November 24, 2023

Ensuring complementary pathways and private sponsorship as a solution for international protection: the position paper of the SAFE project


For the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), complementary pathways to resettlement have emerged, for several years, as one of the sustainable solutions to be further explored. After a first 2019-2021 strategy for resettlement and complementary pathways, the UN Agency has set out, in its 2030 roadmap, the desire to systematize refugees’ access to the various complementary routes.

SAFE project partners, together with representatives of Member States, Members of the European Parliament, civil servants within the European Commission and the European Union Asylum Agency, share this aspiration. However, it is fundamental to shed light on certain issues that necessarily need to be taken into account in order to propose recommendations in the context of developing complementary pathways and private sponsorship.

The SAFE project team launched a position paper which will be a pledge for the Global Refugee Forum 2023, the world’s largest gathering on refugees taking place this year in Geneva on 13-15 December.

Need for harmonized protection, need for defined roles and functions, need to simplify administrative procedures for accessing complementary pathways, need to facilitate access to complementary pathways on family and humanitarian grounds, need to foster cross cutting collaborations and improve communication, need to secure funding. Those are just some of the considerations that the SAFE partners urge policymakers and stakeholders to take into account.

The position paper was presented for the first time in Brussels on November 21st during the final event of the SAFE project.

SAFE is a three-year project co-funded by the European Union that brings together seven partners from France and Italy (Croix Rouge Française, Croce Rossa Italiana, Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia, Fédération de l’Entraide Protestante, Forum réfugiés, Oxfam Italia, Unione delle Universita del Mediterraneo), implementing complementary pathways programmes such as humanitarian corridors, university corridors or family reunification. The project aims at fostering the collaboration between stakeholders at a transnational level to develop and improve access to international protection through private sponsorship schemes and complementary pathways.

In the framework of the SAFE project, UNIMED implemented three education complementary pathways. Putting together several stakholders (universities, UNHCRs, embassies), UNIMED performed a capacity building activity leading to the arrival of three young refugee students which are hosted for two years at the University of Cagliari (Italy).

Archange comes from the Central African Republic and is now enrolled in Environmental Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cagliari. William comes from South Sudan and is enrolled in Cellular and Molecular Biology, whereas Vicky comes from South Sudan and is enrolled in International Management.

Our thanks go to the wide expertise and hospitality of the University of Cagliari, to the scholarship granted by Fondazione di Sardegna, to the facilitation of UNHCR Morocco and to the SAFE project.

To find out the main achievement, have a look at the project’s website: