IOM, UNHCR, ICMC Present Innovative European Models for Protection of Refugees


Brussels – On Thursday (12/04), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) presented the outcomes of a project that developed innovative models to provide more opportunities for the protection of refugees in the European Union (EU). 

The event focused on the main activities and results of the European Resettlement Network (ERN)+ project, Developing Innovative European Models for the Protection of Refugees and Providing Support to New Resettlement Countries. The EU co-funded project centred its research on the development of three complementary pathways of admission of refugees to the EU: private community-based sponsorship, higher education scholarships and humanitarian admission programmes.

Eugenio Ambrosi, Director of IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, remarked that the scarcity of safe and regular pathways to the EU compels vulnerable migrants and refugees to risk their lives on perilous journeys. “This project is not only about developing new ways to protect people, the ultimate goal is to protect more people, more effectively,” said Ambrosi.

The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders from national, regional and local government, international organizations, civil society, think tanks, academia and refugee diaspora in the spirit of multi-stakeholder cooperation in the European Resettlement Network.

“Complementary pathways, such as private sponsorship, allow for innovative partnerships with civil society to admit refugees,” said Stephane Jacquemet, Director of Policy at ICMC.

The unprecedented scope and complex nature of current global displacement has added renewed urgency to the debate surrounding access to safety for those fleeing persecution, war and conflict.

The participants discussed recent developments at global and European levels including the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration directed at improving the way the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants and which contains a set of commitments by States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.

“The project comes at a crucial moment as it sets out the ways European States can implement their commitments to protection and solidarity in the Global Compact on Refugees to be adopted later this year,” said Sophie Magennis, Officer in Charge, UNHCR Regional Representation for EU Affairs.

In September 2017, the European Commission called for EU Member States to pledge 50,000 (up from the original call for 40,000) places for resettlement and humanitarian admission to Europe for 2018-2019. As the negotiations on the Union Resettlement Network currently take shape, the recommendations and discussions of the conference are expected to feed into those discussions.

The studies presented at the conference are available on the website and hold recommendations for the development of future private sponsorship/community-based models; student scholarship programmes for refugees; and humanitarian admission programmes.

For more information, please contact:

Jo De Backer, IOM Regional Office, Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 71 15, +32 470 13 10 28, Email: 
Petra Hueck, ICMC Europe, Brussels, Tel: +32 2 227 97 29, +32 486 511 212, Email:
David Watt, UNHCR Bureau for Europe, Brussels, Tel: 0032 2 627 59 58, Email:  

  • ERN+ focuses on developing complementary pathways of refugee admissions to the EU. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

  • From left to right: Stephane Jacquemet - ICMC, Eugenio Ambrosi - IOM, Sophie Magennis - UNHCR at the ERN+ presentation. Photo: IOM