The first follow-up to the Global Refugee Forum starts today. The High-Level Officials Meeting, a two-day virtual event, will bring together senior government officials, refugees and various stakeholders, to take stock of progress on how the world responds to refugee situations.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is co-hosting the meeting together with Switzerland. It will be opened by the President-elect of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
“Two years ago, at the Global Refugee Forum, the world came together in an unprecedented way and vowed to transform the way it responds to global forced displacement. It pledged to give life to the Global Compact on Refugees, which aims to scale-up support to host countries and tangibly improve the lives and prospects for refugees,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“The world has since been afflicted by the debilitating Covid-19 pandemic, new conflicts have erupted, and forced displacement has continued to rise - reaffirming the importance of a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable response.”
Nearly 1,400 pledges were made at the Global Refugee Forum, to better support refugees and host communities – including on issues such as employment, education, legal and policy developments to expand protection and inclusion, fiscal support, solutions to displacement, to clean energy and infrastructure, among many others.
“Today, the global picture is mixed – the countries with the fewest resources continue to bear the most responsibility,” Grandi added, “but, importantly, we have seen an expansion of the support base, with states, development actors, the private sector and civil society also stepping up. We need to recognize those contributions and accelerate progress if we are to give greater life to the Compact and improve the lives and prospects of refugees and their hosts.”
Recognizing that many endeavors in support of the Compact’s objectives and Forum pledges have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be an opportunity to identify gaps, review where efforts have continued or been adapted, seek solutions, and pledge new commitments for refugees and host communities ahead of the next Global Refugee Forum in 2023.
The event will also spotlight a number of key areas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, climate action and displacement, regional support platforms, and resettlement and complementary pathways.
The meeting commences on UNHCR’s 71st anniversary. That date is a poignant reminder of more than seven decades of forced displacement affecting tens of millions of people worldwide.
The High-Level Officials Meeting is one of the main vehicles for follow-up and review under the Global Compact on Refugees. Under the Compact, Global Refugee Forums are to be held every four years while the High-Level Officials Meeting are to be held two years later from each Forum.
In accordance with the relevant public health guidelines, and to make it more accessible, the entire High Level Officials Meeting will be webcast on https://www.unhcr.org/high-level-officials-meeting-webcast-streaming, which will go live on 14 December.
Originally reported by UNHCR.