Who we are
The Asylum Capacity Support Group (ACSG) Mechanism is a special initiative of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) that aims to ensure that asylum capacity support between States and other stakeholders is provided in a consistent manner, with the greatest impact and best use of resources.
What we do
The ACSG does this by primarily matching State commitments for improvements in the fairness, efficiency, integrity, and adaptability of national asylum systems and requests for support, with corresponding offers of support made by States or other stakeholders. The ACSG activities are coordinated by the ACSG Secretariat, established in UNHCR’s Division of International Protection (DIP). For information on the coordination role of the Secretariat, kindly see the ACSG Guide to Working Modalities. In early 2023, the ACSG established a dialogue platform, a virtual space for States and various stakeholders working towards establishing or strengthening the capacity of national asylum systems globally. For additional details, visit the dialogue platform page.
Why this portal
This Portal will showcase the asylum capacity development projects being implemented globally and raise awareness and momentum on key asylum issues. The Portal will also contain good practice examples as well as tools and guidance to facilitate the global exchange of knowledge and expertise in relevant areas and help increase the effectiveness of capacity support projects of the future.
What is ‘matching’ through the ACSG Mechanism?
Matching through the ACSG Mechanism refers to the process of matching State requests for asylum capacity support made at or after the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF), with corresponding offers made by States or other stakeholders. At the GRF, a number of States made commitments to improve one or more aspects of their asylum systems, and many require support in fulfilling these commitments. Several States and other stakeholders also pledged to offer financial, material, or technical support to support other national asylum systems. The ACSG Mechanism facilitates the matching of requests and offers by supporting stakeholders in formulating request and offers, making requests and offers more concrete and suggesting suitable matches. The requests and offers made at the GRF are a prioritized starting point for the ACSG matching process, however, offers and requests can be made at any time as part Global Compact implementation.
Does the ACSG Mechanism have sufficient offers from States and other stakeholders willing to provide asylum capacity support?
The ACSG has a consolidated list of pledges related to asylum capacity support offered by a number of States and other stakeholders as part of the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF). Additionally, UNHCR encourages States and other stakeholders to continue making proactive offers of support that could be matched to a request, should the need arise, and which will be reported as a GCR implementation. State and other stakeholders can make offers of support using the submission form on the ACSG portal. UNHCR encourages States and other stakeholders to positively consider offering support to a specific request/project for which support offers have not yet been identified. Similarly, in situations where there are insufficient offers of support or the offers of support do not address the identified needs, UNHCR may approach stakeholders with demonstrated expertise in this type of request to see if a matching offer could be made.
How will request/offers of asylum capacity support be matched through the ACSG Mechanism?
UNHCR Country Offices will continue to take the lead in engaging with States that are interested in making a request or offer of support to the ACSG. Once a request for asylum capacity support has been submitted by a State, either as part of the Global Refugee Forum or directly to the ACSG Portal, the request will be evaluated by the ACSG Secretariat against the prioritization criteria outlined in the ACSG Guide to Working Modalities (Page 12) in close consultation with UNHCR Country Offices, Regional Bureaux and other relevant stakeholders. If necessary, the entity submitting the request will be contacted for any necessary clarification or follow up.
If a request or offer is prioritised, then with the consent of the requesting State, the ACSG Mechanism will seek to identify offers of capacity support to address the identified needs. In doing so, the ACSG Secretariat will consult with relevant internal and external stakeholders as well as consider the relationship between requesting State and offering State or other entity. In situations where there are insufficient offers of support, or if the offers of support do not address the requesting State’s identified needs, UNHCR may then approach stakeholders with demonstrated expertise in this type of request to see if a matching offer could be made. There may also be situations where request for support may have to be deprioritized due to an insufficient number of offers.
In situations where the ACSG Mechanism proposes a match and either the requesting State or offering State declines, then the match will not proceed. Once a request and offer are successfully matched, the matched entities will engage, normally in a decentralised manner and with UNHCR support as needed, to agree on the details of the project/initiative and on the milestones and benchmarks.
For more details on the matching process, kindly see the ACSG Guide to Working Modalities.
What is the benefit of matching pledges through the ACSG Mechanism?
The ACSG Mechanism helps to ensure that States receive the asylum capacity support that they need to improve their national asylum systems. Information on countries that are matched, and the support provided under the ACSG Mechanism will be reported on the ACSG Portal. Having such information available will help to ensure consistency and coherence in capacity support, with focused support addressing critical gaps in a comprehensive manner. Importantly, the ACSG Mechanism also helps by preventing duplication of state efforts and resources for greatest impact (e.g. where a State is already receiving capacity development support in a specific area) as well as show where capacity support is needed (where a State has unmet capacity needs). Thus, by coordinating initiatives through the ACSG Mechanism, including when stakeholders choose to engage bilaterally and independently from UNHCR, duplication will be minimized, and support can be directed to where it is most needed, especially in the context of matches involving different geographic regions.
In addition to the ACSG matching leading to better coordinated and targeted asylum capacity support, the ACSG Portal will help to bring visibility to asylum capacity support projects. This visibility enables cross-fertilization and creation of opportunities for further strengthening at national, regional and cross-regional level. The Portal will also provide an opportunity to showcase the capacity development work on a global stage and raise awareness and momentum on key asylum issues. As the ACSG Portal will also contain good practices and tools, this will help increase the effectiveness of capacity support projects of the future.
Can a civil society or other organization that is not a State make a request or offer of asylum capacity support under the ACSG Mechanism?
Since the ACSG speaks to improving national asylum systems, requests for support can only be made by a State or jointly by States and other stakeholder(s) which may include civil society or other organisations. However, an offer of support can be, and is encouraged to be, made by any type of organisations whether individually or jointly with States and other stakeholders given the importance of a whole of society approach outlined in the Global Compact. Organisations interested in making an offer of asylum capacity support, that did not do so during the GRF, can do so using the online request/offer submission form.
What are example areas of ACSG support?
Asylum capacity support channelled through the ACSG Mechanism may include technical, material or financial elements, although it is anticipated that all support will include some degree of technical exchange. For example, support could be related to an assessment of capacity gaps, legislative and regulatory framework revisions, quality control and assurance in refugee status decision-making etc. For detailed information on the different areas of an asylum system that could be supported under the ACSG Mechanism, please see, Annex 1 to the ACSG Guide to Working Modalities.