A Fair Share: Refugees and Responsibility-Sharing, Report and Policy Brief 2017:10

Responsibility-sharing relates to the distribution of costs and benefits between states for addressing a particular global challenge. The global refugee regime has historically had relatively weak norms relating to responsibility-sharing. In the aftermath of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ in the Middle East and Europe, there have been renewed calls to create effective mechanisms for responsibility-sharing. But how should such institutional mechanisms be designed?

The report’s central argument is that under current political conditions responsibility-sharing is unlikely to be achieved through the creation of a single legal mechanism or centralised allocation system. Rather, it requires a range of complementary mechanisms – analytical, political, and operational –to overcome the collective action failure that has historically beset the refugee system. This project studies states’ and non-state actors’ assistance to refugees. It offers a method of measuring the extent of responsibility-sharing and discusses different possible models of sharing responsibility. The report has been written by Alexander Betts, Professor in Forced Migration and International Affairs, and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, Cathryn Costello, Associate Professor at the Refugee Studies Centre, the University of Oxford and Natascha Zaun, Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics.

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