International cooperation

European and international refugee policies

Delegates at the Geneva II Conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, January 2014

European Union

Wars and emergencies that lead to displacement are happening in Europe's immediate neighbourhood. Joint action by European countries is absolutely vital.

Germany is working actively within the European Union to give shape to the EU migration partnerships that are being established with African partner countries in particular. The BMZ's long-term goal is to help provide education and jobs so that people will feel they have a future in their own country, and to establish the principle of shared responsibility between countries of origin, transit, and destination.

The BMZ is lobbying to get the EU member states to increase their overall level of support for refugees and to cooperate effectively with each other. To that end, short-term emergency relief should be dovetailed closely with longer-term development cooperation programmes. And further financial efforts are needed on the part of the EU.

International cooperation

The German government's support for refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities is part of international efforts to provide help. Germany coordinates its activities closely with international organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The BMZ supports the work of these organisations by making considerable financial contributions. These contributions are routinely increased in times of severe refugee crises.

By adopting the United Nations New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, the international community reaffirmed its commitment to shoulder responsibility for refugees and migrants worldwide. In view of the current challenges, the international community committed itself to joint action. This is to be accomplished through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the global compact on refugees that is to be developed by 2018.

United Nations

German Development Minister Gerd Müller and the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and present UN Secretary General António Guterres during a conference on the Syrian refugee situation on 28 October 2014 in Berlin

One of the United Nations' main tasks is to coordinate aid programmes for refugees and internally displaced persons on the ground. It is the task of the UN organisations to ensure that adequate aid reaches those in need at the right time. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a key role to play in this task. Aid for refugees and internally displaced persons is also provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UN Women.

However, in the current Syrian crisis, the UN agencies have raised the alarm because their programmes are dramatically underfunded, with barely half of financial needs being met. That is why the BMZ increased its commitments to WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF to a total of 560 million euros in 2016. The BMZ has also been calling on other international donors to significantly increase their contributions as well.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, UNICEF has been providing high levels of emergency aid for Syrian children who are affected by civil war or have been displaced to neighbouring countries. In the context of the Syrian crisis, the BMZ increased its support for UNICEF by more than 60 million euros in 2015, reaching a total of 178.24 million euros. The relevant programmes focus on education, water infrastructure and hygiene.

In view of the continuing civil war, UNICEF launched its No Lost Generation initiative. The initiative provides education programmes and psychosocial support to ensure that there is not a "lost" generation in Syria and its neighbouring countries – a generation knowing nothing but war and destruction and learning that the only way to resolve conflicts is through violence.

World Bank

The BMZ is calling for the World Bank to step up its interventions in countries which are affected by crisis and whose governments are no longer able to perform their duties. Furthermore, the World Bank should increase its support for countries emerging from conflict – this is about addressing the causes of conflict and state failure. Within the World Bank hub known as Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, KNOMAD, the BMZ has been calling for the establishment of a working group on forced migration. Next to Switzerland and Sweden, Germany is the largest contributor to KNOMAD.

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See also

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BMZ glossary

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