23rd Humanitarian Conference Announced

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The 23rd International Humanitarian and Security Conference, presented by Webster University Geneva will take place on February 15-16, 2018, at the International Conference Center Geneva with the theme of THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE GLOBAL COMPACTS ON REFUGEES AND MIGRATION.

The acute world-wide crisis of refugees, internally displaced people and of migrants driven by economic factors represents one of the most important humanitarian and political challenges for individual countries and for the international community as a whole. There is a broad consensus that beside emergency relief and protection there is a need for a long-term strengthening of the international refugee regime and for a more effective and humane approach to labor migration.

It is the recognition of these needs that is at the origin of the process, launched in the fall of 2016, of defining two closely related but still distinct “global compacts,” one on refugees and the other on migration, to be adopted by the members of the United Nations before the end of 2018.

This initiative is highly praiseworthy. It is to be hoped that it will get with broad approval and support among large and small member states. At the same time it is important, not only to confirm the importance of the issues of migration and asylum on the agenda of international cooperation but also provide efficient and practical new initiatives that will help deal with concrete problems faced by both countries of origin and countries of destination, and most of all by the refugees and migrants themselves. It is also essential to assure that in the name of the new compacts, the existing frameworks and commitments are not weakened. This is especially true for the international refugee regimes.

The main topics to be discussed during the six sessions of the Conference will include:

  • Rules, principles and practice: How to increase the effectiveness of the international refugee regime
  • “Regular” and “irregular” migration: Increasing transparency and predictability for both migrants and governments
  • Human rights: Refugee and migrant integration and assimilation
  • Dealing with the issue of security at the local and the global levels
  • Health and migrants
  • Education of children in emergency situations: Coding for refugee children and other dedicated programs

The conference will be organized with the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations. As in previous years, it will be held under the auspices of the Conseil d’Etat (Government) of the Canton of Geneva.