Making Sense of the Global Compacts: Kaldor Centre Resources

World leaders are trying to negotiate a better system for protecting refugees and migrants. These efforts, begun at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016 as more than a million Syrian and other asylum seekers poured into Europe, will culminate later in 2018 in two Global Compacts - one on refugees, and another on safe, regular and orderly migration.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

The Kaldor Centre has been tracking the ambitions and challenges of this international process since the start, and you can find many of our resources here as events progress. Please share these, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for updates. You can also subscribe to our free Weekly News Roundup for updates on the Global Compacts and other developments in forced migration.

Our Factsheet answers your basic questions on the Global Compacts.

Drafts of the Compacts are out now, and what happens next will determine whether these agreements will amount to an opportunity lost – or a landmark in improved protection and help for refugees and migrants. Our new Policy Brief, Making the Global Compacts Work: What future for refugees and migrants?  offers a detailed analysis of the two draft agreements – what’s innovative, what’s missing, and what risks lie in the way of their adoption. It makes specific, practical recommendations to strengthen the Compacts. In an accompanying opinion piece, the authors also consider what the lack of US leadership means for the fate of the Compacts.  


The 2017 Kaldor Centre Conference drew together key global, regional and Australian thinkers to discuss the two Compacts, raising critical issues and the potential in each agreement, and discussing Australia’s role in the Compacts. We published an Insights Report highlighting vital background, analysis and issues raised at the conference. Podcasts of all the conference sessions are also available, including keynote addresses by Professor Elizabeth Ferris and former Ambassador David Donoghue, who both played key roles in developing the New York Declaration that paved the way for the Global Compacts.

In November 2016, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk addressed UNSW, reflecting on the New York Declaration and looking forward to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees. 

In a 2016 Kaldor Centre Policy Brief, In search of commitments: The 2016 refugee summits, Professor Elizabeth Ferris detailed the extraordinary set of meetings that led to the current framework for discussions. The factors at play then remain vital to understanding the imperative and barriers to progress still.