While resettlement is considered a fundamental component of international responsibility sharing, it is questionable whether it has played a meaningful role in practice, with so few refugees benefiting from resettlement annually. Resettlement continues to be a tool that only a small number of states are using in any significant way to demonstrate international solidarity, and efforts to use resettlement more effectively and strategically in order to influence solutions, improve the protection environment and lessen the burden on refugee host countries have been limited. If resettlement is to be a truly effective component of international responsibility sharing, critical changes are needed.

As outlined in this paper, the Government of Canada has an opportunity to lead this effort, in particular in light of its most recent leadership on resettlement in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Resettlement has the potential to be a powerful tool for change, but it has yet to realize its full potential.

The Global Security & Politics Program at CIGI launched the Global Leadership and Cooperation for Refugees project to develop and advance ideas for a new system of international cooperation that is capable of anticipating mass movements of people and managing them in a way that is politically viable, fair for all states and properly funded, as well as to consider ways in which Canada can provide international leadership on this crucial issue.