New RSC report explores 'responsibility-sharing' in global refugee regime

04 January, 2018

A new report written by Professor Alexander Betts, Professor Cathryn Costello and Dr Natascha Zaun of the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) examines refugees and ‘responsibility-sharing’ from a global perspective.

Responsibility-sharing relates to the distribution of costs and benefits between states for addressing a particular global challenge. The global refugee regime has historically had relatively weak norms relating to responsibility-sharing. In the aftermath of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ in the Middle East and Europe, there have been renewed calls to create effective mechanisms for responsibility-sharing. But how should such institutional mechanisms be designed?

The report’s central argument is that under current political conditions responsibility-sharing is unlikely to be achieved through the creation of a single legal mechanism or centralised allocation system. Rather, it requires a range of complementary mechanisms – analytical, political, and operational –to overcome the collective action failure that has historically beset the refugee system. This project studies states’ and non-state actors’ assistance to refugees. It offers a method of measuring the extent of responsibility-sharing and discusses different possible models of sharing responsibility.

The report presents the findings from a study funded by Delmi, the Migration Studies Delegation. Delmi is an independent committee that initiates studies and supplies research results as a basis for future migration policy decisions and to contribute to public debate.

Read the report, and accompanying policy brief, here.