A public seminar organised by ECRE, the Italian Refugee Council (CIR) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) examined this week the impact and potential of ‘Regional Protection Programmes’ (RPPs).

RPPs are designed to enhance the capacity of third countries in regions where many refugees originate from or are passing in transit. They aim to support refugee protection by building the capacities of institutions and local actors to efficiently deal with potential refugee situations whilst also promoting durable solutions, such as resettlement.

The seminar brought together European Commission and Member State officials, the University of Oxford’s Refugee Study Centre, as well as humanitarian actors such as UNHCR in Tunisia and Nairobi, the Danish Refugee Council, and the International Catholic Migration Committee.

Participants agreed that RPPs had strengthened societies’ ability to deal with refugee populations, improved access to asylum systems for the most vulnerable, and increased awareness of protection needs. At the same time the impact of RPPs has been limited because they have been implemented in isolation, and they have lacked local coordination and buy-in from the host government.

The seminar addressed the potential for RPPs to contribute to long term solutions, and concluded that they can have a greater impact if they are better linked to development cooperation.

Speaking in relation to the RPP planned for the Syrian region, Thomas Thomsen, Chief Advisor for the Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry, emphasized that “dialogue with the hosting government is key to such a programme’s success. Another key factor is to make sure that both host communities and refugees benefit from the support”.

This seminar was organised under the Domaid project, which aims to promote dialogue and advocacy between European NGOs involved in migration and refugee protection-related projects in third countries and the EU institutions.



This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 31 May 2013
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