crisis
On November 3, 2020, fierce fighting broke out between the Tigray People’s Liberation Forces (TPLF) and the Federal government. The fighting was prompted by an attack on Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Northern command bases and headquarters in the Tigray region by the TPLF. The United Nations estimated one million plus people to have been internally displaced by the fighting, at least by December 2020. The conflict has forced more than 45,000 people to flee to Sudan in search of safety. There are a number of Principles that a general framework for durable solutions should be based on. This delegation chooses to prioritize this: Prioritizing the best interests of refugees. – the protection and well-being of refugees must be a priority.
Durable solutions allow refugees to rebuild their lives and to live a dignified life. UNHCR works towards fulfilling these three durable solutions: Voluntary Repatriation, Local integration, and Resettlement. For Ethiopian, we advocate for Voluntary Repatriation of Ethiopian refugees back to their home. Further, the Ethiopian government proposes the following:
Provision of information and advice on the situation in the country of origin.
Facilitating return, by negotiating tripartite agreements between the country of asylum, country of origin and UNHCR.
Monitor the repatriation and reintegration process in cooperation with other key actors.
Promote development assistance and sustainable reintegration.
“Ethiopia Tigray emergency.” UNHCR Africa. https:// www.unhcr.org/ethiopia-tigray-emergency.html
“Durable Solutions For Refugees: Principles And Implementation Strategy Of A General Framework” https:// blogs.lse.ac.uk/humanrights/2016/11/21/durable-solutions -for-refugees-principles-and-implementation-strategy-of-a -general-framework/
The 10-Point Plan Solutions for refugees, Chapter 7. https://www.unhcr.org/50a4c17f9.pdf# See: http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/solutions.htm
Understanding the Root Cause of the Refugee Crisis: A Pathway towards
Finding Durable Solutions for Refugees
A Statement by Tanzanian Delegation on a Moderated Caucus Topic
Mr Chairperson: the Chancellor of Arrupe Jesuit University; the Vice Chancellor; Ambassador of Kenya to Zimbabwe; the ambassador of Italy to Zimbabwe; the Nuncio; Distinguished UNHCR Delegate; the Distinguished Local Observer; Distinguished Delegates; all protocol observed. Receive greetings from the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, the land of Ujamaa, and the home of Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. More solemnly, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the different committees which worked hand in hand to the fruition of this Conference. Not to forget the hospitality of the people and the government of Zimbabwe, I say thank you.
Mr Chairperson, allow me to recognize the commitments, efforts, and concerns shown by all delegations through the stance of their respective countries in the quagmire of finding durable solutions for refugees. With your prior permission, through this moderated caucus, let me also participate in this noble cause in trying to make the world a bearable and better place to live. The topic for this moderated caucus, Mr Chairperson, is: Understanding the Root Cause of the Refugee Crisis: A Pathway towards Finding Durable Solutions for Refugees.
In order for you and me to devise some kind of methods or strategies as part of the solutions to our problems we need to go to the root, we need to go to the cause. Dealing with the condition itself is not enough without addressing the root cause of the condition. Addressing a problem without understanding its cause is tantamount to treating the symptoms instead of treating the cause of the symptoms.
Mr Chairperson, allow me to use the following analogy to explain the need to address the cause of the problem rather than its manifestations:
Take a runny nose for example. If you have a runny nose, that is a symptom of an irritant to your nasal cavity. While it is important to take something to stop your runny nose, if you also don’t treat the cause, you will continue to have a runny nose. A runny nose can be caused by allergies, a bacterial or viral infection, and a host of other reasons. If you only take something for the runny nose, without treating the cause, you will have a runny nose indefinitely. If you treat the cause, the symptom will eventually stop (Stoler).
Mr Chairperson and fellow delegates, the above analogy makes a lot of sense to our endeavour of finding durable solutions for refugees. We need to understand that, before the refugee crisis erupts, there are a number of factors involved that force people to flee their home countries. It may be “because people’s lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalised violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which may have seriously disturbed public order” (UNHCR Emergency Handbook 3). There is a need to have a wide understanding of the history, politics, economics, culture, values, and religious beliefs, which in most cases are the root causes of conflicts and lack of peace in society.
Mr Chairperson, our country is a strong partner of UNHCR in joint efforts to find durable solutions to the situation of refugees who have successively found asylum and a second home within our territory.We share the same sentiments with the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme on the durable solutions for refugees which reaffirm that voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement are the traditional durable solutions. But this delegation believes that before voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement, there is a need to address the situation in the home countries which causes people to seek refuge. If we do not address the cause, even if we resettle or locally integrate all the refugees today, tomorrow we will receive new refugees. If we do not address the cause, even if all the refugees voluntarily agree to return to their home country today, tomorrow they will come back because what caused them to become refugees has not been tackled.
Mr Chairperson, our government has always considered voluntary repatriation of refugees to be the best solution to the refugee problem. In this regard, the government of Tanzania will continue to call upon the international community to take measures to promote conditions in the respective countries of origin which will not only encourage voluntary repatriation but also ensure that such repatriation is sustainable and irreversible. Such measures include steps towards the healing of ethnic, political, religious, or regional divisions and restoration of law and order, respect for human rights and good governance as well as social and economic development (The National Refugee Policy 6). Mr Chairperson, very few would prefer to stay in a foreign land as refugees even when the situation back home is normalised. It is in this context that local integration and resettlement become a temporary response rather than a permanent one in our endeavours to alleviate the plight of refugees.
