The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
The State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) provides life-sustaining assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stateless persons, as well as vulnerable migrants around the world through its global partnerships. The Bureau advocates for protection of vulnerable populations through humanitarian diplomacy, promotes best practices in humanitarian response, and works to ensure that humanitarian principles are thoroughly integrated into U.S. foreign and national security policy.
PRM Mission Statement
To provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees, stateless persons, and victims of conflict, and to advance U.S. population and migration policies. To act through the multilateral system so as to achieve operational productivity on behalf of victims and burden sharing productivity on behalf of American taxpayers.
PRM’s humanitarian assistance and protection activities throughout the world include:
- Achieving lasting solutions to displacement: Finding durable solutions to displacement, including the voluntary and safe return of refugees and conflict victims to their homes, local integration into host communities, and, for a smaller number, third country resettlement when neither return nor local integration is possible.
- Advancing population diplomacy: PRM also coordinates U.S. Government international population policy, working closely with USAID.
- Promoting U.S. Values in Migration Policy: PRM leads State Department efforts on migration policy, including where migration intersects with human rights, labor, economic development, climate change, remittances, and law enforcement.
PRM’s Populations of Concern
PRM assistance in the Caucasus and Central Asia focuses on over 1.4 million individuals displaced across borders or boundaries, displaced within their country of citizenship, or stateless within their country of residence.
Our priorities throughout the region focus on preventing statelessness, shifting to development-oriented solutions including local integration into host communities, engaging host governments in the process of finding durable solutions for populations of concern, preventing gender based violence and preparing for a variety of contingencies in the event of future conflicts.
PRM’s Principal Partners
To fulfill its core mission, PRM is congressionally mandated to fund the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The majority of PRM funding is programmed through these international organizations in support of humanitarian and relief activities. To fill gaps in programming, the Bureau also supports NGOs having expertise and experience in providing particular services. The Bureau funds projects that align with its mission to provide protection and life-sustaining relief (such as food, water, sanitation, education and medical care) to refugees and victims of conflict.
Funding Mechanism for NGOs
Every year, usually in April or May, PRM makes funding opportunity announcements for local and international NGO programs through the Request of Proposal (RFP) mechanism. RFPs are posted on the grants.govweb page with instructions and guidelines on how to register and submit proposals.
Julia Taft Grants
Annually PRM receives proposals from U.S. Embassies for the Julia Taft Refugee Fund to meet low-cost gaps in refugee protection and assistance. PRM first announced this initiative in October 2000, under the leadership of former PRM Assistant Secretary Julia Taft, with the intent to provide Ambassadors with the means to respond to critical gaps, which may not have been addressed by larger programs. The application period usually runs from February to May. The application procedure for the TAFT grant is much simpler and more straightforward than the RFP. Contact Assistant Regional Refugee Coordinator Eka Todria for more information.
PRM Office at the Embassy
The Refugee Affairs Regional Office in Tbilisi oversees the implementation of approximately $20 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance programs through contributions to the operation of its institutional partners and directly to NGOs. PRM is represented by a Regional Refugee Coordinator and Refugee Affairs Assistant based in Tbilisi. The Office covers a vast geographical region including: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and Ukraine.
Current staff: Joshua Fischel, Regional Refugee Coordinator,
Eka Todria, Assistant Regional Refugee Coordinator,
PRM Assistance in Georgia
In Georgia, PRM has provided about $ 35 million since the 2008 conflict with Russia to provide emergency relief, shelter and socio-economic support for IDPs. PRM provided much of this (approximately $29 million) to UNHCR in response to emergency funding appeals, and more recently under cooperative agreements that are separate from the USG’s annual contributions to UNHCR.
UNHCR addresses the protection and assistance needs of over 275,000 people in Georgia, most of who were displaced during conflicts in the 1990s. Current PRM funding for UNHCR includes projects supporting the protection and integration of IDPs and returned displaced populations. These projects provide housing for IDPs, foster economic integration through vocational training and small grants, build the capacity of Georgia’s Ministry for IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation, help prevent gender-based and domestic violence in IDP communities and support community mobilization initiatives.
In Abkhazia, PRM funds support UNHCR’s work in the Gali region to build shelter for returned displaced persons; to create social and community centers that provide training and help small businesses; and to strengthen the capacity of local NGOs. PRM also participates in the humanitarian working group (WG2) of the quarterly Geneva Discussions on Security in the South Caucasus.
PRM programming for Georgia in 2012/2013 included two projects. The NGO Premiere Urgence received a small grant ($125,000) to implement a project to build confidence and increase contact among farming communities across the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with Abkhazia. And, the Alliance for Conflict Transformation continued its cross-ABL efforts to engage Georgian and South Ossetian technical experts in collaborative water resource planning in order to restore irrigation water to populations along the ABL with South Ossetia.
PRM will continue to support UNHCR and NGO partners in their ongoing efforts in confidence-building and cross-boundary activities. UNHCR is in the process of phasing out many of its primary assistance programs in favor of joint programs with UNDP that support a transition from humanitarian assistance to sustainable development. As the Georgian government takes increasing responsibility for the welfare of IDPs, UNHCR will hand over assistance activities in Georgian-controlled territory to UNDP and other development assistance actors. Throughout this transition, PRM hopes to provide limited funding for UNHCR protection activities in Georgian-administered areas, and to continue support for broader humanitarian programming in Abkhazia.