Advocacy

Global accountability and sustainable solutions

Photo: ©UNHCR/D.Diaz

Humanitarian solutions are vital for helping refugees to survive and recover – but they are not enough.

To effect real change, UNHCR advocates for long-term, sustainable solutions to help refugees and the countries that host them. UNHCR also calls for political, economic and social responsibility to bring policies, practices and laws into compliance with international standards.

At every level of society, from the United Nations General Assembly and national governments, to corporate partners and the public at large, UNHCR advocates to protect those in need. This includes safe-guarding basic human rights for those fleeing conflict, and ensuring displaced communities have access to education, work and healthcare.

Global Compact on Refugees

In 2018, facing record global displacement, UNHCR led the development of a new international framework to address the global refugee crisis with more predictable planning systems and fairer burden sharing across the international community.

 

The result was the Global Compact on Refugees, a new blueprint for global action to address displacement which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Global Compact ushered in a new opportunity to build more sustainable solutions for refugees and provide meaningful support to the countries that host refugee populations.

Global Refugee Forum

As part of its advocacy for the Global Compact on Refugees, UNHCR hosts a Global Refugee Forum every four years. This forum convene all sectors of society including national governments, corporates, refugees and civil society, in order to develop long term solutions for refugees and the countries that host them.

UNHCR delivered the inaugural Global Refugee Forum in December 2019. More than 3,000 participants attended and commitments included more school places for refugee children, new government policies, resettlement, clean energy, infrastructure and better support for host communities and countries.

The private sector accounted for a large amount of commitments, with business groups collectively pledging $250 million (approx. £190m) of assistance, with at least 15,000 jobs to be made available to refugees.

Speaking at the forum, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, called for a shift across the international community towards longer terms solutions:

“Public support for asylum has wavered in recent years. And in many cases communities that host refugees have felt overwhelmed or forgotten. But refugee situations are ‘crises’ only when we let them become so, by thinking short term, by failing to plan or work together across sectors, and by neglecting the communities they arrive in,” –  Filippo Grandi.

National advocacy

With teams and offices in over 130 countries, UNHCR has dedicated advocacy, legal and protection teams who work closely with national governments and the local population to advocate for the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees.

This work includes supporting policy development, providing expert advice and safeguarding refugees’ rights under international humanitarian law.

During emergency operations or longer term policy planning, such as securing resettlement spaces for refugees, UNHCR works closely with national governments to support refugees and the communities that host them.

Global action

Galvanising international momentum and solutions

Human rights

Safeguarding protection and international law

National advocacy

Securing access to healthcare, education and work

Did you know that at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum, corporate partners committed 125,000 hours of free legal aid to support refugees each year.