Resources: Urban Refugees Debate Forum

The Urban Refugees Debate Forum is a new independent Forum receiving contributions from a variety of actors interested in urban displacement ( The idea underpinning this Forum is to establish a long lasting platform of discussions where consensual ideas will be challenged, misconceptions dislodged and the overall debate on urban displacement moved forward. You can leave comments on the Forum anytime or send your contributions to

The first contribution received on the Forum, “UNHCR reviews its urban policy: an air of complacency?”, examines the shortcomings of the recently released UNHCR’s review of its urban policy. It shows how the self reporting methodology used to evaluate the degree of implementation of the policy presents serious limitations, and highlights a number of critical omissions. The paper argues for a more concerted international effort to better understand the growing extent of the presence of refugees and asylum seekers in urban areas and improve efforts to protect them and facilitate their livelihoods. It is available for reading and comments here

This contribution was written by Tim Morris, Consultant and Former editor of the Forced Migration Review, who wrote the background paper for the December 2009 High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges for Persons of Concern to UNHCR in Urban Settings and drafted the chapter on urban refugees for the 2013 edition of the State of the World’s Refugees; and Sonia Ben Ali, founder and chair of the Urban Refugees Project (



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