3 February 2015

According to a new study published by ECRE, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), the concept of EU Regional Protection Programmes needs to be reviewed in order to increase impact, ownership by third countries and Member States and coherence with development policies.

As defined by the European Commission in 2005, Regional Protection Programmes (RPPs) have two main aims: Firstly, to build the capacities of transit countries in order to help them protect refugees. Secondly, to promote durable solutions; namely return, local integration and resettlement, by building the capacities of local institutions and other actors in areas hosting refugees in protracted situations.

The research argues that RPPs could take the form of ‘protection partnerships’ with the engagement of Member States, third countries, the European Commission, International Organisations and NGOs. These partnerships should be based on the countries’ obligations to protect refugees and asylum seekers, driven by solidarity with the countries hosting the majority of the world’s refugees rather than a migration control logic. In this spirit, RPPs should also include substantial offers to resettle, to Europe, refugees hosted in the RPP regions.

The study provides an overview of the RPPs developed by the European Commission so far, namely in Eastern Europe, the African Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and North Africa, as well as the Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) that started in 2013 in response to the Syrian crisis.

This study was published in the framework of the Domaid project, which aims to promote dialogue between European NGOs involved in migration and refugee protection-related projects in third countries and the EU institutions. The publication follows up on a public seminar on RPPs that was organised by ECRE in Brussels in 2013.

Download: Regional Protection Programmes: an effective policy tool?

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