Everyone has a voice, everyone counts and together we can create change.

The first Global Refugee Forum comes at the end of a decade with the highest levels of displacement on record. Together, we all have a role to play in finding solutions for refugees and their host communities.


What is the Global Refugee Forum?

The Global Refugee Forum will be held on 16, 17 and 18 December 2019 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The first ever world gathering of its kind, it aims to bring together all sectors of society to make pledges and commitments to improve the lives of refugees. Refugees themselves are at the forefront of preparations for the Forum and are involved and consulted throughout.


Why is it being held now?

December marks the end of a tumultuous decade. We have seen great empathy and acts of kindness towards refugees over the last decade, yet we have also seen a deepening hostility. Today, more than 70 million people are forcibly displaced by violence and persecution around the world. This needs to change.

The 2018 Global Compact on Refugees aims to transform the way the world responds to large-scale displacement through international responsibility sharing.

The Global Refugee Forum will build momentum towards the compact’s key objectives to:

  • Ease pressures on host countries that welcome refugees
  • Build refugee self-reliance
  • Expand access to resettlement in third countries
  • Support the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees to their country of origin.

Together, we all have a role to play in finding solutions for refugees and the host communities. © UNHCR / R. Arnold

What will happen at the Global Refugee Forum?

The Global Refugee Forum will focus on six areas: work, education, the environment, international protection, solving refugee situations and how countries can work together.

States and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to announce concrete pledges and contributions – including financial, material, technical and policy changes – that will have real benefits for refugees and host communities.

The Forum hopes to achieve:

  • Commitments of political support
  • Pledges of funding support and development support
  • New private sector initiatives and support
  • Commitments of support from civil society
  • Statements of support from religious leaders and others.

The Global Refugee Forum will acknowledge refugees for their positive impact, their amazing resilience and ability to not just survive, but thrive. © UNHCR/S. Hopper

What does the Global Refugee Forum mean for refugees?

A better future for all people forced to flee. 

Since the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees last year, progress has been made to help refugees become more self-reliant.

In January 2019, Ethiopia – home to one of the largest refugee populations in Africa – passed a historic and progressive refugee law. The Refugee Proclamation gives refugees the right to obtain work permits, access primary education, legally register births and marriages, and access financial services, such as banking.

Hanan, a 32-year-old refugee from Yemen, has been attending a vocational training course where refugees and Ethiopians come together to study subjects such as cooking, woodworking and mechanics. For Hanan, Ethiopia has offered her opportunities that she would never dare dream of back home.

“In Yemen, we cannot go to school like this or go out by ourselves. Here we are free, we can move, we can think independently. I feel free like a bird in Addis,” she says.

Education and work are just some of the topics to be discussed at the Global Refugee Forum. The contributions and pledges will give refugees a chance to develop their skills and create a better future for themselves and their families.

Hanan from Yemen prepares samosas with her best friend, Yanchinew Gebeyehu during a cooking course. Nefas Silk Polytechnic College in Addis Ababa is the first to accommodate refugees and Ethiopians studying together. © UNHCR / E. Soteras Jalil

Together, we can find solutions and make an impact for refugees.
We can create a world in which no one is left behind.

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