Indicators for the Global Compact on Refugees

Geoff Gilbert

International Journal of Refugee Law, 2018


This brief article considers the kinds of indicators that might be appropriate to measure the implementation of the Refugee Compact, focusing on the compact’s fundamental principles “to operationalize the principles of burden- and responsibility-sharing to better protect and assist refugees and support host countries and communities”. Even though the compact is non-binding, the author suggests that indicators for better protection and assistance to refugees and host communities may be drawn from existing international human rights law standards given that refugee protection has been an international obligation since 1951. The author argues, however, that indicators for burden- and responsibility- sharing would need to measure how the international community supports countries of asylum (i.e. obligations between states) and in this regard there is a more limited legal framework to draw on. He suggests that this makes the establishment of detailed indicators, underpinned by robust statistics, even more important. He highlights some of the practical difficulties of measuring States’ diverse contributions (refugee resettlement, contributions to aid budgets, contributions to peace-keeping missions etc.) and suggests that it will take time and experience to ensure that indicators reflect the complex reality of refugee protection.