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Global Asylum Governance and European Union's Role

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ASILE (Global Asylum Governance and European Union's Role)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-11-30

The ASILE project studies the interactions between emerging international protection systems and the UN Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR), with particular focus on the EU’s role. It examines the characteristics of international and country specific asylum governance instruments and their compatibility with international and regional human rights and refugee laws.
ASILE seeks to facilitate a groundbreaking understanding of the role and impact of legal and policy responses on refugee protection and responsibility sharing from the perspective of effectiveness, fairness and consistency. It does so through an interdisciplinary examination and mapping of UN GCR actors and key policy and legal instruments on mobility and containment, and the impact of vulnerability, status recognition assessments and labour rights of individuals in search of international protection.

1) To advance the state-of-the-art through a new conceptual understanding in refugee studies on the notions of containment and mobility, and their inclusionary and exclusionary effects from the perspective of international refugee protection.
2) To develop a comprehensive understanding of current and future asylum governance regimes and the characteristics and impacts of policy and legal instruments, including those on responsibility sharing.
3) To facilitate new ways to bring the voices of refugees into the conceptualisation of emerging international protection systems by examining the impact of existing mobility policy and legal instruments on individuals.
4) To draw lessons learned for future global and EU policy responses through a set of policy engagement activities, securing effective links between the research results and relevant policy processes, discourses and outputs in the scope of the UN GCR.
5) To provide a novel interdisciplinary and gender-balanced international academic network of outstanding scholars, including project partners and members of international advisory academic board.
6) Sustainability, outreach and impact. ASILE involves relevant actors to ensure the dissemination of research findings and promising practices through the ASILE Global Portal.
During this intensive first year of the project, the consortium achieved the following results and outputs:

* Detailed inventories of the current asylum governance state of the art for each of the project’s six case study nations, collecting sources of data on asylum and refugee flows and taking stock of relevant actors in preparation for imminent fieldwork and data collection;
* An in-depth study of the relevant political, legal, and financial instruments and implementing actors involved in EU arrangements with four key third country nations of transit (Turkey, Serbia, Niger, and Tunisia), evaluating their alignment with the key objectives of the UN GCR.
* A comprehensive review of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ right to work under both international and regional legal regimes and human rights mechanisms, elucidating direct and indirect breaches of such treaties, and evaluating the efficacy of domestic litigation and transnational leveraging in addressing these deprivations;
* A dedicated website providing a one-stop-shop of information on the ASILE project’s outcomes and the ASILE Global Portal;
* A dedicated newsletter and targeted social media presence promoting ASILE activities and developments;
* Two-minute video interviews with the work package leaders explaining what ASILE is and their role within the project;
* A project-based Dissemination and Exploitation Plan and a Data Management Plan to ensure a wider impact and proper data management and protection;
* A Special Prime Talk at the CEPS Ideas Lab 2020 and participation in other key events organised and/or (co-)hosted by ASILE consortium partners;
* Two Webinars with Commissioner Ylva Johannsson and other distinguished speakers discussing the implications of COVID-19 and border restrictions in the EU and the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN GCR;
* A Collection of six Country Fiches (on Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa and Turkey) providing a country-specific overview of the latest policy developments and the main asylum governance instruments, actors and approaches to the implementation of the UN GCR;
* An online Forum Discussion on ‘The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the UN Global Compact on Refugees’, with more than 20 contributions from experts worldwide;
* Internal Trainings for ASILE researchers on H2020-related Financial Questions, as well as on qualitative research, fieldwork and online interview methodologies;
* Securing solid quality review for all ASILE research outputs.
ASILE is designed to address several gaps in regional asylum governance-research and advance the state of the art in all these areas, more specifically by advancing the knowledge base through:

* A detailed understanding of the discontinuities and tensions between different implementing actors’ understandings of the concepts of containment and mobility, which will contribute new priorities for future policy implementing the UN GCR;
* Facilitating a better understanding of the notion of ‘vulnerability’ and ‘refugeehood’ by analysing refugee status determination practices, and refugee protection regimes through the lens of work rights;
* Utilising analysis of current asylum governance regimes and the impact of policy and legal instruments, responsibility sharing, and the roles of actors and UN GCR stakeholders to develop a transformational agenda for the future of asylum governance;
* A mapping of GCR actors, stakeholders, and their interactions, using Social Network Analysis (SNA);
* Expanding the field of asylum and refugee governance assessments through the ‘EFC’-criteria.

Through its UN GCR-centred analysis of global and regional asylum governance structures and frameworks, the project aims to revolutionise the sources of information that inform policy making by providing tailored and evidence-based options and recommendations, drawing from ‘promising practices’ in diverse global contexts. This benefits the wider audience in multiple ways:

* The establishment of a novel interdisciplinary and international academic network of outstanding scholars in four continents (America, Europe, Africa and Asia) as well as members of the ASILE International Advisory Academic Board, in combination with the development of interoperable datasets, opens new horizons for future research on effective asylum governance strategies.
* The reliance on primary source data collected through fieldwork with both government practitioners and refugee-led organizations and the dissemination of this data through outreach activities (webinars, workshops, trainings, seminars, conferences, and publications) promotes a norm of evidence-based policy.
* The launch of the ASILE Global Portal, where all interested parties can find the research findings, data and other publications produced by the ASILE partners, benefits not only relevant stakeholders, but also enhances the transparency of asylum governance to the broader public, elucidating the nuanced impact of often enigmatic bureaucratic processes in a clear and comprehensible way.