Mr Chairperson, through UNHCR statistics it is evident that local integration and resettlement, has proven to be complex and demanding for both the individual and the receiving society. UNHCR estimates that, over the past decade, only 1.1 million refugees around the world became citizens in their country of asylum. At the end of 2020, there were 20.7 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, but less than one per cent of refugees are resettled each year (UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency Africa). Even those who return to their countries of origin, only about one-third of refugees manage to return after ten years, and the number is even less for resettlement and local integration. This leaves most refugees with an indeterminate status—indefinitely (Constant et al.). The difficulty in local integration or resettlement comes due to its legal, economic, social or even cultural implications as I have said before. This renders repatriation an ideal durable solution, but this can only be realistic if the situation in the country of origin is peaceful enough.
Mr Chairperson, there is a great need for governments, donors, and international organizations to focus their attention and efforts on the refugees’ home countries and come up with concrete solutions to the origin of the crisis. Improved conditions in the home country could facilitate the decision to return, but most people continue to face economic or other reintegration challenges after returning home (Constant et al.). Addressing the root cause of the refugee crisis needs to be pursued in combination with, and accompanied by efforts to develop interim strategies for a smooth and less traumatic reintegration.
Mr Chairperson, as it has always been said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” our country believes that the refugee crisis in one society or country affects all other societies or countries including Tanzania, either directly or indirectly. Mr Chairperson, our country abide by the principle of non-refoulement under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, Article 33(1) that “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” With that in mind, Tanzania has been home to many refugees throughout history, and as of 31st January 2022, the country is hosting approximately 250,000 refugees in two major camps Nyarugusu and Nduta (Operational Data Portal).
Mr Chairperson, Tanzania has always played a significant role in mediating, facilitating, and hosting peace talks in the Great Lakes region in Africa (Khadiagala 50-52). We put much effort into this because we believe that by solving the cause of the crisis we will be able to eradicate the crisis indefinitely. The future is promising, for instance, “Working with the government of Burundi, the international community’s support, UNHCR and partners, we have helped over 20,000 Burundian refugees to return home in 2021 (some 130,000 since 2017) voluntarily; we anticipate a voluntary return of 60,000 more in 2022 (UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency).
Mr Chairperson, our efforts in finding durable solutions have not always been smooth and swift. We have been encountering a number of challenges that push us back but we promise not to back off. One significant challenge is unwelcome living conditions for refugees in their home countries after returning. We believe that the end of armed conflict does not always create the conditions of peace and security necessary for sustainable returns. Though armed conflicts may have stopped, most returnees find themselves in difficult social and economic hardships, making it difficult for them to integrate into society. This causes some to find ways to return to their former host countries, even illegally.
Mr Chairperson, Tanzania’s determinations and inextinguishable commitments to finding durable solutions for refugees could have not been possible without the partnership and collaboration with different stakeholders. Allow me to extend our gratitude to The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), Save the Children; Oxfam; International Rescue Committee (IRC); The World Food Program (WFP); and all humanitarian agencies. As a way forward for finding durable solutions for refugees, this delegation urges this conference, delegates in this house, and the international community, through the following recommendations:
To engage more in collaborative efforts on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and stabilization operations to prevent unnecessary displacements from occurring. This requires cultivating a culture of dialogue and respect for conflicting opinions. Both national and international conflict resolution agencies must be respected and upheld.
To establish preparatory programmes for building refugees’ capacities for easy reintegration. To expound this, our government believes that education is a powerful tool in the process of adaptation and social integration. It forms the basis for personal development. Through education, refugees improve their chances to contribute to society through participation in the labour market and other processes when they go back home. Considering that refugees will eventually return home, and in order to make it easier for them to easily reintegrate into their societies, the government appeals to the international community through UNHCR and other agencies, to establish special schools and institutions in the camps in accordance with the curriculum used in their countries of origin for smooth reintegration (The National Refugee Policy 7).
There is also a need to focus on continual support for the immediate returnees to reintegrate into society for a definite period of time after a conflict. Most returnees need social, economic, and psychological support to re-establish and rebuild their families and communities. For refugees who have been uprooted and forced to flee, the process of rebuilding their lives in a new environment must therefore be momentous and as such, they need to be facilitated by easy access to resources (The National Refugee Policy 7). This may require central governments at all levels to establish a development aid/fund to assist in subsidizing some basic human needs and address structural economic hiccups.
Mr Chairperson, and members of this Conference, it is our belief that, as human beings, we are not born to suffer but to enjoy our togetherness and our humanity. In order to do this, we need to come together and join our efforts in denouncing and fighting all that goes against this noble purpose. One such disturbing experience we need to battle is the refugee crisis. It is our faith that we will continue to work together to come up with durable solutions to eradicate this global protracted refugee crisis.
Thank you all for listening.
Constant, Louay, Shelly Culbertson, Jonathan S. Blake, Mary Kate Adgie, and Hardika Dayalani, In Search of a Durable Solution: Examining the Factors Influencing Postconflict Refugee Returns. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2021. https://www.rand.org/ pubs/research_reports/RRA1327–1.html [accessed 28 February 2022].
Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme, Conclusion on Legal Safety Issues in the Context of Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees No. 101 (LV) – 2004, 8 October 2004, No. 101 (LV), available at: https://www.refworld.org/ docid/417527674.html [accessed 28 February 2022].
Stoler , Diane Roberts. “Are You Simply Treating Your Symptoms?” Psychology Today, https:// www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the–resilientbrain [Operational Data Portal. Refugee Situations, United Republic of Tanzania. https://data2.unhcr.org/en/ country/tza [accessed 1 March 2022].
UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency. Voluntary Repatriation of Burundian Refugees in Tanzania January – June 2021. https://reporting.unhcr.org/sites/default/
UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency. Global Focus: UNHCR Operations Worldwide. United Republic of Tanzania, https://reporting.unhcr.org/ tanzania#:~:text=Working%20with%20the% 20Governments%20of,2021%20and%2061%2C000% 20in%202022, [accessed 1 March 2022].
