Patrick Wall

Patrick Wall

‘The Makings of a Success’: The Global Compact on Refugees and the Inaugural Global Refugee Forum

19 October 2020

“The understanding of international dynamics, global governance mechanisms and diplomatic practice developed through my studies in Diplomacy have been invaluable in my current role working on developing strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries”

Patrick Wall studied a Master of Diplomacy and now works in Geneva at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) developing and executing the UNHCR’s strategy for the ‘Global Compact on Refugees’.

He has recently co-authored an article with Assistant High Commissioner Gillian Triggs in the International Journal of Refugee Law titled ‘The Makings of a Success’: The Global Compact on Refugees and the Inaugural Global Refugee Forum’ which reflects on the developments in the refugee world that I’ve been working on for the past 3.5 years.


The last five years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide, and a key part of the international response has been a multilateral and multi-stakeholder effort to develop an architecture to share more equitably and predictably the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees. This piece offers a reflective assessment of this regime-strengthening exercise – the key milestones of which have been the New York Declaration, the Global Compact on Refugees, and the first Global Refugee Forum – and assesses what has been achieved and what challenges still lie ahead. The Global Compact on Refugees is presented as the product of a ‘States plus’ approach to multilateralism that brought together a wide range of States, other stakeholders, and – importantly – refugees to fill a crucial gap in the international refugee protection regime. It seeks to do this by bolstering international cooperation with a view to enhancing protection and expanding access to solutions, building on existing and emerging trends, and laying the ground for future cooperation. The first Global Refugee Forum in December 2019 was an important and positive first step in the Compact’s implementation, but much more remains to be done before success can be declared. In postscript, the authors reflect on the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the international refugee response regime, and the role for the Global Compact on Refugees in the response

Read the full piece in the International Journal of Refugee Law here.

Read an interview with Patrick Wall on his time studying and his current position at the UNHCR here.

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