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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Resource Mobilization in Global Refugee Policy: Shifting Refugee Populations, Donor Preferences, and the Role of UN Bureaucracies

Public Administration
Ronny Patz
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Ronny Patz
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Klaus Goetz
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU

Resources are key to the power of international organizations (IOs) and of their international bureaucracies. As most IOs cannot rely on obligatory state contributions alone, the overall availability of resources ultimately depends on IO bureaucracies’ mobilization of additional voluntary funding. Successful resource mobilization is also contingent on competition or collaboration with other IO bureaucracies (or even INGOs) for scarce donor resources. However, we have limited knowledge of the extent to which resources shift within and across IOs, for example when they are active in the same policy domain such global refugee policy. Does resourcing reflect global and country-level needs as perceived by different IO bureaucracies involved in refugee policy, or is resource allocation solely driven by the salience of emerging refugee crises to specific donor states? Focusing on the resourcing of refugee policy in the United Nations system, we develop an original dataset covering budgets, state and non-state donor contributions, and country-level expenditures for several UN system agencies – such as UNHCR, UNRWA and IOM – over several decades. We assess in how far resource changes within and across UN organizations reflect changing numbers of refugees and their distribution around the world, including whether resource shifts in one agency have effects on funding levels in other agencies. We discuss these findings in view of different resource mobilization strategies that IO bureaucracies can develop, such as shifting or diversifying their individual donor bases; raising awareness for protracted situations of long-term refugee populations when more salient challenges in other parts of the world risk undermining funding; or organizing collective donor appeals during emerging refugee crises.
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