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|Resolutions Sponsored by Canada|
Noting with much displeasure, the continuous discrimination of refugees based on nationality, race, religion, political opinion, social status and sexuality,
Rejecting the globalization of indifference to the plight of refugees,
Recalling the principle of non-refoulement under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, Article 33(1) that “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”,
Recognizing that though armed conflicts may have stopped, most of the returnees find themselves in difficult social and economic hardships which makes it difficult for them to integrate in society.
Reaffirming sentiments of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme that voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement are the traditional durable solutions.
- Affirms that addressing the root cause of the refugee crisis needs to be pursued in combination with, and accompanied by efforts to develop interim strategies for a smooth and less traumatic reintegration.
- Appeals for more collaborative efforts on conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and stabilization operations through cultivating a culture of dialogue and respect for conflicting opinions.
- Appeals for establishing special schools and institutions in the camps in accordance with the curriculum used in their countries of origin for smooth reintegration and an afforded opportunity to participate in the labour market upon reintegration.
- Urges all States to establish a development aid/fund to assist in subsidizing some basic human needs and address structural economic hiccups
- Urges member states to comply with the goals of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs to streamline efforts of humanitarian aid;
- Calls for the development of a United Nations Trust Fund that encourages voluntary donations from the private transnational sector to aid in funding the implementation of rapid deployment forces;
- Calls all States to create conditions for sustainable return and achieving improved reintegration prospects for those who have already returned to Afghanistan.
- Underlines that adding positive changes include new commitments to keeping Afghan refugees high on the agenda of the international donor community and a renewed interest in building improved evidence bases for understanding and addressing Afghan refugees’ vulnerabilities and designing appropriate programmed strategies and interventions,
- Welcomes making of community-driven programs in which: humanitarian agencies should not seek (nor claim) to ‘solve’ protracted displacement, nor promote specific durable solutions, but rather offer pragmatic and innovative means to address the problem in ways that are beneficiary-oriented and community-driven.
- Emphasizes that self-reliance should be a core programming principle, and learning and advocacy should be used to help overcome the reluctance of host governments who tend to associate self-reliance with integration and naturalization.
- Emphasizes that supporting host country resilience; ensuring planning and support for voluntary, safe, and dignified return; increasing access to resettlement and other safe (complementary) pathways to a third country; and expanding and promoting local solutions and durable refugee protection, such as access to basic social services, well -being, and self-reliance.
- Encourages the expansion of resettlement and alternative admittance channels to third-country destinations, such as family reunion, labour mobility, and academic scholarships;
- Advocates for international assistance to refugee-hosting countries so that they can continue to provide a dignified environment for refugees.
Special Reference to Afghanistan Refugees
- Recommends that focus be increased on self-reliance through programming approaches, addressing and responding to the formal rights of Afghan refugees and returnees remains of paramount importance. The ability of Afghan refugees to achieve greater levels of self-reliance can only be realised if there is adequate access to the full package of rights enshrined in the 1951 Convention, including access to work and freedom of movement. Communicating this rationale and encouraging improved acceptance of this by host governments can be done in positive and context-sensitive ways that illustrate the value of improving conditions and reducing vulnerabilities.
Special Reference to Syrian Refugees
- Advocates for Syrian refugees who are studying or working, visiting relatives, or have other legitimate reasons to travel to a third nation to be readmitted to host countries;
- Further Advocates for the regularization of short-term visits to Syria, as well as readmission to host nations;
- Calls for collaborative work with the Syrian government and other agencies on housing, land, and property (HLP), civil registration and paperwork, and other protection problems inside Syria that could benefit Syrian returnees, displaced people, and affected communities;
Day Two: Climate Change and Displacement
Committee: United Nations High Commission for Refugees
Country: The Republic of Ghana
Topic: Climate Change and Displacement: The Case of Ghana (The Coastal Belt – VoltaRegion)
Climate Change Induced Displacement: A Reality in Ghana
The coastline of Ghana is affected by sudden-onset weather-related hazards such as storms, tidal surges, floods and landslides, and by slow-onset phenomena such as coastal erosion due to the increasing rate of climate change and global warming. Also, agricultural production [including Fishing] is increasingly affected by unpredictable rainfall patterns and heat waves. Because of this, seasonal migration has become a successful adaptation strategy for many Ghanaians especially those along the coastal belt. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fifth assessment report (AR5) confirms that climate change is a major driver of sea-level rise, ocean acidification, increases in sea surface temperature and depletion of oceanic oxygen, which will affect low-lying island communities severely.
Case Study 1: About 520 members of a fishing community in the Volta Region of Ghana were displaced by tidal surges in early July 2019. Most of them moved out of the community with their family and friends.
Case Study 2: The South Dayi District of Ghana’s Volta Region was subject to small-scale displacement following a rainstorm in June 2020, when 30 houses were destroyed and 70 people were displaced. The displaced people lodged with relatives and friends outside of their community (IOM 7).
Case Study 3: In July 2020, heavy rains hit the region again, displacing 70 people and destroying 10 houses in the Akatsi South District. Much road infrastructure was also destroyed, cutting off the affected community (IOM 7).
Case Study 4: On November 10, 2021, almost 4,000 people were displaced after a weekend tidal surge (storm surge/tidal waves) swept through more than 500 houses in the Volta Region of Ghana.
People are forced to flee their homes and relocate to other ‘safe’ places in the country for the security and comfort of their lives. This contributes to the number of internally displaced persons in the country [including people who have been displaced as a result of ethnic conflicts, disasters, search for fertile lands for farming, etc.]. Evidence suggests that the majority of Africa’s Refugees began their plight as Internally Displaced Persons. Countries that produce high numbers of refugees also have high – and often higher – numbers of Internally Displaced Persons.
Present Statistics of Internally Displaced Persons in Ghana
According to the World Bank collection of development indicators compiled from officially recognized sources, the number of Internally Displaced Persons in Ghana as of 2020 stood at 2,000 people.
