Strengthening Protection Capacity
The Strengthening Protection Capacity Project which started in 2005 and is now active in 12 UNHCR country offices across five continents, entered a new phase in 2008 with major implications. Early in the year, as part of an initiative spearheaded by the Deputy High Commissioner, the SPCP supported a pilot Global Needs Assessment (GNA) in eight countries - Cameroon, Ecuador, Georgia, Rwanda, Thailand, the United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia. Using methodology drawn from the SPCP, the aim of the GNA was to map the total needs of refugees and persons of concern, and determine with partners the interventions and budgets needed to address those needs. The GNA is moving from a pilot to a global initiative in 2009. The GNA is part of UNHCR's shift towards basing its budget planning process on needs rather than on the projected levels of support the agency expects to receive from donors. Key features of the SPCP will be mainstreamed, such as engaging governments, international and national partners, and persons of concern in collaborative efforts to enhance protection capacities and improve the protection of refugees, internally displaced people and stateless people.
In the future the SPCP will become an integral part of UNHCR assessment and planning processes and existing SPCP projects will be included in the GNA.
The SPCP facilitates national responses to protection problems through a process of protection assessment, dialogue and joint planning. This includes:
- A comprehensive analysis of gaps in protection and the consequences of needs that remain unmet.
- National consultations with governments, international and national partners, and persons of concern to discuss the gaps identified and to recommend measures to remedy them.
- Collaborative development of a multi-year plan of action with specific projects to improve legal and administrative capacity, enhance security, ensure basic needs are met and access to essential services assured, expand livelihoods and facilitate solutions for the coming years.
The SPCP publication "Protection Gaps: Framework for Assessing Gaps in Protection Capacity" is the primary tool used to undertake an analysis of gaps in refugee protection. A similar inter-agency tool called "Protection of Conflict-induced IDPs: Assessment for Action" is available to assess the protection situation of internally displaced people. A framework on protection of stateless people is currently being developed.
SPCP initiatives benefit from coordinated technical support from the Department of International Protection Services (in areas of legislative reform, administrative capacity building and improving refugee status determination procedures); the Department of Operational Services (enhancing registration, documentation, addressing basic needs and ensuring essential services, and enhancing livelihoods) and the Department of External Relations (advocacy and resource mobilization). They also benefit from international partnerships, such as those with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Danish Refugee Council in the development of self-reliance strategies.