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2.2 Resettlement planning

Projecting resettlement needs: the PGRN

The identification and analysis of resettlement needs form part of UNHCR’s national and regional protection and solutions strategies and global priorities. Resettlement needs are discussed and identified during the operational planning process, based on UNHCR’s knowledge of the refugee population through registration, assistance and protection activities conducted by the office and protection partners.

Each year, UNHCR maps the Projected Global Resettlement Needs (PGRN) for the following year. The PGRN is a yearly document that serves as an important advocacy tool and offers a unique opportunity for UNHCR to advocate for the need for resettlement on behalf of refugees. The RCPS uses the information in the PGRN in its discussions with resettlement states and coordination of quota distributions in the upcoming year, among other purposes.

The PGRN document is structured by Regional Chapters that explain the use and the impact of resettlement in relation to the broader protection and solutions strategies. The regional narrative highlights regional specificities and priority populations and situations. the Regional Chapters are informed by data and analysis from country offices, which also provide information as part of the PGRN process. Each country office whose total projected resettlement needs for the following year exceed 50 persons is required to complete the country input template. Offices whose total projected resettlement needs do not exceed 50 persons can still complete the template and should do so where advocacy is needed in relation to a specific population in need of resettlement.

The Regional Chapter provides an overview of:

  • The protection environment in the region;
  • Regional resettlement/ solutions strategies;
  • Projected resettlement needs in the region for the following year;
  • Regional highlights, achievements and challenges during the previous year;
  • Anti-fraud measures and procedures;
  • Refugee stories, supporting documents, data and analytics.

The country input that feeds into the Regional Chapter:

  • Articulates the role of resettlement in the country/region’s protection and solutions strategy, for example demonstrating the impact/gains of resettlement (e.g. on the protection environment, on local solutions or services, etc), how the strategy informs the identification of refugees for resettlement consideration. Other factors that contribute to the need for resettlement should also be mentioned (e.g. living conditions, protection risks, coping mechanisms, discrimination).
  • Estimates the number of refugees projected to be in need of resettlement for the following year and provide reasoning and advocacy to explain the refugee profiles in need and why resettlement is the most viable solution for them (e.g. acute individual protection needs, strategic approach to protracted situations etc).

The PGRN is the key tool for planning UNHCR’s global resettlement activities, providing the rationale and scope of UNHCR’s resettlement operations worldwide. Work is being done to make the PGRN even more data-driven, including by updating it throughout the year. The PGRN document is shared in advance of the Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (CRCP) in June each year.

Resettlement risks

Resettlement activities should be planned according to a risk management approach. In line with UNHCR’s Policies on Enterprise Risk Management (2020) and Addressing Fraud Committed by Persons of Concern (2021), each operation is required to identify and assess risks, including those related to resettlement. Specific safeguards (risk treatments) should be developed and implemented so that identified risks can be prevented, mitigated and managed to acceptable levels.

Limited availability of resettlement opportunities can put intense pressure on resettlement processes, create unrealistic expectations in the community and expose UNHCR operations to increased risks of fraud and misconduct. Other risks to resettlement may include political, socioeconomic and security developments which can affect the availability of third country solutions, as well as other major events including a health crisis or natural disaster that can disrupt business continuity. Risks linked to poor data quality, impact of resettlement on the refugee community, occupational health and safety risks and staff turnover are other areas to consider. Identified risks should be reassessed over time to determine whether their quantity and/or severity have increased or decreased over time, with corresponding risk treatments aligned, as necessary.

The RCPS developed a Risk Management Tool to assist country offices in ensuring that possible resettlement and complementary pathway related risks have been adequately identified and analysed, and relevant treatments, both proactive and reactive, are thoroughly considered and agreed upon.

Planning for resources

In order to deliver on its mandate, UNHCR must have the appropriate protection staffing capacity required to ensure adequate protection leadership, coordination, advocacy and operational response with the quality and expertise that is required by people of concern, partners and governments. UNHCR’s protection staffing capacity is core to its ability to deliver protection and solutions to the people we work with and for.

Whether conducting regular resettlement processing or scaling up to meet higher resettlement targets, resettlement planning should be coordinated at the country and regional levels, ensuring that the necessary resource requirements are anticipated for resettlement as well as for other functional units impacted by resettlement plans.

An upscaling of resettlement in an operation will often influence the operational objectives and output indicators of protection and solutions strategies. For this reason, a holistic and multi-functional planning with all relevant colleagues must take place. Such an approach must consider enhancing the main functional areas in terms of case processing, including registration, community-based protection, RSD and the integrity of individual case protection chains in order to mitigate protection and reputational risks linked to case processing of both regular and more complex cases.

Upscaling of case processing can take place in countries where UNHCR engages with RSD under the mandate as well as in countries where a national asylum system is in place. For the latter scenario, sufficient resources should be allocated both for identification and processing of cases as well as to ensure a transparent system of identification/referrals agreed upon with the authorities and protection partners.

UNHCR country offices and bureaux may use affiliate workforce to support resettlement delivery as an appropriate, flexible and cost-effective alternative in many circumstances, particularly in situations for rapid resettlement scale up and/ or where there is an identified challenge in finding the required skills within the capacity of colleagues currently available on the ground. The Administrative Instruction on Managing Affiliate Workforce provides general principles on the engagement of Affiliates, including the ratio between affiliates and regular staff positions.

