On 9 June 2021, LERRN’s Project Director, James Milner, will present a paper entitled The Politics and Practice of Refugee Participation in the Governance of the Global Refugee Regime at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA).

The paper examines the meaning of refugee participation in the governance of the global refugee regime. A prominent theme of UN agreements on refugees since 2016 has been a commitment to enhancing the role of refugees in the making and implementation of policies that affect them. As articulated in Paragraph 34 of the UN’s 2018 Global Compact on Refugees: “responses are most effective when they actively and meaningfully engage those they are intended to protect and assist.” This arguably reflects a belief that responses will be more effective and seen as more legitimate if refugees are involved in the design of refugee responses. This is a potentially significant area of innovation for the governance of the global refugee regime, especially given the regime’s history of claiming that the core institution of the refugee regime has the moral and expert authority to represent the needs and interests of refugees. To this end, the paper addresses four questions: What is meant by “meaningful refugee participation”? Is there a norm of refugee participation? What difference could refugee participation make in the governance of the refugee regime? And what critical questions should be raised in future work on the meaningful participation of refugees in the governance of the global refugee regime?

Meeting virtually from 7 to 10 June 2021, the Annual Meeting of the CPSA this year explores the theme “Diversity and the Discipline of Political Science.”