Increased responsibility-sharing by governments is essential to maintain momentum in researching new approaches to global displacement, UNHCR’s Grandi told officials.
Governments and other stakeholders have made encouraging progress in meeting their commitments to find new ways to support the world’s 84 million forcibly displaced people and the communities that host them, the UN High Commissioner said on Wednesday. United for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
The assessment came at the end of a two-day meeting of senior government officials, refugees, representatives of the private sector and other stakeholders to take stock of progress made in meeting the commitments made in the Global Refugee Forum 2019. More than 1,400 pledges were made at the Forum – and 200 more since – to turn the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees into action.
Grandi welcomed the progress made since then despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged governments and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts in a spirit of “true sharing of responsibilities and solidarity Before the next Forum in two years.
“I was very impressed with a lot of what I heard, despite all the challenges, in terms of progress made,” Grandi told participants of the Virtual Meeting of Senior Officials. “If you are not convinced, look at the statements of the host countries… We have heard statement after statement update the commitments they made two years ago,” he added.
“We also heard from donors that the sharing of responsibility for their perspective is also happening; financially, yes – and of course we always have to do more – but also in terms of policy, in terms of practical support, ”he added.
To maintain the momentum, the High Commissioner said more must now be done to find solutions for refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons, and to ease the pressure on countries with fewer resources where most people are living. ‘between them reside.
“The call of the host countries is very clear: they need better resources; they need more humanitarian and development assistance, ”the High Commissioner said. “We have to do it in a spirit of solidarity – putting people before politics. Without a meaningful sharing of responsibilities, we will not achieve solidarity.
Two of the most visible ways in which nations can show their commitment to shared responsibility is to ensure access to asylum for those forced to flee and to provide more resettlement places for refugees, Grandi said. .
The message was also underlined by Ignazio Cassis, president-elect of the event’s co-organizers, Switzerland, who said: “Achieving the goals set in the Global Compact on Refugees… requires greater predictability and greater equity in the distribution of displaced persons among countries. “
Although not a pledging conference, during the meeting over 50 new commitments and initiatives were announced by States, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, groups faith-based, private sector, city networks and others. These include commitments by the United States and Belgium to increase the number of resettlement places and other entry routes for refugees.
New commitments were also made to address the problem of statelessness, including a pledge by the United States to adopt a determination procedure to give people without nationality in the country greater legal status and rights. Other statelessness initiatives were announced by Iceland, Belgium, Burundi and Eswatini.
Other commitments in areas such as funding, civil status documents, support for asylum capacities and access to education, health care and other services have been made by countries like Austria, Burundi, the Netherlands and Kyrgyzstan.
And among other initiatives led by cities, NGOs and the private sector, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Community of Sant’Egidio – an active faith-based organization. in 73 countries – to establish a framework for better humanitarian aid access and enhanced operational responses to refugee crises.
Although it was held virtually due to concerns over COVID-19, the event drew more than 1,300 attendees online. More than 130 refugees have been invited to participate, and they have made frequent calls for increased participation in the decision-making that has affected their lives and futures.
“We have already proven to be significant actors, not just beneficiaries,” said Nathaly Raquel Machado Velasco, member of the El Salvador Student Refugee Network now living in Mexico, who made a statement on behalf of 30 organizations. led by refugees.
“Refugee participation is not only an ethical imperative, but allows us to bring our knowledge and experience to policy formulation and decision-making,” she added.
Asma Rabi, a young Afghan researcher and refugee living in Pakistan, urged policymakers to view young refugees as allies in meeting the challenge of global displacement.
“I firmly believe that refugee crises are not impossible – they are manageable,” she said. “He needs policies, and he needs solutions. As long as we have access to these conversations, we can help.
In addition to individual pledges, several new joint initiatives were announced, including the Environmental Protection Fund for Refugees, which will provide innovative funding for reforestation and clean fuel projects in refugee hosting areas. . The Refugee Connected Education Challenge, meanwhile, will aim to strengthen digital learning and connectivity for refugees and internally displaced students.
The joint initiative of the International Finance Corporation and UNHCR on Private Sector Solutions for IDPs and their Hosts will facilitate the participation of businesses as partners and investors in economic opportunities for refugees and their host communities.
Ahead of the upcoming Global Refugee Forum – to be held in December 2023 – Grandi warned that the political discourse in many countries around asylum as well as the economic fallout from the pandemic meant that a positive outcome is being far from guaranteed.
“But if we work together, we can make a difference in people’s lives,” he promised. “If we arrive at the World Refugee Forum… with more sharing of responsibilities, with more spirit of solidarity, we will not have achieved everything, but we will remain hopeful. And that’s what matters most – to us, but most important to people on the go. “