Also, according to the Migration Profile of Ghana, climate change is a significant driver for internal displacement in the country. In 2016 for example, flooding resulted in 7, 918 people being displaced. Each year on average, some 20, 081 people are at risk for earthquake and flood-related displacement in Ghana. Seasonal, or circular, migration is also becoming an essential strategy to adapt to climatic variability (Warner et al. 80-81).
Problems Facing Internally Displaced Persons in Ghana
Displaced persons suffer significantly higher rates of mortality than the general population because of inadequate access to basic human needs like food, shelter, clothing, health care, etc.
In this era of COVID-19, social distancing is not taken into consideration when dealing with Internally Displaced Persons. They remain at a higher risk of physical attack, sexual assault, gender-based violence, robbery and abduction.
The overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons are women (pregnant ones), older persons, persons with disabilities and children. Most of these minorities are at risk of the abuse of their basic rights, seclusion and maltreatment by the majority among them.
Way Forward for Internally Displaced Persons in Ghana
Integration into community life – they can be drivers of community-based solutions. They should not be portrayed as victims or strangers but as key members of their newly found home.
Removal of legal and procedural requirements that prevent refugees or internally displaced persons who are opting to locally integrate to do so. Obtaining a national passport, residence permit, work permit and naturalisation for refugees should be simplified and made affordable.
What rights should internally displaced persons have?
Whose responsibility is it to protect and assist internally displaced persons?
Existing Mandates and Strategic plans: Ghana’s commitment towards Climate Change Agreements
Ghana was one of the forty AU’s 55 member states that signed the Kampala Convention in 2009 but has not ratified it yet. Because it is based on the Guiding Principles, the convention holds that governments have primary responsibility for IDPs’ protection and assistance, and should domesticate its provisions in their national legislation and policies.
The Ghana National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation: 2015–2020 aim to “address climate change and migration” as a policy focus area (234), framing migration as an adaptation option, as “carefully planned and proactive migration can represent a significant and effective adaptation to potentially difficult conditions” (234); within the Programmes, there are plans to “support relocation of settlements and economic activities to non-flood areas” (p. 39) and to have “access routes for evacuation, supply and distribution of relief items” (p. 84).
Implementation of these and other mandates in the country are yet to see the light of day.
Let’s walk the talk: Policies are of little use if governments and individuals are unable or unwilling to implement them.
Greater commitment is needed at a more practical level.
Collaboration between national and local authorities should be strengthened.
Rather than focus only on climate change as a stand-alone driver or trigger of displacement, it is more useful to analyse how its effects interact with such pre-existing conditions, policies and programmes on displacement of people.
The bureaucratic terrain of Ghana’s legal and policy frameworks should be reconsidered especially in dealing with internally displaced persons.
A Major Challenge
The lack of funds and human resources dedicated to addressing displacement is a major concern.
At COP 15 in Copenhagen (in 2009) and again at COP 21 in Paris (2015), developed economies committed to mobilising $100 billion annually in public and private financial support by 2020 to help developing economies chart a sustainable course of economic development and address the impacts of climate change. Unfortunately, it is estimated that rich countries’ climate finance to developing economies still falls about $20 billion short of their $100 billion pledge.
Solidarity is the way forward as we march on towards the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt (Conference of the Parties – COP 27) which will take place from November 7 – November 18, 2022. We are presently at 1.1 degrees of warming. Crossing the 2-degree threshold will be catastrophic for the entire human race. If we remain resolute we can secure the projected net-zero emissions of carbon by 2050 and redeem our dear planet from destruction.
Ghana National Climate Change Master Plan Action Programmes for Implementation: 2015–2020. Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Accra. Available at www.weadapt.org/sites/ weadapt.org/files/2017/ ghana_national_climate_change_master_ plan_2015_2020.pdf
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, June 2020.
International Organization for Migration (IOM). Environmental Migration, Disaster Displacement and Planned Relocation in West Africa, Geneva, 2021.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) – OHCHROHCHRhttps://www.ohchr.org › IDPs › idmc-idp-climateOHCHRhttps://www.ohchr.org › IDPs › idmc-idp-climateDOC… ocean acidification, increases in sea surface temperature and depletion of oceanic oxygen, which will affect low-lying island communities severely.
Environmental-Migration-Disaster-Displacement-inWest …International Organization for Migrationhttps://publications.iom.int › system › files › pdfInternational Organization for Migrationhttps:// publications.iom.int › system › files › pdfPDF39) and to have “access routes for evacuation, supply and distribution of relief items” (p. 84) in disaster contexts. 7. Togo and Burkina Faso are the two only …62 pages
Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Topic: The Displaced as the Human Face of Climate Change
“We Will All Die”: Climate Change as an Existential Challenge
The reality of climate change continues to haunt our existence and this is continuously witnessed worldwide. We have experienced global warming as a result of carbon emissions, cyclones, floods, and wildfires among many other natural disasters. Our failure to act accordingly has resulted in our continuous perishing. While addressing the issue of climate change we cannot be blind to the reality of people being forced to migrate from their homes and become internally displaced or refugees in other countries, worst of all is when people lose their lives. The UNHCR has “projected that climate change over time triggers larger and more complex movements of population, both within and across borders and has the potential to render some people stateless” (UNHCR 2). We as members of the United Nations and signatories of various UN policies and protocols, know for sure what is ahead of us and what we have to do and that is to advocate for a stricter and practical climate action. If we do not act now, we face the danger of extinction of our species, “we will all die”. We need to act now or never.
The Displaced as the Human Face of Climate Change
One major outcome of climate change is the creation of a new crisis in migration. Due to floods, droughts and other natural disasters induced by climate change, moving from one place to another has become the only option for the survival of people. This migration is both cross-border and internal. The Kenyan government has always been warm and receptive to refugees. For instance, Kenya has the highest number of refugees in Africa, estimated to be around 520,000. Kenya also has the largest refugee camp on the continent, the Daadab Camp and Kakuma refugee camps. However, climate change has posed a new strain of refugees and asylum seekers as well as internal movements. The question we need to ask ourselves is, can we or should we treat climate change refugees like any other refugee fleeing from wars and other persecution?
