The Role of Resettlement in Refugee Responsibility Sharing

Paper No. 3

January 25, 2017

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.

Part of Series

Global Leadership and Cooperation for Refugees

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.

About the Author

Jessie Thomson has been working on issues related to international development and humanitarian assistance for more than 15 years. She has a Masters in International Development Studies from the London School of Economics, with a focus on conflict, humanitarian action and forced migration. With a career spanning multiple sectors, including the Canadian public service, the United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and now CARE Canada, Jessie brings a unique perspective on the critical operational and policy questions facing international development and humanitarian action. She is a respected thought-leader and partnership builder, with both programming and operational experience.  

Jessie joined CARE Canada in 2011, focused on Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Response. Now, as Vice-President of the Partnerships for Global Change team, Jessie is responsible for ensuring that CARE Canada is at the leading edge of innovation, tracking the evolving nature of INGOs, mobilizing resources and developing future-ready and impactful programs and partnerships to meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities around the world. Jessie is a passionate feminist and gender equality advocate, bringing this lens to all of her work with CARE.