Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell (Photo: EPA/Emilio Naranjo)
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell (Photo: EPA/Emilio Naranjo)

Following a meeting held in Madrid, Spanish authorities and the UNHCR agreed to strengthen their strategic association to respond to the humanitarian crisis facing migrants and refugees.

Spain and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) strengthened their strategic association in confronting the humanitarian crisis — with more than 68 million forced migrants, of whom 25 million are refugees — following a meeting in Madrid between the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Josep Borrell and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

Measures decided upon 

The measures which were decided upon in the meeting include establishing annual bilateral consultations and identifying forms of alternative financing, such as the Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE), managed by the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID), diplomatic sources said in a statement.

Minister Borrell said Spain intends to sustain a significant contribution to UNHCR in 2019, calling the agency "an essential partner in Spanish humanitarian action." Adding to Spain's contribution will be "generous contributions" from Spain's regions, cities, and civil society. 

The Spanish committee of the UNHCR is the civil society entity that contributes the most funding to UNHCR worldwide. As Borrell revealed the government's "support plan" for the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, he congratulated Grandi for having led negotiations. 

Analysis of the challenges of the crisis 

During the meeting, the leaders analyzed the challenges posed by large migrations in regions such as Latin America and the Mediterranean, and Borrell highlighted all the efforts that Spain's socialist government is undertaking on national, European and global levels. 

He said he trusts that EU political and legislative measures will form part of an increasingly effective response to the respective needs of refugees and migrants who are arriving at Europe's door — especially along the Western Mediterranean route — which has become the main migrant entryway into the EU. 

Borrell also pointed out the "significant investment in human resources and materials that the government is making" to verify asylum requests and coordinate the carrying out of resettlement programs with European partners.

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