Climate Change Refugees: A Teleological Approach
Our government is already at the receiving end of climate change displacement. First of all, cross-border due to climate change-induced movements from Somalia and Sudan. Secondly, the arid northern part of the country is also a hotspot for internal displacement due to the persistent droughts in the area. The government of Kenya is of the view that climate change refugees and internally displaced people are ontologically different from other refugees fleeing from war and others. Therefore, they need a special kind of approach as opposed to a general approach. The purpose of their displacement should entail a difference in approach. For instance, refugees fleeing from war can wait for the situation in their countries to stabilize and later on return. But in cases of climate change, would there be a hope of the climate changing again anytime soon? The government of Kenya is of the view that climate change refugees need special attention hence calling for more cooperation.
Kenya’s Commitment towards Climate Change-Induced Displacement
At the regional and national level, the Kenyan government has shown commitment towards climate change displacement. Kenya participated in the formulation and signing of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention) as well as the Great Lakes Protocol on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons. The two are yet to be ratified. These regional treaties aim at making sure that member states put in place a framework and implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. They further call for state parties to be committed to prevent and eliminate all causes of internal displacement including those coming from climate change. At the national level, the Constitution of Kenya recognises that clean air and a healthy environment reduce climate change-induced internal displacement. Kenya also has in place a Climate Change Act adopted in 2016. The National Policy for Disaster Management adopted in 2009 aims at strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups such as the internally displaced to cope with potential disasters emanating from a range of triggers including drought and floods that disrupt people’s livelihoods. In 2012, Kenya adopted the Prevention, Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and Affected Communities Act, which provides for the prevention, protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons and affected person’s communities. Mention should also be made of the National Climate Response Strategy 2010 which provides for robust adaptation and mitigation measures needed to minimise risks associated with climate change such as internal displacement while maximising opportunities.
The government has translated these legislations into effective remedies and durable solutions for the displaced. For example, the government has taken steps to resettle the displaced households from environmental conservation. The government resettled several households evicted from Mau Forest on government-procured land within Nakau County. The government constructed houses, schools, and boreholes and supplied electricity to ensure protection of their rights. Through the Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, the government is supporting families affected by floods across the country such as food items.
Durable Solutions to the Refugee Situation in Kenya
The government of Kenya understands that the refugees ought to be treated with dignity and helped to realise that a refugee camp is a temporary asylum while working on a durable and permanent solution. We are also cognisant of the various talents and opportunities which remain untapped and as such makes our young refugees vulnerable and palatable, especially to fake opportunities by neighbouring militia groups like Al-Shabaab who infiltrate our camps. As a result, Kenya has been contemplating the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps and has since been working on a repatriation programme and it has also started the issuance of work permits to see to it that the energy and talents within the refugee camps, is used to improve the country’s social economic growth.
The KNHCR and the UNHCR recognized that the camps would also witness floods; as such, there were collaborative efforts to put sandbags in vital areas, to enhance accessibility.
The Kenyan Defence Force and the Random Defence Unit have been playing a key role in ensuring the safety of refugees within and outside the camps to avoid infiltration by al-Shabaab militia groups and any other rogue group that would pose a risk to the country and the well-being of the Refugees.
Through collaboration with other religious and UN agencies, we have been able to ensure a feeding programme for refugees and easy access to healthcare both within and outside the refugee camps.
Proposes the redefinition of a refugee to encompass climate change refugees: The current international framework, without a clear reference to climate change as one of the causes of refugees will render a lot of people vulnerable due to the lack of protection that comes with the refugee status. This extends to the internally displaced. The local and international legal instruments should clearly make reference to climate change-induced internal displacement and not just in general terms.
Closure of the two largest refugee camps. – This ought to be understood in line that refugees ought to be treated with dignity and respect as other human beings, and keeping them in the refugee camps would only mean side-lining them. As such optional repatriation would be proposed and for those not willing to go back, work permits should be given to allow them to improve their lifestyles and seek jobs like ordinary Kenyans.
Naturalisation of Refugees. We propose a system that would have an inventory of all refugees within the country, and that would include their biodata and any other necessary information for follow-up while allowing them to naturalise with local communities and feel part of the communities and the society they live in.
Changing the Refugee camps to settlement areas. We propose that as we contemplate the closure of the refugee camps, we also turn them into settlement areas and allocate title deeds to the refugees to give them a sense of belonging and a connection with the nature around them, and to allow the government to develop the areas, and that would see access to infrastructure and annual budget allocation to improve such areas.
Recognising the role of the Red Cross Society in quick response to situations of displacement as well as Meteorological departments in giving weather forecasts and advice on interventions. Creation of Water reserves to help them compact the effects of drought and environmental advocacy programmes like planting of trees etc.
Climate Change Not a Factor for Refugee Migration
Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: People’s Republic of China
Topic: China’s Position on Climate Change Refugees
Climate Change Not a Factor for Refugee Migration
Most of the refugees to China are from North Korea, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The number of refugees is approximately 20, 000 per year. North Korean refugees have been entering China steadily since 1983, with sharp increases during North Korea’s famine in the mid-1990s. The flow of refugees from Vietnam to China has been caused by political situations and partly by floods. As for the refugees from North Korea, China pursues an adamantly strict policy to refuse and repatriate them. This is due to the political situation between the two countries.
While the UNHCR has recognised citizens fleeing from North Korea, Myanmar, and Vietnam as refugees during each incident, China does not recognise refugees from North Korea and Myanmar but recognises only those from Southern Vietnam because China doesn’t recognise climate change as a factor that can trigger refugees to migrate.
