EU-FRANK kicks off pilot activities in Jordan

In mid-February, practitioners from 11 countries got together in Amman, Jordan to learn about the operational conditions surrounding resettlement activities and to discuss if states and their operational partners can work together in new ways to increase efficiency or reduce costs connected to resettlement activities.

A large part of EU-FRANK’s final year is about testing and evaluating new approaches to resettlement. The project will, together with interested states and operational partners such as the UNHCR and IOM, or EASO, test if and how states can share information between each other when it comes to planned or delivered resettlement activities, or even share resources or work together in delivering certain tasks – jointly or for each other.

While also discussing other pilots (see list at the bottom of this article), the project arranged an Operational Meeting on Resettlement focusing on the context of Jordan in 2019. The project wanted to learn whether certain information (about the refugee population, planned activities, or available services) can be delivered to a group of states simultaneously instead of bilaterally to each state, and whether states could benefit from taking part of each other’s plans and preparations before sending missions to the same host country. The meeting was hoped to provide a platform for dialogue and experience exchange between States and their operational partners, and to encourage and facilitate peer learning and support between States.

The meeting included the following features:

  • Presentation by UNHCR on the refugee population and context around resettlement from Jordan and MENA
  • Overview of the operational conditions and the resettlement process in Jordan, by UNHCR and IOM
  • Information from other stakeholders (this time from ICMC)
  • A panel showcasing national practices and experiences from resettlement in Jordan (Canada, Sweden and Switzerland)
  • Q&A and interactive discussions
  • Visits to interview sites and refugee community centers

When evaluating the meeting, almost all participants indicated that the meeting had been useful to them, and that it did indeed provide a platform for experience exchange.

- While we are happy with the result in Jordan, we already found some things that can be improved and adjusted, such as details concerning the content, the order of agenda items and the set up with field visits which could perhaps be incorporated better into the agenda earlier on, says Erika Löfgren, one of Sweden’s project experts responsible for delivering and evaluating new approaches throughout 2019.

Her colleague, Tim Sparla, from the Netherlands, agree:

- We are in contact with UNHCR and other stakeholders to see whether we could pilot a somewhat modified concept in another location or at another point in time, he explains. We are also following up bilaterally with participants about their interest in testing joint actions, for instance working together with another country in Jordan or elsewhere, or sharing information with colleagues from other countries.

The project introduced a series of pilot proposals at a separate meeting the day before the Operational meeting on resettlement. These included:

  • An online calendar featuring UNHCR’s and potentially other stakeholders capacity to host missions (or other information)
  • Embedding staff from one country into another country’s mission team or benefiting from their logistics/administration
  • Sharing resources or tasks between different countries’ missions
  • Buddying between missions
  • Exploring the use of a digital platform for exchange within the international resettlement community
  • An experience exchange program for pre-departure orientation practitioners.

The project plans to test any/several of the above pilots in the course of 2019, and evaluate whether it can bring benefits (increased quality, efficiency or reduced costs) to resettlement programs.

Published: 2019-03-15

Author: Denise Thomsson

Last modified: 2019-05-22