RCPS is currently reviewing staffing benchmarks for resettlement, taking into account the profile and numbers of the population of concern, their geographic location (camp vs urban), environmental and logistical constraints, potential risks for the organization, government legislation and feasibility of implementation. Guidance will be placed here when available. 

Ensuring an age, gender and diversity (AGD) approach

Forced displacement and the protection environment in a particular location or country can expose certain individuals or groups to greater protection risks based on intersecting diversity factors and related forms of discrimination. Diversity factors can include a person’s ethnicity, age, sex, socioeconomic profile, religion, marital status, educational background, physical appearance, disability status and sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. The principles set out in UNHCR’s Policy on Age, Gender and Diversity must inform all aspects of resettlement processing, from case identification and Needs Assessment through to submission, to ensure women and girls, and men and boys from diverse backgrounds can access resettlement opportunities on an equal footing with others. 

Communication and counselling about resettlement must be conducted using languages, formats and media that are contextually appropriate and accessible to all groups in a community. Furthermore, communication about resettlement should be tailored to the information needs of diverse and specific groups. Remember that misunderstandings and misinformation about resettlement eligibility can exacerbate protection risks for already vulnerable individuals (for example, families may ‘hide’ disabled relatives or separated children due to a belief that resettlement opportunities are greater without declaring certain household members). They also create fraud risks. Communication and counselling approaches should take due account of cultural, financial, technical, educational or other barriers faced by certain individuals or groups within a population. See 2.4 Communication with communities about resettlement

The location of UNHCR offices where resettlement processing is undertaken must also be physically, economically and geographically accessible to all refugees. Where this is not the case, alternative arrangements must be made in order to ensure equitable access to resettlement, including remote arrangements and/or supporting transportation costs. Waiting spaces and interview rooms must be safe for refugees from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities, older refugees, families with small children as well as refugees facing immediate protection risks, for example, GBV survivors, LGBTIQ+ refugees and other individuals with a sensitive or high profile.    

Equitable access to resettlement means being aware that certain refugees, because of cultural, economic, social or other barriers, may be easily excluded from protection support and assistance services. Offices should adapt local thresholds and criteria for assessing resettlement needs to take account of these barriers and associated protection risks.

Caseworkers should be trained on interviewing children, women at risk, persons with a disability and LGBTIQ+ refugees and others with immediate protection needs, as well as identifying urgent and/or ongoing protection needs during the resettlement interview and making the appropriate referral for assessment and support, with the individual’s consent. Equally, caseworkers should be trained on criteria for urgent or emergency processing, according to SOPs (see 4.2 Resettlement processing and submission priority levels). Individuals with psychosocial, sensory, intellectual or physical disabilities, and where applicable, their accompanying caregivers, should be consulted about how the Resettlement Interview and processing can be made more accessible, depending on individual specific needs (see 4.4 The Resettlement Interview).  

Training and learning for resettlement

All colleagues engaged in resettlement processing should be qualified and trained in resettlement and RSD, as well as the use of proGres and other relevant PRIMES tools.   

On the job coaching and learning strengthen operational capacity, alleviates the amount of day-to-day review and follow-up required by supervisors and fosters professional development among colleagues and partners. Induction training and continuous learning opportunities for colleagues ensure all personnel are familiar with UNHCR’s protection mandate and the key principles of international protection. The Global Learning and Development Centre (GLDC) provides access to learning opportunities for all UNHCR colleagues, regardless of their functions, grade and contractual status. Mandatory training in this regard is listed below, while other recommended self-learning options are also available.

Mandatory training for all UNHCR colleagues

As of May 2022, the following UNHCR e-learning courses are required for all UNHCR colleagues including interpreters and other support colleagues.

  1. BSAFE
  2. UN Programme on the Prevention of Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Authority
  3. Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)
  4. Protection Induction Programme
  5. ICT Information Security Awareness Training
  6. Fundamentals of Fraud and Corruption Awareness

Recommended additional training for resettlement colleagues

The Resettlement Learning Programme (RST-LP) is currently under revision. More information will be provided here as it becomes available.

Resettlement colleagues should also complete the following e-learning courses:

  1. Best Interests Procedure Micro learning modules
  2. Gender-based Violence (GBV) online course – Level I 
  3. Gender-based Violence (GBV) online course – Level II 
  4. Accountability to Affected People (AAP) 
  5. Age Gender and Diversity Learning Modules 
  6. Working with LGBTIQ+ People in Forced Displacement 
  7. Working with Persons with Disabilities in Forced Displacement 
  8. Introduction to RSD eLearning in EnglishFrench, and Russian (internally) and English and French (externally on Disaster Ready)
  9. Interviewing for Protection eLearning Course (IPeLC)
  10. Data Protection Learning Module

In addition, all resettlement colleagues, including interpreters and support colleagues should be trained on handling sensitive cases, including relating to children, gender-based violence (GBV) and LGBTIQ+ refugees, and should familiarize themselves with available guidance, including:

The Protection Learning Curriculum (PLC) consists of 12 self-study (e-learning) modules:

  1. The International Protection Regime
  2. Internally Displaced Persons
  3. Refugee Status Determination
  4. Solutions
  5. Community-Based Protection
  6. Gender-Based Violence
  7. Statelessness
  8. Child Protection & Youth
  9. Introduction to Humanitarian Negotiations
  10. Protection Programming and Delivery
  11. Communication, Interviewing and Counselling
  12. Fundamentals of Identity Management and Registration