Refugees in Global Politics and Diplomacy
Considering the UN’s definition of a refugee, some of the refugees who flee from harsh climatic conditions in Vietnam and North Korea don’t stand to be called by the name ‘refugee’. China refers to them as ‘economic migrants’. China therefore constantly deports them back to their countries. Although China is committed to the repatriation policy, it does not appreciate the treatment of the repatriated migrants when they return to North Korea because those who are deported back to North Korea are sent to labour camps as ‘traitors’ of the regime. Their families are punished and also sent to exile, which is a violation of the U.N.’s Article on Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 33, Section 1, 1951.
As with Myanmar, there have been two episodes of refugee inflows in 2009 and again in 2011, both resulting from a government crackdown on ethnic minorities in northeast Myanmar. While the first incident saw China giving refugees temporary assistance, during the second instance, China has been erring more on the side of refusal and repatriation. The shift indicates higher levels of cooperation, at least in terms of communication, between the two states.
As with Vietnam, in 1980, China received around 110,000 refugees from Northern Vietnam and were relocated to the Guangdong province, and 100,000 remained in the Guangxi province. Some of the refugees were given work in the sectors of farming, fishing, and local industry under state-owned organisations. New farms and fishing villages were built to accommodate newcomers.
The differences in the treatment of refugees can be explained through nuances in China’s bilateral relations with each state. As a policy recommendation, the advice is that humanitarian actors be mindful of diplomatic embarrassment that could damage bilateral relations as a result of a crisis, which can harm access to welfare aid for refugees. The juxtaposition of the North Korean and Vietnamese cases demonstrates that principles of humanitarianism do not have a direct influence on Chinese refugee policies. There should be a well-set international law because without real enforced international laws, what drives state refugee policies instead are its foreign relations with the refugees’ country of origin. Lastly, While there is substantial literature on refugee movements from developing to developed countries, there is currently less research to be found on policies at the state level of developing countries towards incoming refugees.
Examining Policy Linkage in Chinese Relations with North …Inquiries Journalhttp:// www.inquiriesjournal.com › articles › refugee-p…Inquiries Journalhttp://www.inquiriesjournal.com
› articles › refugee-p…by J Lam · 2013 http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/771/3/refugeepolicy-and-foreign-policy-examining-policy-linkage-in-chinese-relations-with-north-korea-myanmar-and
Committee: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: The Republic of Rwanda
Topic: Climate Change and Displacement: A Case of Rwanda
Rwanda is highly vulnerable to climate change because of its dependence on agriculture, accounting for 33% of GDP in 2013 and employing 90% of the country’s inhabitants. Almost all agricultural activities are rain-fed which makes the country very vulnerable to climate change. Strong dependency on agriculture increases vulnerability to climate change. The intensity and frequency of climate hazards and their harmful effects are emphasised by the topographical structure proper to Rwandan territory, a country particularly characterised by a very accidented relief and consequently very sensitive to erosion and landslides. The vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by Rwanda’s high population density, which stands at around 460 people per square kilometre and is further compounded by its annual population growth rate of 2.7%. These areas are often characterized by high abnormal rainfalls which lead to floods, and subsequently, the destruction of agricultural produce, livestock, lives and properties. This has eventually led to the displacement and migration of the inhabitants in their quest for greener pastures, especially in the east and south-east of the country like Bugesera, Mayaga, and Umutara.
How Climate Change is Affecting People in Rwanda
Periodic floods and droughts (extreme events) cause major socio-economic impacts and reduce economic growth in Rwanda. Major flood events occurred in recent years, where rainfall resulted in infrastructure damage, fatalities and injuries, landslides, loss and damage to agricultural crops, soil erosion and environmental degradation. In some regions of the country, there have also been periodic droughts. These factors have caused displacement in some regions in the Country resulting in forcibly crossing the borders. Areas mostly affected include; Bahimba Valley, where flood damaged crops, and bridges and led to environmental degradation. More so, the case of Nyabihu Musanze and Rubavu districts, where floods led to fatalities, agricultural losses, building and infrastructure damage and population displacement. All these are the cumulative crises that Climate change has thrown many people into.More frequent and intense droughts, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warmingoceans can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods and communities.
Government Policies in Combating Climate Change in Rwanda
Greening Economic Transformation: To ensure environmental sustainability, there is a need to harmonise economic growth with the sustainable use of natural capital. This will be done by creating favourable conditions to attract investments in green job creation through the management of the environment and climate mitigation actions.
Enhancing functional natural ecosystems and managing biosafety: This will be achieved by conserving, preserving and restoring ecosystems, which will enhance their ecological functioning. Also, incentives will be provided for investment in sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation initiatives.
Strengthening meteorological and early warning services: The government will develop and maintain environmental climate services as well as climate change information systems and promote their Persons. The two are yet to be ratified. These regional treaties aim to make sure that member states put in place a framework and implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. They further call for state parties to be committed to preventing and eliminating all causes of internal displacement including those coming from climate change.
In conclusion, we agree that the negative effects of climate change in our country Rwanda are quite overwhelming. As such, there is an urgent need to arrest the situation with concrete actions. To this end, we recommend the following measures: Huge awareness program has to be adopted by the government of Rwanda to sensitise the general public about the dangers of climate change and the helpful use of the environment.
Mitigating the negative effects of climate change should be the absolute duty of every individual and not just the government alone.
Synergy between climate adaptation and mitigation …Rwanda Environment Management Authorityhttps://www.rema.gov.rw › rema_doc › DNARwanda Environment Management Authorityhttps:// www.rema.gov.rw › rema_doc
An Abyss between Climate Change Resolutions and Commitment to Climate
Change Resolutions: A Reflection on Climate Change Related Displacements,
with Lessons from Mozambique and the World
A Statement by Mozambique Delegation on a Moderated Caucus Topic
Chairperson; the vice-chancellor of the Arrupe Jesuit University, the Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, the Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe, the Apostolic Nuncio, the distinguished UNHCR delegate, the distinguished local observer, and fellow distinguished delegates, all protocols observed. I bring you greetings and an appeal to unite humanity from my country Mozambique. I deem it a great honour to speak about my country Mozambique and the many challenges of climate change and displacement in my country, but in reality, to speak about the whole world because climate change and displacement are not only affecting Mozambique but the entire globe. I would like to express my deepest sincere gratitude to all the delegates who have made presentations at this conference beginning with those who presented yesterday and those who have made presentations today. To all the presenters we say Muito Obrigado, thank you very much, merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, shukurun, and Asanteni sana. The topic of this moderated caucus is “An Abyss between Climate Change Resolutions and Commitment to Climate Change Resolutions: A Reflection on Climate Change Related Displacements with Lessons from Mozambique and the World”.
Chairperson and fellow distinguished delegates I beg to begin with a few reflections from real-life events from my country Mozambique. In March 2000, Mozambique was hit by extreme floods caused by cyclone Eline. A young woman by the name of Carolina Pedro at the time under the discussion was heavily pregnant. In an effort to escape the fetal floods, Carolina climbed into a tree, where three days later she gave birth to a baby girl. 19 years later in April of 2019, Mozambique was once again an unfortunate victim of climate change, when three successive cyclones namely Idai, Kenneth, and Eloise hit Mozambique.
During these three successive cyclone events a young single mother by the name of Amelia who was heavily pregnant at that time, recalled the story of Carolina Pedro who through her heroic thinking and actions was able to escape the fatal floods of March 2000, Amelia also climbed into a tree, wherewith one hand holding on to her two-year-old son Amelia gave birth to a baby girl.
In all these quatate cyclone events Eline, Idai, Kenneth, and Eloise thousands of people were displaced, millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure was destroyed and yes, Chairperson and fellow distinguished delegates thousands of human lives were lost. According to a Relief Web report, cyclone Idai claimed over 1,000 lives and destroyed more than 100,000 thousand homes. Two years after cyclone Idai about 104,000 people remain internally displaced and continue to live in settlement camps and accommodation houses. The same report highlights that cyclone Eloise, which hit the central Safara Province of Mozambique, affected about 25,000 people, claiming 600 lives and a total of 270 people remain internally displaced and continue to live in settlement camps. In the Northern part of Mozambique where Cyclone Kenneth hit, a total of 607,000 people remain internally displaced. In February of this year, the world woke up to sad news as yet another cyclone “Ana” hit Mozambique, claiming 25 lives and displacing about 25000 people.
As I indicated at the beginning of this address, climate change is not unique to Mozambique but is in reality a subject for the whole world. Mozambique has not been the only unfortunate victim of climate change and
displacement. Several countries including the United States of America, Australia, Canada, France, and Ghana have all had their share of climate change-related disasters. Many of us here will remember the massive heat waves that hit France in 2019, as well as the United States of America, and Canada in June of 2021. All these were human-caused climate change-related events (World Weather and Convention) (ii) the attribution report). In 2019 and 2020 respectively Australia experienced climate change-related bushfires, a total of 65000 people were internally displaced (Un News Report on Climate Change).
Chairperson according to international law and human rights law states and governments around the world should protect people from threats to life including the adverse effects of climate change-related disasters. Evacuations have been key as a tool to achieving the obligation of protecting human life from climate change disasters. However, these evacuations have also created a significant social and economic demand, according to the United Nations News Report on Climate Change a total of 53 million United States Dollars was used on evacuations and temporary housing in the Australian bushfire disasters in 2020 (Un News Report).
Reflecting on these real-life events from Mozambique, and from several countries across the world, one cannot help but ask themselves a very important question “Could the impacts of these climate change events have been reduced?” Four successive climate change conferences tell us boldly that yes indeed we could have reduced the impacts of these climate change-related disasters if and only if everyone in the world had adhered to the climate change resolutions passed in these four successive conferences. Chairperson these four conferences include: (i) the Vienna Convention on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer which was held in 1985 in Vienna, the aim of the Vienna Conventions was to establish global cooperation in the relevant research on the assessment of the ozone layer problem and to adopt appropriate measures of protecting the ozone layer (UNFCCC, Vienna Convention)
Montreal Protocols on substances that deplete the ozone layer was held in 1987, in the French-Canadian city of Montreal, the aim of the Montreal Protocols was to reduce the production and emission of ozone layer-depleting substances by at least 5% (UNFCCC, Montreal Protocols), (iii) Kyoto protocols of 1997, held in the Japanese city of Kyoto, the aim of the Kyoto protocols was to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 5% in 37 industrialised countries (UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocols), (iv) the Paris Agreement held in 2015, in the French capital of Paris. The Paris Agreement aimed to reduce global carbon emissions by at least 55% by the year 2030 (UNFCCC, Paris Agreements).
The reality on the ground in many countries of the world today shows us that there has been very little commitment as regards adherence to the resolutions passed in these four conferences. Chairperson and fellow distinguished delegates this is the abyss between climate change resolutions and commitment to climate change resolutions. There is a huge gap between what we resolve to act on and the commitment that we invest in what we have resolved to act on. The results of this abyss are the many climate change disasters that the world is experiencing as well as the displacement of the human population across the world.
Chairperson and fellow distinguished guests, appreciating the realities that have been presented in the real-life events that occurred in Mozambique as well as other parts of the world, I beg that you now allow me to address you not only as the delegate for Mozambique or as a member of the Mozambican Government but allow me to address you and the whole world today as a citizen of humanity. In addressing you as a citizen of humanity allow me to propose three resolutions for adoption in this conference.
