Summary report and outcomes of the December Refugee Consultations released
This week saw the release of UNHCR’s “summary report” of the National Refugee Youth Consultation in Jordan, which was held at JOHUD’s ZENID centre in December 2015. The report summarized the events of the unique conference itself, and more importantly, detailed the outcomes and responses offered by powerful stakeholders.
The refugee consultations are an international initiative created by UNHCR and the Women’s Refugee Commission, which invites young refugees to come to conferences around the world and give their thoughts on refugee policies and needs. Over several days, refugee participants are invited to identify the main challenges affecting their communities and families, and suggest potential solutions to fix the outstanding problems.
The central purpose of the programme is to link young refugees to the agencies that often affect their lives. With the right lines of communication open, it is presumed that UN agencies, NGO’s and government ministries can design effective responses that meet the actual needs of refugee communities, whilst also involving those same communities in the decision-making process.
The session held in Jordan was the first refugee consultation to be conducted in a language other than English. Over four days, PBYRC and refugee youth leaders discussed the situation of refugees in Jordan, before meeting with stakeholder leaders on the 4th day to present solutions and analyses.
As the report shows, the outcomes have so far been encouraging. Many attending NGO’s have been able to design better programmes in response to the comments, and some refugee communities have been made aware of necessary services that already exist to help them. On the national policy level, progress was made on some of the most important issues raised by the refugee participants, such as education. For the first time, UNHCR spoke of the need to tackle the lack of education opportunities for refugees in Jordan by creating accredited online courses that would be recognized by regional universities.
Solutions like these underline the purpose of the refugee consultations altogether. It is hoped that future refugee responses can be better designed as a result of the new information available to policymakers. PBYRC and JOHUD staff members also hope that the young representatives of the refugee community will be able to build on the experience earned from participating in the conference and become good community leaders and decision-makers in the future.