On October 3rd, 2022, the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations and R-SEAT (Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table) hosted a hybrid roundtable discussion, with some 100 participants joining in person in New York or virtually via Zoom.

Accountability and participation are now understood as central to collective action in response to most global human-centered issues. The same is true in discussions of responses to the needs of refugees. When the UN General Assembly affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees in 2018, it acknowledged that “responses are most effective when they actively and meaningfully engage those they are intended to protect and assist.”

The roundtable discussed how to implement this commitment from the Global Compact on Refugees, recognizing that meaningful refugee participation is becoming an important norm in the international refugee system. Speakers and participants considered “lessons learned” from recent efforts to promote meaningful refugee participation in the governance of the international refugee system, including the practice of having refugee delegates as part of Member State delegations to meeting of the international refugee system, and the establishment of new Refugee Advisory Councils. They also reflected on how meaningful refugee participation can make global responses to displacement more legitimate and effective.

Among the presenters were the Honourable Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; Mustafa Alio, Managing Director of R-SEAT; and Leah Zamore, Associate Director, Humanitarian Policy at the Center on International Cooperation (CIC). LERRN Director James Milner moderated the roundtable discussion.

LERRN is pleased to present the following Event Report in collaboration with R-SEAT entitled “From Accountability to Meaningful Participation: Refugees & the Governance of International Refugee Responses.”