The Global Compact on Refugees and Burden Sharing: Will the Compact Address the Normative Gap Concerning Burden Sharing?


REFUGEE SURVEY QUARTERLY, vol.38, no.2, pp.115-138, 2019 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/rsq/hdz003
  • Page Numbers: pp.115-138


The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees neither explicitly deals with burden sharing nor provides any mechanism to ensure adequate compensation to the States hosting or supporting more refugees than others. This creates a well-known gap in international refugee law. To address this gap and better respond to the changing and growing needs of people on the move, the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted on 19 September 2016 the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which foresaw adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees. The Global Compact on Refugees was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 2018. This article provides a detailed examination of the gap in international refugee law regarding burden sharing and reviews the measures on international cooperation in the Global Compact on Refugees. In doing so, the article seeks to establish the extent to which the Global Compact on Refugees will address the normative gap on burden sharing. By arguing, from the outset, the Global Compact on Refugees seems unlikely to fill this gap in an adequate and a comprehensive manner, the article concludes with a proposal on how to improve the burden sharing aspect of the Compact and its prospect of filling the gap on burden sharing.