The first resolution pertains to the reduction of climate change-related disasters, through the elimination of the abyss that exists between climate change resolutions and commitment to climate change resolutions. I propose that as citizens of humanity, we go back to the resolutions passed in the Vienna Conventions of 1985, the Montreal Protocols of 1987, the Kyoto Protocols of 1997, and the Paris Agreements of 2015, and resolve passionately to commit to the resolutions agreed upon in these conferences. By doing so we will be able as citizens of humanity to restore our planet and to make peace with nature, nature that has proved to us in more ways than one that it can both be a gentle friend when taken care of and an aggressive enemy when pushed to the edge.
The second resolution that I propose pertains to the care of those who have been displaced by various climate change disasters. I appeal that through the UNHCR, and other humanitarian agencies a special fund be created for the care of those displaced. This fund will go towards the setting up of educational facilities, health facilities, feeding centres, and Shelters within the settlement campus. My government believes that even amid disasters the process of life should continue. Thus, the displaced, before they are reintegrated into society should have access to decent education, decent health care, and decent shelter and food. To aid this appeal my government requests that a system of making these funds available in the quickest possible time be created. This request is a result of the lessons learned during cyclones Idai, Kenneth, and Eloise where up to date less than 50% of the budget for humanitarian support to Mozambique has been funded.
Appreciating the fact that we are living in very strange and dangerous times with the COVID-19 pandemic. I appeal that through the UNHCR and the WHO, covid-19 vaccines be organized, and made available across the world for both the internally and externally displaced. My government believes that Covid-19 is a reality and everyone must be protected including those displaced.
Thank you very much for listening.
Relief web report on cyclones in Mozambique (accessed on 28th February 2022)https://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/mozambique-recovery-recurrent-floods-2000-2013-recovery-framework-case-study
World weather attribution report on heat waves in North America (accessed on 28th February 2022) www.worldweatherattribution.org/
Australia Bushfire evacuations (accessed on 1st March 2022) https://www.google.com/search?
q=how+many+people+have+been+displaced+due+to+c limate+related+fires+in+Australia&rlz=1C1BNSD_enZ W989ZW989&oq=how+many+people+have+been+dis placed+due+to+climate+related+fires+in+Australia&aq s=chrome..69i57.59871j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Paris agreements .On the Reduction of Carbon Emmisions by 55%,(acssed on 28th Fenruary 2022)https:// unfccc.int/process–and–meetings/the–paris–agreement/ the–parisagreement#:~:text=The%20Paris% 20Agreement%20is%20a,compared%20to%20pre% 2Dindustrial%20levels.
Montereal-Protocols.On substances that deplete the ozone layer, (acssed on 28th February 2022) https:// unfccc.int/resource/ccsites/senegal/fact/fs224.htm#:~:text=The%20Montreal%20Protocol%20regulates%20the%20production%20and%20use%20of%20CFCs,in%20accordance%20with%20the% 20schedule.
The Gurdian News (accessed on 1st March 2022) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/27/miraclebaby-born-tree-mozambique-floods-turns-17
Resolution Sponsored by Zimbabwe
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, guided by the UNHCR climate action that is focused on three main areas: 1. Law and policy, 2. Operations, and 3. UNHCR’s environmental footprint,
Also noting the enduring abyss that exists between climate change resolutions and commitment to climate change resolutions in particular the Vienna Conventions of 1985, the Montreal Protocols of 1987, the Kyoto Protocols of 1997, and the Paris Agreements of 2015,
Recognizing that climate change affects us all but affects others more especially the poorest of places in the world through the destruction of livelihoods, as a significant driver for internal and external displacement,
Noting the challenge to mobilize public and private financial support to help developing economies chart a sustainable course of economic development and address the impacts of climate change,
Cognisant of the various talents and opportunities that remain untapped and as such makes our young refugees vulnerable and palatable, especially to fake opportunities by neighbouring militia groups like Al-Shabaab who infiltrate camps,
Aware of the need for humanitarian actors to be mindful of diplomatic embarrassment that could damage bilateral relations as a result of a crisis, which in turn can harm access in providing welfare for refugees.
Proposes the redefinition of a refugee to encompass climate change refugees. Thus, the current international framework should make clear reference to climate change as one of the causes of refugees and as such should recognize them as thus, be afforded the benefits and protection that comes with refugee status. This should be extended to the internally displaced and the stateless people as advocated by UNHCR’s climate action of Law and policy which strives and advocates for support to the international community to develop enhanced protection for refugees and other people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change, and catalysing international discussions on their rights.
Propose naturalisation of refugees through a system that would have an inventory of all refugees within the country, and that would include their biodata and any other necessary information for follow-up while allowing them to naturalise with local communities and feel part of the communities and the society they live in;
Supports the removal of legal and procedural requirements that prevent refugees or internally displaced persons who are opting to locally integrate to do so. Obtaining a national passport, residence permit, work permit and naturalisation for refugees should be simplified and made affordable;
Advocates for the inclusion of refugees in climate programs, discussions and inputs;
Appeals for greater commitment to the resolutions by governments in a more practical sense especially towards financial support with strengthened collaboration between nations, local authorities and organisations.
Implores for the improvement of environmental well-being, improved meteorological forecasting, and strengthening of the health system’s adaptability and capacity to tackle projected impacts due to extreme weather events on health (disease surveillance, disaster preparedness, vector control) which can respond effectively to emergence of emergency impacts of pandemics as per the experience of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Advocates for funding for research that adds to a substantial literature on refugee movements from developing to developed countries but with more focus on the research on policies at the state level of developing countries towards incoming refugees which affirms the Global Compact on Refugees, affirmed by an overwhelming majority in the UN General Assembly in December 2018, recognises that “climate, environmental degradation and disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movements”.
Calls for collaboration with UNHCR and Religious organisations and all Member States
Advocates and calls for commitment to the launch of UNHCR’s Refugee Environmental Protection (REP) fund.